One of the highlights of the Geneva Motor Show was, or was meant to be, the 2014 Audi TT, the third generation of this iconic sportscar. I say meant to be, because while many were expecting another triumph of design as the A5, the R8, the original TT and the A7 were, this new TT is just, on the exterior at least, just generic Audi parts bin.
The exterior design is not a special, or an especially good-looking thing. It has got some fiddly-looking LED lights, the now standard Audi trapezoidal grille, an overall face that is rather forgetful.You might even mistake it for the original from some angles. The profile view of the car is that distinctive shape we have come to associate with the TT, and the rear looks like a freshened up version of the original TT’s rear end. I am also inclined to say that the tail lights remind me very much of the Peugeot 407 Coupe.
While the exterior is a bit of the let down, the interior is a different story entirely. Audi are making strides in the interior department, and the new TT is the greatest stride they have made so far. First up, there is no central infotainment screen. There is very little in the way of buttons. As soon as you step inside, you are greeted with a sporty-looking steering wheel, behind which there is a large screen behind the steering wheel which we will come to later, three air vents, with a digital read-out of the air-conditioning temperature in the middle of the air vents, a few toggle switches below the vents, and that’s about it.
The beautiful thing about this car is that there is no central screen on the dashboard. Instead, there is a massive TFT screen behind the steering wheel including information like your speed, revs, fuel level and so on, but also incorporates the navigation and infotainment screens, all controlled via the rotary dial found on the central armrest. This, in theory at least, keeps the driver looking forward. Whether or not this will prove to be more of a distraction on the road remains to be seen, however in principle, this sounds like a grand idea.
Apart from this new take on interior design, the rest of the cabin is beautifully appointed. Leather is of top quality, with gorgeous quilted stitching, and the entire cabin is dotted with intricate aluminium inserts, making the overall appearance very elegant indeed. Yet, at the same time, it is a successful mix of sporty and elegant.
Now how about the internals? The new car is 50 kg lighter than before, despite having a longer wheelbase. From launch, there will be a choice of three four-cylinder petrol engines, producing between 227 and 306 bhp. The more powerful version will be the TTS version and claims a 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed pegged at 155 mph. There will also be a 181 bhp 2.0 litre diesel engine, if you are into that sort of thing. Gearboxes will be either the 6-speed manual or Audi’s 6-speed dual clutch.
While the exterior is not as dramatic as an RCZ, the interior puts every one of its rivals about five years behind. The engine choices also sound very promising, especially with Audi’s dual clutch gearbox. Judging by the specs of this new car, the nickname “hairdresser’s car” will no longer apply to this Audi.