The new Audi TT coupe and roadster will go on sale in the U.S. this summer, and this little two-seater is packed with hi-tech gizmos and state of the art connectivity.
You can have a so-called “virtual cockpit” with a 12.3 inch display which can flip between a digital representation or the classic analog speedometer and rev-counter incorporating the sat-nav screen and music lists. The new TT uses much aluminum and steel hybrid construction to cut around 110 pounds of weight. On the roadster, the hood is made of fabric, which also saves weight. It is the same length as the old one, but the wheel base is bigger, allowing a slightly larger trunk.
But this is a sports car, so the performance data will be crucial. In the U.S., the TT will be powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.0 liter gasoline turbocharged motor producing 220 hp. The TTS version, on sale in the fall, has 292 hp. The 220 hp motor will propel the car from rest to 60 mph in around six seconds; the TTS does this in under five seconds. In both cases the automatic gearbox is slightly quicker. If you go through the gears aggressively, the car is programmed to give off little rasping, burbling noises from the exhaust. If you were in Germany, the land of unlimited speeds on some highways, the computer would stop you going faster than 155 mph. There is a diesel version in Europe which runs out of puff at 147 mph. You can opt for four-wheel drive too.
Audi U.S. has yet to announce the pricing for the cars. In Germany the base price is 35,000 euros, the equivalent of $38,000, after taxes.
The TT’s main competitors are the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK in this gradually shrinking compact sports car sector. According to IHS Automotive, TT coupe and roadster sales in the U.S. will peak at 5,577 in 2016, when the SLK will sell 3,373 and the Z4 1,890. The SLK peaked in the U.S. at 4,757 in 2013, and the X4 has been sliding since 2010’s 3,804. Globally, the TT will peak at 36,993 in 2016, when SLK sales are 14,784 and Z4 9,060, IHS Automotive said.
The new, third-generation design is similar to the last one, with a few touches to remind buyers of the pricey R8 supercar.
Audi is owned by Volkswagen and provides 38 percent of its profit. Audi is starting another expansion plan and will raise its model range to 60 in 2020 from just over 50 now. It is building new factories in Mexico and Brazil. New models this year include the A4 compact sedan and flagship Q7 SUV. Last year it delivered almost 1.75 million new cars worldwide.
Investment bank Evercore ISI expects Audi’s margin to slip to 9.1 percent in 2015 from 9.6 percent last year, as it raises investment, leading to declining cash flow and profitability. Audi has a as long-term profit-margin target of between eight and 10 percent.