Audi TT review: A perfect urban sports car

Roudra Bhattacharya Posted online: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Let’s just agree on one thing first, we all want and love sports cars, and given a chance we would junk our cute hatches and short sedans for one. Alas, only a few of us can afford one of those curvy beauties. But hold on, does it really make any sense to drive an expensive, low-slung car in a country where good roads are few and far between, and the many speed-breakers make you cringe at their very sight? Even in our everyday road cars, the suspension is usually the first thing that needs replacement, so imagine the plight of a sports car owner for whom under-body damage is the single-biggest fear.

What if I tell you there is a solution that can give you the rush you so seek, while keeping those nagging worries at rest? It is called the Audi TT, a sports coupe from the luxury car arm of German auto behemoth Volkswagen. It is beautiful, fast and has an amazingly balanced chassis, but the best part is that it is short in length and has a stiff suspension. Why are the last two parts good? Well, apart from great handling in tight spaces, a shorter wheelbase makes sure that when your front wheels are about to exit that massive concrete speed-breaker, the rear wheels are right above it. In most longer sports cars and even some luxury sedans I have driven in the city, the under-body nearly always scrapes on speed-breakers because before the rear wheels climb on to it, there is usually a small gap when the speed-breaker is right below the vehicle. That’s clever packaging for the Audi TT, a thumbs-up for a car that can be seen as an everyday sports car for the cities.

There are other good bits too. Fit and finish is understandably top notch both inside and out, and in the version fitted with the S-Line package that we drove, there is extra leather inside, black decals on the mirrors and rear spoiler, reinforced bumpers and stiffer suspension. The S-Line version, however, is just a body package and makes no changes to the engine—for that you have to wait for the Audi TTS to be launched in India. But that’s not really a bad thing, considering that the Audi TT’s 2-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engine comes up with enough grunt for both city roads and the occasional street race. The 208 bhp of power on tap and 35.7 kgm of torque may both be lower than the BMW Z4 or the Mercedes SLK, but where the TT gains is the over 100-kg weight savings over its rivals. Light handling, coupled with the ‘S-tronic’ dual-clutch 6-speed transmission and Audi’s ‘Quattro’ all-wheel drive system, makes the TT a breeze to drive on city roads.

But, as always, there are a few lows. For one, the ride can get rough in the Audi TT S-Line. This is because the suspension is rather stiff—now that’s good when in a race or when cornering hard, but on the everyday drive it sends jolts up your spine. Moreover, a lot of kit is missing inside, such as navigation and a Bluetooth-enabled audio system, that you take for granted in cars of this segment. Don’t think of asking more than one friend to come along for a ride either—there may be two seats at the rear, but the beautiful sloping roof line makes sure that at least two of your friends have to be yoga experts to fit at the rear. But, then again, you wouldn’t want a crowd in your pretty car either.

At Rs 54.6 lakh, the Audi TT (add Rs 3.5 lakh more for the S-Line detailing) is one of the lowest priced two-door sports cars in the country. If you’ve got a family to move around, this can never be the first car, but as a second car for the enthusiast, or if you are single and looking to mingle, the TT is the sure thing to get hitched.