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Audi TT 1,8 Sport Quattro

Broadcast date : 10th September 2006


After itís 1998 European launch, the TT took a year to get here in right-hand-drive form. Eight years later the TT retains a freshness thatís remarkable, and itís no surprise that the next model, while a total redesign, is nevertheless evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

The late Ď90s shape of the TT is a nod to the classic Auto Union tourist trophy racers from the 1930s, penned in an era when the worldís motor industry was enamored by retro.

The genius of the Audi design is that it avoided the fussiness exhibited, for instance, in the rival BMW Z3 of that period. And while the Z3 is a classic in its own right, the TT pre-empted the clean, mean look embraced by the BMW Z4.

The Audi TT Quattro sport has some marvelous touches thatíll have enduring appeal, like the extended boot spoiler which adds machismo.

The rear diffuser trim housing dual exhausts brings it closer to the 3,2 V6 TT look, while on a more substantive note the sport model went on a weight-loss programme that included the removal of the rather incidental rear seat.

The sport package also includes perhaps the most beautiful wheel design ever by Audi.

Special side-skirts, a striking contrasting roof colour, and other minor exterior touches add up to a memorable final version, so it was only right that Audi squeezed an extra 11 kW out of the five-valve four-cylinder turbo engine, giving it a peak punch of 176 kiloWatts.

Itís worth noting that the Audi TT set a trend for interior design that has been mimicked by dozens of other manufacturers who wanted to imbue their products with a touch of the dare-devil.

Yes, the TT brought us aluminum embellishments, to the steering wheel, the fresh air vents, the gear lever knob.

Brushed aluminium today denotes an up-market model in what are otherwise rather mundane car ranges. But instead of diminishing the appeal of the TT, the alloy bandwagon has merely served to highlight what a fine idea Audi had, and how well the Ingolstadt company executed it.

The key factor, of course, is in the high-quality plastics used on the dash, on the instrument pod surrounds, and the exemplary fit and finish to every single interior detail.

Yes, the Audi TT is not the affordable sports car that it was originally mooted to be, but at least its trim quality justifies the rather steep price of R380 000.

As for the racing bucket seats, truth be told, they are an unqualified pain in the posterior.

And the early spring rains during Guguís test drive didnít serve up too much in the way of corner grip, to test their body-hugging benefits, always a compromise in a road-car.

Audi doesnít mention stiffer springs in the spec sheet, but the lower profile tyres and massive wheels firm up the ride anyway. For an enthusiast the car is an all-absorbing experience.

To counter the four-wheel-drive understeer, Gugu was flicking the tail out purposely, before the understeer would kick in.

The four-wheel-drive system shows its metal in the wet in terms of sheer grip. The four-wheel-drive just kicks in and drags the front around

As for the power-train, the package is beautifully integrated. The sport quattroís 176 kW is produced with consummate ease, never a dip or splutter in the power delivery.

Just endless turbo urge, and along with all the tasteful visual "aids", a swan-song model worthy of a car that will be remembered for a long time.

Audi TT Quattro Sport

  • Engine: Turbocharged Four-cylinder petrol, 1 781 cc
  • Power: 176 kW @ 5 700 rpm
  • Torque: 320 Nm @ 2 300 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 5,9 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 250 km/h (limited)
  • Fuel consumption: 11,5 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R380 000
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