For something that was dismissed as a ‘hairdresser’s car’ when it was first launched in 1998, the TT has come a very long way. The original car is now considered a classic of Bauhaus design, and through the years, the TT has managed to shed its ‘pansy’ tag, at least som e of which was a result of the car coming up short against its competition, in the power and handling stakes. The latest iteration has just been launched here, so naturally I had to have a spin in it to see if Audi has managed to give it some more oomph under its hood.
The exterior design first, though. The TT has always been a compact, taut little car, and this one manages to pull off that characteristic while still having a definite presence on the road – it’s no Ferrari, but especially in red, it does stand out on our roads. The predominantly round and soft edges of the original design have gradually become sharper and more sleek, so visually, the TT looks like it will slice and dice with the best of them.
The TT’s cabin has of course been refreshed along the years. The first car’s interior drew numerous accolades, with pretty much nothing else looking like it at the time, but this one isn’t quite as cutting edge, because the rest of the car world has now caught up. Having said that, the virtual instrument cluster, with a variety of customisation options, is really slick (you’ll find yourself mucking with it needlessly – I certainly did), and in typical Audi fashion, the entire cabin reeks of quality – special props to the A/C vents, which look like the front of jet engines. One complaint, though – at this price point (Rs 60.34 lakh, ex-Delhi) you’ve got to be effing kidding if you say you can’t give me a rear-view camera.
With a 2-litre, turbocharged, 227 bhp four-cylinder engine, the TT doesn’t look like it will galvanise your adrenal glands into instant action, on paper. Give it some stick, though, and there’s lots of fun to be had, with a 5.7-second run to 100 kph and a restricted top speed of 250 kph, accompanied by a slightly muted, bass-heavy soundtrack. The steering wheel isn’t Porsche-level talkative, and you’re not quite immersed in the cornering experience, but the TT nevertheless exhibits reassuring levels of grip and, most importantly, the ride quality is excellent, for a car in this class. As an all-rounder, for Indian road conditions, the TT acquits itself very well indeed.