The Audi TT Mk3 – Love It or Hate It.

Published on January 28th, 2016

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Some cars are just so tainted by the kind of people who buys them that even as it evolves, it’ll never be able to lose that imagery baggage that it comes with. Just like emotional baggage on human beings, these cars are just labelled by the image it carries rather than judged by the capabilities that it possess. It’s sad. Really…

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… And the Audi TT is just one of those cars. As past generations go, no matter how much Ingolstadt throws at it, be it a massive engine or a humongous turbo that makes it go even faster than it’s Supercar brother – the R8, it just couldn’t get away from the fact that it is the kind of car that is attached to the feminine group of demographics.

When I picked up the keys to the new TT Mk3, I hated it. I hated the looks, I didn’t like the colour very much and I thought the whole interior display and layout was typically grey and unfathomable. It felt exactly like the previous TT. Which for TT-thusiasts, its an excellent thing but for the ones not in that boat, well… we don’t like it very much! Thanks!

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I couldn’t justify the price either. Why does it cost so much for what is basically a less practical, more annoying to live with VW Golf GTI. Of course there is the element of badge. It’s an Audi and not a Volkswagen… but plenty of things still wouldn’t make sense other than the fact that you want a more ‘show-off-fy’ vehicle. And that’s exactly the problem with the people who buys a TT. They care too much about LOOKS!

That’s the thing about cars. You drive it once, you base your judgement on the set perception and expectations that you have in mind. Hence why I don’t believe in pre-purchase test drives. You take the car for a 5 minute spin, yet you learn nothing about the car in the small period of time.

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Stepping into a modern Audi is an experience these days. You don’t just open the door, step inside and drive. You sit and appreciate the minor attention to detail that the badge has to offer within the interior. The layout, the design, the material and the smell. Multiple elements that when jumbled up makes into one spanking encounter. Something Japanese car makers can’t yet have a grasp on.

Audis are definitely offering one of the best interiors in the business. Its presented in the sense that they’re exquisite items to be in, and you can’t complain. They’ve learnt how to spoil the market with Alcantara suede, and Nappa leather even in basic model offerings, that when you turn to other cars in the market, they seem like cheap product that cost the same.

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The most major change with the latest iteration of the TT is with the interior. Its new driver centric arrangement is a step up from the more traditional separation of the infotainment system slap bang in the centre of the dash. This has cleared space, giving the interior a roomier environment.

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Everything is now moved to the new digital display, upon the driver’s view that acts as the car’s infotainment system and the cluster display. This arrangement is set to empower the driver with all the ability to control the functions, without diverting attention nor taking the hands of the wheel.

Of course – another way to look at it is that perhaps the typical TT driver are very lonely people. Clearly this setup reduces the ability for the passenger to control the infotainment system to almost zero. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing?

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This display controls everything from the Radio to the Audi Drive Select system that controls the car’s driving characteristics. It’s pleasing interface is definitely one of the TT’s biggest plus point. My first encounter with a digital display was a few years ago with the Volvo V40 T5. And I did mention that it’s something that will catch on soon before long, now here we are today.

Although it takes some time to get use to the multi-function that’s available, this system will catch on soon enough. Audi has already implemented it on the latest A4 B9 and the all-new Q7 and R8, soon before long it will spill over to all the cars in the VAG family. Too bad the test unit was not fitted with the beautiful navigation system. That is a must have!

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It’s that part of the article where we talk performance. The numbers are as follows :-

  • 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • 230bhp and 370nm
  • 0-100km/h – 5.6 seconds
  • Top Speed – 250 km/h electronically limited (as tested)
  • RM 285,000.00

This modern day boosted philosophy has turned anything normal, into a quick sprinter. Can’t deny that everything underneath the new TT is basically a Golf GTI 7, which is then layered with a more ravishing exterior. But what I can vouch for (from my butt dyno!! :P) is  the fact that the power delivery in the TT feels more punchier, keeping it a little edgier on the go.

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Thanks to a wider stance and a lower centre of gravity from a Golf, the car is like a hound to drive. Despite being pulled from the front wheels, it’s got so much grip in the corners that half the time I think its an AWD TT. The ride is well-balanced between comfort and performance, tuned well for the daily driver that wants/loves to Touge on the weekends. I could do with a more direct steering feel, but with everything being electronic these days there isn’t much we purists can do anymore. Unless you buy a Porsche then you can get a decent steering feel on an electric wheel.

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I wouldn’t call the chassis playable nor fun.  What you get is a mixed of mechanical grip, paired with a punchy engine that delivers and keeps you well intact on the road. Don’t expect backing tail ends and LSD-like rotations mid corner. Everything feels safe when you push it to the limits. In a way I guess the TT is typically German because it doesn’t believe it the totality of fun. Even if its FUN… it HAS TO BE SAFE! #Germans

I’d say that it could really do with 50-100 bhp more to make it a proper thoroughbred, which is where the TT-S comes in. When I tested this TT, the AWD 300bhp ‘S’ variant was not yet available but since, Audi Malaysia has brought it in making my statement rather moot. The TT-S is really where the money is at! If you want one… get THAT one!

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As annoying as it is for me to admit, I did love the new TT experience though. The looks on the Mk3 is something to appreciate most definitely. Although it looks the same at a glance, once you spend a little more time with it, those squarish curves really accentuates the outlook. Dare I say it’s the best looking TT ever made! Give it with the S-line package on the new LED lightbars and its set to arouse. *Maybe a little too much? haha*

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This is one of those – “I really wanted to hate the car, but I ended up loving it” moments. I started with just a quick plan to drive it to a shoot location, then snap some photos and run errands. That ‘drive’ turned out to be a run up Cameron Highlands and back because I really couldn’t stop driving it. Audi nailed it this round with the TT… but only those who’s experienced it will understand.

For the same money, you could go out and buy a VW Golf R Mk7 and be much happier driving it. But this is a head turner, and the interior will still be something to appreciate at least for the next 3-5 years. It could do with more power, and then it’ll be a more fun drive! TT-S… that’s the one you want!

Words & Photos: Qhalis Najmi

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