Audi TT Coupe 2.0 TDI Ultra Review

The new Audi TT still looks like an Audi TT so it’s likely to be in demand, and this diesel ultra version has an impressive combined economy figure of 67.3mpg – but it’s front-wheel drive only, so it has less traction than the quattro model.

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Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:  Audi TT Coupe 2.0 TDI Ultra Sport (184 PS) 6-speed manual
  • Fuel:  Diesel
  • Fuel economy combined:  67.3 mpg

Summary

Party trick of the new Audi TT is the digital instrument display

Exterior looks very similar to the previous TT, ie. stylish, but it’s now more angular

This is the diesel ‘ultra’ version, with a 67.3mpg combined economy figure

But this diesel model only comes with front-wheel drive – which means less traction than the all-wheel drive quattro

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BACKGROUND

When the original Audi TT appeared it was seen as a radical new design. The ‘mark 2’ was very much an evolution of the original, and it didn’t turn heads as much. The mark 3 TT is now here and the overall profile is virtually unchanged, but it has more angular features such as its headlights. The other characteristic of the original TT was its driving dynamics – or rather the lack of them. Has the new TT moved the game on in this department?

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DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The new TT is instantly recognisable as a TT, especially from its silhouette. But the design has become more angular, particularly around the front end. Overall then, it’s still a stylish, desirable coupe.

The big party trick is the interior. Apart from being up to the normal Audi quality standards on terms of materials and design, the instrument binnacle now houses a fully digital display, which can change between speedo/rev counter and a full satnav display at the touch of a button. Having seen this, you wonder why no-one has thought of this before. In truth, Audi has been displaying satnav information in the space between between the rev counter and speedo for a number of years now, so this is a logical progression.

It turns out that this idea is a subjective thing. Personally, it’s felt that having all the satnav info directly in front of you is a good thing. However others thought this was too distracting. What this does mean is that there’s no central screen on the dashboard. This helps to accentuate the overall clutter-free ambience of the cabin.

Another interesting feature is the temperature controls, which are now located on the air vents. Like the infomedia display in front of the driver, having temperature controls on the vents is a logical place for them.

The overall interior space doesn’t feel much different to the last TT. It is possible to fit two very small children in the rear seats, and the boot copes with more luggage than you might imagine. And the rear seats fold down, which does provide a useful load area. What the TT can’t do is accommodate adults in the rear due to zero headroom.

The new TT can look impressive in the right colour – but we certainly wouldn’t order one in the very dull grey colour of our test car.

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Audi TT DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The original TT looked great but its driving dynamics didn’t live up to the looks. The second generation kept very similar looks and felt slightly more agile. This third generation TT with its new platform offers the promise of much more entertaining dynamics.

The last TT that we reviewed was also a diesel, but it had quattro all-wheel drive. We tested this TT quattro in the Lake District in winter and it was fast, surefooted and economical.

The new TT comes with a TDI engine along with an ‘ultra’ badge, denoting the most efficient models in Audi’s ranges. However this diesel only comes with front-wheel drive – a quattro drivetrain is not an option – that’s reserved for the petrol models.

The result is a car that is fast, stable and efficient on fast, dry roads, with good handling and mostly a comfortable ride (but with some road noise). However the combination of lots of torque, plus front-wheel drive, plus wet, cold roads, results in juddering wheelspin under acceleration and torque steer. This is not a desirable state of affairs, and when faced with snow in the Lake District in this TT, it simply wouldn’t budge up even the slightest of inclines. This is obviously as much to do with the tyres as the drivetrain, but we’ve driven Audi quattros in snow for over twenty years with a variety of tyres and all of them were vastly more capable in such an environment than this front-wheel drive TT.

The new digital instrument display gets the thumbs up overall, but some aspects of its controls take a bit of getting used to.

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Audi TT ECONOMY AND EMISSIONS

This TT ‘ultra’ is designed to be as efficient as possible. It has an official combined consumption figure of 67.3mpg, equating to emissions of 110g/km CO2, which is impressive for an Audi TT. On motorways we averaged 50.3mpg. Overall we averaged 46.2mpg. This is considerably down on the official figure of 67.3mpg, but it’s not bad for a sports car, and the relatively low real-life economy figure no doubt reflects the sort of driving that a sports car is likely to get. It has a useful 500 mile range in real life driving. The TT ultra has a company car tax benefit in kind rating of 18%.

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PRICE, EQUIPMENT AND MODEL RANGE

The base price of the TT ultra in Sport trim – the cheapest TT- is £29,125. Our test car had a range of options including MMI Navigation Plus (£1,495), ‘Nano grey’ metallic paint (£545), Audi parking system (rear) (£430); electronic climate control (£420.00), and leather package (£420). With all options the total price came to £34,385.

All TTs are currently 2-litre – either diesel or petrol. The 2-litre TFSI can be specified with front or all-wheel drive.

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Conclusion

The Audi TT is without doubt a desirable car. The latest version has sharper styling, a quality interior bristling with the latest technology, and the promise of a more agile and rewarding chassis. The ultra version is efficient, stable and refined on fast roads such as motorways. Having driven a variety of Audi quattros for many years as personal cars, when the all-wheel drive suddenly isn’t there, you miss it – especially when faced with winter driving conditions including snow. So the new TT represents progress over the previous generation model, and if you want an economical TT, then this is the one. However having spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel of the last TT RS, with its excellent engine and grippy quattro all-wheel drive system, we can’t help but think that the new version of that car, with the new chassis, will be the TT that really stands out. The TDI ultra model may be the greenest choice, but Audi’s petrol engines are also pretty efficient, and mated to the quattro system, power can be put down in all weathers. So the Audi TT TDI ultra is awarded a Green-Car-Guide rating of 9 out of 10, but we look forward to driving a petrol TT quattro soon.

Car facts and figures Audi TT Coupe 2.0 TDI Ultra Review

  • Fuel economy extra urban: 76.3 mpg
  • Fuel economy urban: 57.6 mpg
  • Test economy: 46.2 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 110 g/km
  • Green rating: VED band B – £20 for 12 months
  • Weight: 1340 Kg
  • Company car tax liability (2014/15): 18%
  • Price: £29,125
  • Insurance group: TBC
  • Power: 184 PS
  • Max speed: 150 mph
  • 0-62mph: 7.1 seconds
  • Euro 6: Yes
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor