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It might be the entry-level model in the refreshed Audi TT range but it stakes a claim as the pick of the bunch...

When the first-generation Audi TT was released in 1998, it took the sportscar world by storm. This wasn’t necessarily thanks to strong performance (the V6 came later) but rather its striking design. The rounded shape and sharp panel and headlight angles on those flat surfaces were distinctive, while the compact dimensions and lightweight nature contributed to its nimble road manners.

Now that the altogether more sophisticated third-generation TT has been facelifted, on first appearance it seems this winning recipe continues.

The most notable updates to the exterior include a new grille yet it’s with the optional S line package that the TT looks more purposeful. The latter includes a full-length front splitter, framed vertical air inlets in the front bumper and a wider diffuser at the rear. The level of standard equipment on the base model includes Audi’s Drive Select drivetrain management, a smartphone interface, PDC and electrically adjusted front seats.

Our test model is the entry-level 45 TFSI fitted with the engine from the Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI; the 2,0-litre, turbocharged engine develops 169 kW and 370 N.m (20 N.m more than in the GTI). The only other variant in the current local range is the TTS Coupé, offering 228 kW/380 N.m from the same base engine. Sadly, no Roadsters are on sale here, Audi citing fleeting demand.

This unit is fitted with R91 000 worth of options. The three most expensive are that aforementioned S line exterior package (R24 896), park assist (R16 423) and Audi’s matrix LED headlamps (R14 234). A tyre-pressure monitoring system is useful at only R1 332 (although it should really be standard) while the Bang & Olufsen sound system will appeal to audiophiles at R9 876. The Turbo Blue exterior colour elicited varied responses from our team but the hue does make the car more noticeable. However, we believe a more conservative shade better suits the classy design of this entry-level TT.

Once you’re settled behind the wheel, you’ll appreciate the clean, modern and carefully considered interior layout. Since the first generation, it has always been a standout feature and this continues in the facelifted model. As one tester remarked: “The cabin is a masterclass in layout and finishes. Nothing flashy; just very well done.” The attention to detail – from the small screens and knobs inside the air vents to the Virtual Cockpit – adds to its sophisticated ambience.

The TT is built on the widely applied MQB platform. Although the TT (TTS and RS excluded) has never been viewed as a serious sportscar, it is the honesty and unpretentious performance of the car that makes it so appealing.

The sparkly engine has to manage an impressively low overall mass of just 1 323 kg (fully fuelled) and you seldom yearn for more performance. We achieved a 0-100 km/h time of 6,33 seconds, although Audi claims a sub-six-second time.

Front-wheel driven, the engine rarely overpowers the front tyres and it is only during slow, tight turns when you apply too much throttle that you’re reminded of its FWD layout. There might be little here for the enthusiastic driver but, as a classy daily runner, the balance is perfect.

TEST SUMMARY

Thanks to the fun attitude of the TT – both in terms of design and from behind the steering wheel – we found it difficult to fault. Add the high level of standard equipment to this impressive mix and R670 000 starts to sound really attractive. Hardcore sportscar enthusiasts might need to fork out more for the TTS or a competitor’s car, but for everyday driving, modest practicality, frugal consumption and the perfect blend of comfort and dynamism in a performance car, the TT remains up there with the best.  

ROAD TEST SCORE
TT Audi TT coupe 45TFSI
81 / 100
  • Price: R674,000
  • 0-100 km/h: 5.9
  • Power ([email protected]/min): 169 KW @ 4500-6200
  • Torque ([email protected]/min): 370 N.m @ 1600-4300
  • Top speed: 250
  • Claimed cons. (l/100 km): 6.3 l/100 KM's
  • C02 emissions (g/km): 150 g/KM

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