Second to last of the Summer Car Series!
The Audi dealer did not have a new TT on hand. Something about people wanting new TT’s… We weren’t really listening… There was a ’08 on hand, so we gave that a whirl. The dealer tells us that the main differences would be body styling, interior features, and less power. The overall ride and feel of the vehicles should be the same, except for the less power. We appreciate Audi for not making us ask to test drive by ourselves. They know the product will sell itself.
The interior of this particular Audi was a color we did NOT enjoyed. It is Amaretto and is a reddish brown color. It didn’t quite remind us of vomit, but it was very close. The width of this Audi was noticeable for how large it was. Our main issue is that the center console restricted our legs from spreading comfortably. This is the same issue we had in the Volvo, and it was just as uncomfortable. We would definitely have noticed this cramped feeling on a longer test drive. For car that appears very wide, we still felt cramped.
The media center in this particular TT was more difficult than the ones that had the satellite navigation packages. It took a little getting used to, but eventually we figured it out. We found a radio station we could tolerate and left it there. Driving is almost always more important than the music, unless the music sucks.
One aspect of the interior that we noticed immediately was we couldn’t see traffic lights without scrunching down to see up or raising up over the top of the windscreen. With the convertible top down, we looked like certain species of birds trying to find a mate, just bobbing up and down. We eventually went with ducking as we felt less stupid this way. Still had to look cool when you feel like you look stupid…
There was a wind deflector that could be raised between the headrests. We tried it up and down and didn’t really notice a difference. This is probably due to at least my head sticking up over the windscreen. (I had bugs in my hair. I’m not THAT tall, but felt self-conscious the rest of the day).
The TT has had a very unique look for a while now. You could go as far as to say that it is an iconic look. One of our fondest TT memories comes from the movie, About a Boy, starring Hugh Grant. His charm helped us enjoy the movie, but there’s a scene where he races through the streets of London following an ambulance. The scene is sad, but the TT is fantastic.
The rounded bulbous ends make it difficult to tell whether the TT is coming or going. The nose is almost an exact match to the back end. Raising the spoiler helps identify the back end. This is a car we would not pick for looks. The ride and performance of this car more than make up for a questionable exterior.
The all-wheel drive of the Quattro was fantastic. Where the SLK, Lexus, and Mini had to fight with the traction control to really get moving when you floored them, the TT does not have that issue. In every corner it stuck. We would really slow headed at interstate entrance ramps to then explode around the corner and be at highway speed while most cars were just getting going. This TT felt quick. The 3.2L naturally aspirated V6 turns out 250 horsepower. For a car that isn’t very big with a transmission that’s ready to go, the V6 makes the TT feel like a pseudo-rocket ship.
We drove the S-tronic automatic transmission with the ever-present paddle shifters (our arch-nemesis). These paddles weren’t as clunky as the Volvo’s and would let us select whichever gear we wanted. The Lexus never gave us the gear we wanted exactly when we wanted it. Like the car didn’t trust us (We don’t believe in lying.)! If you are at 70mph in this car and tap the down-shift paddle three times, you are very quickly going to be slowing down from 70 in 3rd gear. It treats the driver with a sense of respect. Plus, if you thrash the transmission, Audi gets to make a buck fixing it. It’s good business… There was the usual lag time with the paddles, but the TT is quick enough to overcome this setback.
We did find ourselves at a stoplight next to a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. For those of you following along at home, this is a C-class Mercedes that produces 451 horsepower with a 6.2L V8. We were glad we had the top down because the C63’s rumble was hypnotic (Top Gear U.K., series 10, episode 10 you'll hear for yourself). While we were trying to figure out whether to look over the wind screen or scrunch down to look through it, the light changed. The TT with its Quattro all-wheel drive jumped off the line. We won the first 34.6 ft. After that, our wanting for more horsepower caught up with us. Having 200 horsepower more really helped the C63 in the straights (most obvious statement written on this site to date). We took a quick corner to get away from the rumble of the C63 to really appreciate the find-tuned hum of the TT. Tight, twisty roads are a TT playground. Only on the really tight doughnuts we pulled in the church parking lot (Yes, it was the same church. No, we didn’t get caught by a human. Sorry, Jesus, Volvo talked us into it.) did we notice the steering start to bunch. On four wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars, when you crank the steering really tight, the front drive train doesn’t like it and you get some lunges out of the front end as it tries to lessen the pressure and straighten up. This did happen in the TT, but it was very small and light. Plus, we didn’t leave any rubber on the church parking lot. We have some respect…
In the long run we would probably search for a 2008 or a 2009. The ’10 and ’11 models only come with a turbo-charged four cylinder that turns out 211 horsepower. That’s 10 more horsepower than the Civic Si we drove earlier this year… The overall width of the TT was impressive, but didn’t translate to driver comfort. This is still a great convertible that could handle all seasons. The all-wheel drive was great to jump us off the line and stuck at the apex of every corner. We are still TT fans, but we want the new body styling on the old V6 engine. Maybe Audi will build us one special… Maybe…