Saturday, September 8, 2007

Audi TT 3.2 V6 quattro - Audi TT

Well, that first TT was launched way back in 1998, appearing in issue 001 of evo. How times have changed… Back then, B*Witched were big, while in the first issue of evo Jeff Daniels was talking about the possibility of a V10 performance diesel with 450lb ft-plus. Many of us thought he was mad, and yet, nine years on, the VW group offers a V10 turbodiesel with 554lb ft…
 The Magnetic Ride system constantly adapts to road conditions and your driving style to control body movements
Even more amazingly, the original TT still looks as fresh today as it did nine years ago. It's a real testament to its fuss-free design, and perhaps explains why its replacement looks pretty much like an evolution of the old model, with a slight workout at the gym to tone the body and some facial training by Grant Mitchell for a bit of welcome attitude. Grr!

I'd hoped our new long-termer would be a different colour to the usual Audi silver but, as B*Witched used to say, c'est la vie. One thing that doesn't disappoint, though, is the interior. It looks absolutely stunning with its red nappa leather seats, especially with the (expensive) optional extended leather pack that adds matching hide to the centre console and armrests. This truly is a feel-good type of car. So good, in fact, that I washed and waxed it as soon as I got it home.

Our TT arrived with a mere 80 miles on the clock, and the running-in period was agonising, not only because that 247bhp 3.2-litre V6 up front sounded gorgeous, even at tickover, but because it also felt nicely 'loose' and raring to go – unlike the identical engine in designer Carey's R32 Golf, which feels as if its power is being sapped by friction in the front diff.

I'm not surprised that Neil's DSG-equipped Golf has been given a hard time over its jerky drivetrain. My manual TT suffers from a throttle pedal that's too sharp, giving an on/off effect at the top of the travel, but at least with the regular manual gearbox I get to control my own clutch. You can still sometimes experience a jerky ride in slow traffic or as you exit a junction on a light throttle, but it's less of a problem now the car's run-in, meaning I can be heavier on the throttle and bring out the engine's glorious (E46) M3-esque rasp. It's a little muffled maybe, but it's a lot more characterful and special-feeling than the turbocharged 2-litre alternative.

0V07 YMC came with a whole load of extras: Magnetic Ride (£1150), the extended leather pack (£450), Bose stereo (£475), cruise control (£215), metallic paint (£500), multi-function steering wheel (£180), tyre pressure monitor (£75), storage pack (£150) and Bluetooth (£385), bringing the total price to £32,930.

The Magnetic Ride system constantly adapts to road conditions and your driving style to control body movements, adjusting the viscosity of the dampers by changing the voltage supplied to their magnetorheological fluid. Clever stuff, but to find out if it's really worth the expense I've lined up a DSG-equipped TT with the optional sports suspension for a comparison. I'll let you know.


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