For 2016, the Audi TT is vastly different than the model it replaces. We already knew this, however, as it’s been covered extensively for the past few months. Though, while we’ve read quite a bit about the TT and learned much, we at QuattroDaily have yet to drive it. Until now that is. While this was only a short first drive, we did learn quite a bit about the new Audi TT and a lot of it is better than expected.
At first glance, the new Audi TT looks like an Audi TT. There’s no mistaking the design. However, after getting up close and walking around the car, it’s immediately noticeable that this is a much better looking car than the outgoing one. The lines are sharp and crisp and the new face is a handsome one. In profile, it’s almost seductive looking. This is one of the best looking Audis currently on the road, there’s no doubt about that. I especially like the deployable rear wing.
The interior is also one of the best in the four-ringed lineup. It’s tight, and sporty but never feels claustrophobic. The seats in the S-Line model I drove were excellent with great side bolstering and support without sacrificing comfort. Much of the interior was also adorned in leather with contrast stitching. The HVAC controls mounted in the center of the circular air vents work brilliantly and rid much of the clutter from the dash. In fact, that’s one of the beautiful things about the TT’s interior, it’s wonderfully un-cluttered. The only HVAC buttons on the dash are for air-conditioning and recirculating the air. The center console also has only a few buttons and it makes the whole interior feel wonderfully driver-focused.
But who are we kidding, the Virtual Cockpit is what everyone wants to know about on the interior of the Audi TT. Commanding the entire view ahead of the driver is the massive high-definition screen which controls everything about the car. It’s the gauge cluster, the infotainment system and even the radio screen. It’s everything and it works brilliantly. With beautiful graphics and smooth, slick transitions, the Virtual Cockpit might be the best infotainment screen in the business. It’s also incredibly intuitive, with redundant buttons on the steering wheel as well as on the center console. Also, just having the navigation screen in front of your face at all times, with the ability to change it to whatever you need, is incredibly helpful. Just an outstanding system.
The model I drove had the 2.0 liter TFSI turbocharged engine, mated to a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox and had Quattro all-wheel drive. This is obvious, though, as that’s the only model currently available in the US. The 2.0 liter engine in the TT makes 220 horsepower and it felt downright quick. There was a bit of lag down low in the rev range, but had a very punchy mid-range and made a nice throaty sound. The gearbox shifted very quick and precisely, always responding to my inputs without hesitation. I didn’t try it in automatic mode (why let a dual-clutch gearbox shift itself when you can?) but it was very fast and responsive in manual mode.
Where the TT surprised me most was in the handling department. While I didn’t get to test it for as long as I’d need to properly judge its handling, the TT impressed during its small sample size. Turn-in was sharp and responsive and the steering was nicely weighted and accurate. This surprised me as Audi’s steering is typically overly light and very vague, while this was decently heavy and very accurate. Feel was non-existant but I feel like we should just stop talking about steering feel because it doesn’t really exist anymore in this world of electric power-steering. Other than the lack of feel, the steering was very good and some of the best I’ve felt in an Audi. The grip was also great, as per usual with Quattro all-wheel dive.
Overall the Audi TT impressed during my first quick drive. It’s fun, attractive and innovative. I would need to drive it for a much longer period of time to get a real feel for what the new TT is really like, but from this first drive, I’m very excited for it as well as upcoming variants like the TTS and TT RS.
I want to thank Ray Catena Audi of Toms River, NJ for letting me drive the 2016 Audi TT. They were incredibly helpful and accommodating, despite still having much of the building under construction. The dealership just recently opened and is still expanding. Check them out on Rt. 37 Toms River, NJ.