Drive Away 2Day

2016 Audi TT : Current Models

With the third-generation 2016 Audi TT and TTS models that arrive for the U.S. next summer, this sporty coupe and roadster nudge even closer to true sports-car territory—if, that is, you can forgive the lack of a manual gearbox. To that end, it’s looked to the R8 supercar for design influence, and then inward to the driver—with a more driver-centric, cockpit-like layout for the cabin, a lighter-and-leaner driving experience, and a raft of new tech.

In profile, the TT hasn’t changed all that much; it's recognizable as the same pert coupe or roadster, but its overhangs have been tucked in a bit more, and from overhead, it’s a little squarer at the corners—which adds up to the impression that it’s a little wider before, when in truth it’s slightly narrower. The greatest gain in ‘expression’ for the new TT is probably in front, where LED matrix headlamps, the trapezoidal ‘single frame’ grille, and new hood creasing add up to something R8-influenced. Walk around, and the sheetmetal is more taut as well, giving it a leaner, more purposeful look.

While the TT is only evolutionary on the outside, its interior has received a radical redo. The cabin layout channels the sports-car vibe in a way that the TT never has before. With a dash that nixes the infotainment screen and center stack completely, infotainment controls and virtually everything interface-related have been moved in front of the driver, in a new Audi Virtual Cockpit display that uses a 12.3-inch high-contrast display, steering-wheel toggles, voice controls, and an MMI Touch scratch pad down at the center console. Round, nicely detailed vents have middle areas that display climate-control settings, and they press and twist. The dash hangs back at a slight angle over the passenger’s legs like an aircraft wing, with the array of round dash vents like engines. Distinctive trims and more interior colors add to the racier look.

The Audi TT is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with turbocharging and direct injection, making 230 hp and 273 lb-ft. The engine in the high-performance TTS might have the same displacement—2.0 liters—but there’s more turbo boost, and all the core moving parts are stronger to suit, bringing its numbers up to 310 hp and 280 lb-ft. Six-speed S-tronic automated manual gearboxs do the shifting, and while you're not rowing your own, they're quicker and just as satisfying.

TT models get to 60 mph in as little as 5.3 seconds, while the TTS can do it in 4.6 seconds. That’s improved performance over the previous version, and part of the reason is a new aluminum-and-steel composite construction that builds both on the VW Group’s MQB platform and engineering expertise from the R8 sports car—resulting in a weight reduction of up to 110 pounds versus the outgoing model. And as in previous TT models, a powered spoiler extends at 75 mph or retracts at 44 mph; and it generates about 110 pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It’s not something that’s going to make much of a difference at U.S. freeway speeds, but it’s a bragging right—as is a new launch control feature for the stability system.

The TT will likely be offered only in all-wheel-drive quattro form in the U.S.; this version packs the latest, Audi-tuned Haldex clutch-pack system, which will send more power to the rear wheels when it’s needed, or preemptively to make the car more balanced in sporty driving (it responds not only to accelerator inputs, but steering too).

All TT and TTS models will come with a progressive steering system that matches a variable ratio with variable electric assist—adding to that nimble feeling in quick directional changes and mountain hairpins, but feeling settled and stable on the highway. As with most modern sporty cars, the only thing we wish for is a little more feedback from the road. The new 2016 TT drives with a lighter-and-leaner feel in most ways—and it keeps with the promise that the sportier cockpit layout makes, with a more neutral, balanced feel that lets you take advantage of its baked-in handling abilities.

And to help keep you in the mood, in both models, a sound actuator feeds ‘sporty’ sounds into the cabin when you drive enthusiastically, and on TTS models there are additional exhaust flaps assist in the soundtrack from ‘down and out.’ It all factors into a driving experience that can be tuned, to a surprisingly wide degree, with Audi Drive Select, a system that offers Dynamic, Auto, and Comfort modes that affect throttle response, transmission behavior, steering boost, and behavior of the stability and all-wheel-drive systems.

In an advance drive of the TT and TTS, we found TT models without the available magnetic ride system to have noticeably more interior noise, as well as better ride comfort.

Comfort and Quality
With its decidedly different, more cockpit-like, interior design approach compared to previous Audi TT models, you might expect the new 2016 Audi TT to be more compromised with respect to interior space. But that’s not at all the case. Just as before, you’ll find plenty of space—and more legroom in front than in most other sports cars or sporty coupes, as well as a good driving position for a wide range of sizes.

The 2016 TT is a four-seater; but whether or not you call it a true four-passenger model or a 2+2 depends very much on what size passengers you plan to take. Even shorter-than-average adults will find just enough space for knees and legs in back but their heads will be up against the top of the hatchback glass (watch out when you close that hatch).

The material over the upper dash is a padded, textured material, while TTS models get a raised, honeycomb-patterned material that looks a bit retro in a good way. And interior colors and trims are more varied than they’ve been in TT models of the past, with black, Rock Gray, and Palomino Brown interior themes, and a second contrasting color available in some builds. And there’s an Express Red hue for the leather seats in the TTS.

Although we didn’t sample the base TT seats, single-piece sport seats will be included with the S line package, and they provide plenty of lateral support while also being supportive for backs; with the S line package you also get distinctive diamond patterning on Nappa leather, and there are various grades of cloth, leather, and Alcantara (faux-suede) elsewhere in the lineup. With an available lighting package you add accent lighting for the tunnel doors, and footwells.

In Europe, an available rear-seat setup actually allows those ages 6 to 12 to ride in back without a child seat. And we think that’s the greater potential in those rear seats—so take note, moms and dads who are still pining for a sports car.

Audi is ramping up active-safety features with this generation of the TT; and just as with the previous two generations of this sporty coupe or convertible, you can expect the same high standards of occupant protection here as in Audi’s sedans and crossovers.

Secondary collision brake assist, which keeps the vehicle from continuing to roll when it’s been in an accident, is now standard on the entire model line. Audi Side Assist and an Active Lane Assist system will both be available—with the latter now offering a gentle pulse-warning through the steering wheel and including a higher-intevention mode that actually helps steer the vehicle to keep it in the travel lane. In overseas versions (and possibly for the U.S.), the TT and TTS offer a Park Assist feature that will measure up parking spots and steer tha car into place while the driver controls the rest.

The body structure of the 2016 Audi TT is entirely new, and it’ll likely be some time before we see any crash-test results from either of the two U.S. testing agencies. There’s also the chance—as was the case with the current/outgoing version—that neither one will test and rate the TT at all.

Features and pricing
Although exact U.S. specifications, pricing, and equipment for the 2016 Audi TT are still many months away, it’s shaping up to follow the recently relaunched A3 in offering a lot more available in-cabin connectivity technology as well as more standard comforts and features.

What we do know at this point is that the so-called Audi virtual cockpit and Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) will come standard on all TT models. Think of this as a huge 12.3-inch wide-screen display that can show navigation, trip info, audio functions, and more as well as two (or three, in the TTS) gauge layouts. While we’re reserving judgment on this system, which we’ll see more of in the next R8, in an advance drive of the TT in Euro-spec form we found it to be mostly a step in the right direction, allowing you to click between layouts with a ‘view’ button on the steering wheel, use the left toggle to navigate between main choices, and the right toggle for task-specific needs. But the one hesitation we have about this layout is that with navigation or traffic-information prompts behind the steering wheel, there’s really no such thing as the passenger helping with it—or merely helping act as DJ while you focus on driving.

Some of the many standard features will include the progressive steering system, an electromechanical parking brake, keyless entry with push-button start, and 17-inch wheels.

A so-called MMI Navigation Plus package adds a lot of the good stuff to the TT’s cabin. First off—in addition to a navigation system that can display clear, smooth-scrolling maps on the high-contrast color screen that doubles as a gauge cluster—you add Audi Connect, which harnesses an embedded LTE data connection for enhanced Google Earth and Google Street View displays, real-time traffic information, and even integrated interfaces for Facebook and Twitter. You also get a Bluetooth calling and audio-streaming interface, as well as 10 GB for storing music files.

This new version of MMI also includes a search function that permits free text entry for anything from destinations to songs or calls to those in your phonebook. Based on our initial tests, it suggests possibilities very quickly and astutely. Meanwhile the voice control, something we haven’t tested extensively yet, is more developed and now understands natural-language commends for some things.

Headlights will include both xenon plus (HID) and LED headlamps, with available high-beam assist. Other options on the TT lineup will include an upgraded dual-zone climate-control system (based on the ramped-up equipment for the new Audi A3, it’s likely to be included in all trims), a storage and luggage package, interior lighting upgrades, and ‘S line’ exterior and sport packages, with the latter adding upgraded wheels and a sport suspension.

The base four-speaker sound system will include a CD player, two SD card readers, an auxiliary input. A mid-range audio system will offer eleven speakers, while models with the MMI Navigation Plus package get the top-of-the-line Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system includes 12 speakers and 680 watts of power, with a processor that optimizes sound based on cabin noise.

The 2016 Audi TT goes on sale in the U.S. late summer of 2015.

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Sources : 2016 Audi TT Photo | 2016 Audi TT Article


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