Audi TT launch at the Brandenburg Gate. Click for larger images
Apr 7, 2006 The original TT has been Audi’s icon design for all its eight year production life, gaining unprecedented critical acclaim and general consumer awareness as well as defining Audi form language in its early years and being one of the most influential car designs of the last decade.
When launched the original TT was a new model in the Audi range, although in part it replaced the larger Audi 80-based Audi Coupe which in turn had replaced the original 80-based 1980 Coupe and Quattro range. The new car was launched yesterday evening at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin along with a 2.5:1 scale sculpture of the car.
First-generation Audi TT
New Audi TT launch at the Brandenburg Gate
The new TT is 137 mm longer than before at 4178 mm, 78 mm wider at 1842 mm, but the same 1350mm height. Based on the platform of the Golf 5, just as its predecessor was based on the Golf 4 platform, it uses the 2 liter turbocharged direct injection engine first seen in the Golf GTi that produces the same 200bhp (interestingly less than the smaller capacity engine of the original TT) powering just the front wheels, or a 3.2 litre V6 normally aspirated direct injection engine with 250bhp driving all four wheels.
Through extensive use of aluminium the new car is marginally lighter than its predecessor at 1260kg. The spaceframe design developed by Audi consists unusually of 69% aluminium and 31% steel, with the steel being predominantly at the rear of the car to help balance the weight distribution. Also new at the rear is a Boxteresque spoiler that extends from the tailgate when the vehicle reaches a speed of 120 km/h.
Other specification highlights include the wheel size options from 16 to 19 inches and an optional adaptive ride system that aims to give a soft comfortable ride on the straights and a taut handling through the corners. It does this with tiny magnetic particles circulating in the shock absorber oil which change the damping characteristics within milliseconds when a voltage is applied.
The new TT clearly is an evolutionary development of its predecessor that also embraces the new Audi design direction to create a striking and attractive design. But as we wrote in our coverage of the Audi Shooting Brake concept that previewed this design at Tokyo last year, there is some conflict in this apparently logical approach there is “an uncomfortable merge of (original) TT with new romantic Audi form language” and this appears to stand for the production car which differs from the concept only in its coupe profile and detail execution.
Trying to develop the purest embodiment of the previous formal Audi form language into one that embraces the new 'emotional' Audi form language in designing the replacement for the TT must have been in some respects, an onerous task, or at the very least a very challenging one. But arguably within these parameters the new car has been successful.
Audi Shooting Brake concept - Tokyo 2005
Design Review: Audi Roadjet concept