INGOLSTADT, GERMANY—Although Audi wouldn’t let us drive the car yet, the third-generation TT unveiled here this week is a showcase of new technology.
The exterior changes might lead you to believe this is only a mild facelift, but it has actually experienced a thorough massaging throughout.
The TT retains its distinctive sloping roof, but the hood is now flatter and leads to a blunter nose. Styling is a bit more muscular, with a wider, more angular fascia that features a larger six-point grille.
Aside from a licence plate, the grille is now entirely uncluttered, as the Audi rings have moved onto the hood, a design cue borrowed from the R8.
The bulging wheel arches almost look added on, as they now sport a recessed groove along their outer circumference.
Lending to the TT’s more burly appearance are shorter overhangs, the result of a 37-millimetre longer wheelbase (now 250.5 centimetres) that is squeezed under a body the same length as the current version.
A significant amount of weight has been saved through more liberal use of aluminum in the chassis; the floor is made of steel but everything else is now made of the lighter, non-ferrous metal, including the body panels.
A total of 50 kilograms have been saved, the base TT with manual gearbox now tipping the scales at 1,230 kg. If you’re keeping track of these things, the new TT is 140 kg lighter than its first-generation predecessor.
The centre of gravity has been lowered by 1 cm and the chassis is 25-per-cent more rigid torsionally, which when combined with the lighter weight, should improve handling.
Audi’s 2.0-litre TFSI inline four returns, although it has been tweaked to produce 230 hp in base trim, and 310 in the higher-spec TTS. That’s an increase of 19 and 45 horsepower, respectively.
A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with a dual-clutch, six-speed S-tronic an option.
The interior gives a peek into the future of what Audi calls a virtual cockpit.
All the driver needs to know can now be found in a 12.3-inch, dash-mounted TFT display screen.
This configurable screen can display the engine’s vital statistics, trip info and infotainment settings, as well as a full-screen map if equipped with the optional navigation system.
The beauty of the system is that all the information is now found in one location; there’s no centre-mounted screen to divert your view from the road.
This has also cleaned up the dashboard, which now features air vents that look like jet engines. Audi has cleverly incorporated the climate controls into the centre of the air vents.
The screen works with a reconfigured multimedia terminal, including a redesigned menu structure that is reportedly easier to navigate.
The control knob, still on the centre console, includes a touch-sensitive top surface onto which you can use your finger to spell out words. New software suggests words after just a few letters have been spelled out.
Although LED and Matrix LED headlights will be available in other markets, government regulations will prevent us from seeing them in North America.
Matrix LED headlights have 12 LEDs per headlight, all controlled by a computer. Using a camera to monitor traffic, the computer switches off individual LEDs so as not to blind oncoming drivers. It’s the first time such a technology has been used in a car, and Audi plans to introduce it into other models in the future.
Production of the third-generation TT is scheduled to commence later this year, so it’s a bit too early for pricing details, but current TT models start at $49,500.
Transportation for freelance writer Costa Mouzouris was provided by the manufacturer. email@example.com.