The stylish Audi TT has been given some fashionable upgrades for 2016, with quilted-looking leather front sport seats and a new driver-centered video game-like virtual cockpit that replaces the typical car display screen in the middle of the dashboard.
The 2016 TT coupe and convertible also get Audi’s latest infotainment system, which can read news headlines and Twitter alerts.
The woofers in the new Bang & Olufsen sound system are set into the TT’s front doors and outlined by LED. And the buttons and knobs to control ventilation and front seat heating in the new TT are fashionably simplified, residing in the center of the turbine-look vents on the dashboard.
TT convertible buyers even get a neck-warming system where heater vents are embedded in the front seatbacks, right at neck level, to ward off any chill.
Outside, the TT’s headlights are now full LED and the styling is sleeker and sharper.
Under the hood is a 220-horsepower, turbocharged, gasoline four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. No manual transmission is offered.
Every TT comes standard with drive select, which lets drivers choose whether to travel in various modes — comfort, dynamic, auto or custom — that affect the car’s ride, shift points, steering and response to driver acceleration demands. In dynamic mode, for example, the TT’s standard quattro all-wheel drive system sends more torque to the car’s rear wheels. This rear power bias is preferred by sports car enthusiasts.
This year’s TTs are about $2,000 more expensive than last year’s models. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a 2016 TT Coupe is $43,825. The lowest starting retail price for a 2016 TT Convertible is $47,325.
Admittedly, the exterior TT styling isn’t as avant garde today as it was when the first Bauhaus-inspired TTs arrived in showrooms in the late 1990s.
But the test-driven 2016 TT coupe still attracted fans who recognized its new, more aggressive appearance and liked that the 13.7-foot-long coupe was still around and being updated.
Relatively few TTs are sold in the U.S. — only 1,158 of them sold here last year — so there are not a lot of them on the roads.
The test-driven TT was nimble and zipped past other cars with just a bit of turbo lag. Its horsepower is up from 211 last year, while its torque peaks at the same 258 foot-pounds at 1,600 rpm as last year’s engine.
Driven aggressively and in dynamic mode much of the time, the test-driven coupe never approached the 26-miles-per-gallon city/highway average that the federal government cites.
The car sported optional 19-inch performance tires which filled the wheel wells and transmitted a lot of road noise to the cabin. But they gripped the road firmly and the car in dynamic mode was fun to drive in back-and-forth slaloms and on twisty mountain roads.
The car rides low to the ground, so it can be a bit hard to see amid the taller vehicles on the roads. But the test-driven car’s front end never scraped the ground when entering or exiting driveways.
The steering was comfortable and the small-diameter, flat-bottom steering wheel felt perfect.
The optional S Sport front seats with the “diamond stitching” that looked like a quilt pattern provided good support, and the four-way, power lumbar adjustment was much appreciated. These S Sport seats, in Nappa leather, were a $1,000 option.
The power height adjustment could put the seats up so high that even a petite passenger would bump her head on the TT’s upper door opening when exiting.
The maximum front legroom is 41.1 inches and a 6-foot-plus passenger wished for a bit more room.
The two back seats in the test-driven TT coupe were confining. Even youngsters preferred to avoid them as passengers back there had minimal views out the front and sides.
The car’s trunk space totaled 12 cubic feet and rear seatbacks fold down to accommodate long items. But the sizable rear glass on the back hatch lid made opening and closing more strenuous than expected.
2016 Audi TT Coupe 2.0T Quattro S tronic
BASE PRICE: $42,900.
PRICE AS TESTED: $50,600.
TYPE: Front-engine, all-wheel drive, 2+2-passenger, subcompact, luxury coupe.
ENGINE: 2-liter, double overhead cam, turbocharged, TFSI four cylinder.
MILEAGE: 23 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).
TOP SPEED: 130 mph.
LENGTH: 164.7 inches.
WHEELBASE: 98.6 inches.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,384 pounds.
BUILT AT: Hungary.
OPTIONS: Technology package (includes rearview camera, Audi side assist, auto-dimming, power folding exterior mirrors, Audi MMI navigation plus) $3,250; S Sport front seats with Fine Nappa leather $1,000; 19-inch wheels with summer tires $1,000; Bang & Olufsen sound system $950; Scuba Blue metallic exterior paint $575.
DESTINATION CHARGE: $925.
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