At twenty the Audi TT is in the prime of its life, and to ensure that this remains the case the third generation of the game-changing Coupé and Roadster has benefited from a comprehensive update. In its double-decade anniversary year enhancements to exterior design, power upgrades and an equipment uplift make the case for the compact sports car even more compelling, as does the inclusion in the latest range of a special edition 'TT 20 years' model drawing inspiration from one of the first concept cars and limited to just 999 examples worldwide.
In its first flush the original Audi TT raised the bar for sports car design at virtually every level. It captivated the world from the moment it first appeared as a concept car in Coupé and Roadster form in 1995, and even more so when it took to the roads, virtually unchanged, in production form three years later. It remains one of the stand-out emblems of twentieth century automotive design to this day.
In this milestone year the third generation successor to the trailblazing original car has been given a subtle visual lift. In all versions this brings a new three-dimensional Singleframe radiator grille design, larger side air inlets and new wheel and colour options.
S line and Black Edition models are further differentiated from their predecessors by a new full-length front splitter flanked by vertical inlets, exclusive side sills with inserts and, at the rear, vertical air inlets with horizontal fins below the rear lights and a remodelled diffuser. For the S line a new 19-inch wheel design freshens the profile, and the Black Edition specification which sits one rung above also benefits from a wheel upgrade from the existing 19-inch to a new 20-inch design. It is also set apart by the addition of the fixed rear spoiler previously reserved for the mighty TT RS as a replacement for the current speed-dependent active spoiler, which becomes a no-cost option. The TTS Black Edition also receives this upgrade. To round off the exterior changes a new turbo blue paint finish has been reserved for S line and Black Edition models, while the new colours cosmos blue and pulse orange have also been added to the palette for the range as a whole.
Inside, a number of detail enhancements further strengthen the appeal of the TT as a performance coupé that also makes light work of everyday duties. Sport and S line versions receive folding door mirrors and heated seats, and on top of these the S line specification is also enhanced by the addition of even more supportive Super Sports Seats. The upgrade from there to Black Edition now brings the addition of Piano Black inlays and a new Chrome Slate Grey finish for selected interior elements.
These gains boost an already attractive range-wide standard equipment list that includes the fully digital Audi Virtual Cockpit, now featuring an additional sport display providing information on engine output, torque and g forces, plus leather and Alcantara combination upholstery, keyless go, the Audi Music Interface for convenient playlist access and the MMI Radio incorporating the touch-sensitive MMI Touch control panel. Equally important driving-focused features such as Xenon headlamps for Sport models and LED units for S line and above, LED daytime running lamps, cruise control, rear parking sensors and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system also form part of the standard specification.
The exclusive specification reserved for TTS and TTS Black Edition models hasn't been left out of the expansion plan – both now benefit from a Technology Pack incorporating hard disc-based MMI Navigation Plus, a three-year subscription to the many internet-based Audi Connect infotainment services and Audi Phone Box wireless handset charging. In addition to its new fixed rear spoiler the TTS Black Edition also upsizes to a new 20-inch wheel and incorporates the new Chrome slate grey and Piano black interior elements.
The 'touchpoint' changes to the latest TT go hand in hand with enhancements that are less immediately noticeable. The 1.8-litre, 180PS TFSI engine which has powered lead-in models until now is replaced by a 2.0-litre TFSI with 197PS, and the existing 230PS 2.0 TFSI is boosted to 245PS. The two units with their new outputs are categorised according to the latest Audi naming convention, meaning the 197PS version is badged 40 TFSI and the 245PS 45 TFSI. In common with the rest of the Audi range the performance-focused 'S' model retains its original model designation.
All the latest petrol engines are equipped with a petrol particulate filter (OPF) – in the TTS and TTS Black Edition this has the effect of slightly reducing the power output to 306PS (from 310PS), but at the same time 0-62mph performance has fractionally improved in both Coupé and Roadster variants – the respective 4.5-second and 4.8-second sprint times are a tenth faster than previously.
In conjunction with the 197PS TFSI engine customers have the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission; the 245PS unit is available with either the manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive or with the S tronic transmission and the multi-plate clutch-based quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. Both versions of the TTS feature quattro as standard.
In both transmission types, the close-ratio lower gears enable powerful acceleration, while the wide ratio of each transmission's highest gear reduces the engine speed and with it fuel consumption.
Sports suspension is not surprisingly a standard feature of all TT versions, and to take this a step further S line and Black Edition versions can be fitted as a no-cost option with S line sports suspension lowered by a further 10mm. The TTS and TTS Black Edition models with their 'S-specific' suspension and quattro drive are also equipped with Audi magnetic ride adaptive damper control for optimal composure under pressure.
Progressive steering is fitted across the range for increased response in corners and reduced load during low speed manoeuvres, and all versions also include wheel-selective torque control which optimises handling as necessary by means of precise brake interventions on the unloaded wheels on the inside of a bend.
The portfolio of driver assistance systems also embodies the TT philosophy: they relieve the driver of work so that he or she can fully concentrate on the road. The lineup extends from the lane change assistant Audi side assist, the lane departure warning system Audi active lane assist and traffic sign recognition to the park assist with display of the surroundings and a rearview camera.
Like every open-top Audi, the new TT Roadster and TTS Roadster come with a soft top in either black or grey. The soft top has a taut fit, and its excellent sound insulation makes it an "acoustic top." At 39 kilograms, it is very light and doesn't compromise the luggage compartment when it retracts at the touch of a button in around ten seconds at vehicle speeds of up to 31mph.
A total of 999 examples of the "TT 20 years" special edition will also be produced to mark the anniversary of this core Audi model. With seats finished in fine Nappa leather in moccasin brown with specific Panuka contrasting stitching the interior of the 20 Years special edition harks back to the early cars with their 'Baseball Leather' upholstery. "TT 20 years" badges on the steering wheel and gear lever knob also mark the car out, as do stainless steel tailpipes in a specific design, Matrix OLED rear lights and matt-finished Audi rings above the side sills. The "TT 20 years" will be available in Coupe and Roadster body styles with either Arrow grey or Nano grey paint finishes.