Friday, 6 July 2007

New Audi TT Coupe First Drive: Alternative view

Well, it’s been sometime now I have shared my point of view but here goes. The TT is one really cool looking car. Hands down! You would think that most coupes of this genre were only made for cruising along some boulevard. Until you realize that this little car had a new heart transplant. The now popular 2.0 liter TFSI turbo engine coupled with my favourite gearbox, the VW DSG. (Audi calls it – S-Tronic) Even in normal D mode as I was exiting the Audi hangar I was already experiencing some tire spins just before the traction control reined in the power. Gosh, this turbo unit has loads of low down torque.

The moment you find some open roads that is when the fun starts. I was being tailed by a skyline GTR which was really on my back. I floored the car and whoosh off I went leaving the skyline a little dumb founded. As I looked back to see if the GTR was following I saw the rear spoiler rising up as my car pass 120km/h. It’s not just about top end speed here but the why it was delivered. A strong pull to the redline before changing up just puts a smile on your face. This is still one of the best lag free turbo engine that I have driven. (Still waiting to try out the BMW 335i. Hint, hint BMW Malaysia)

The interior is just awesome. The air-conditioning dials, yummy. The speedometer counters just made the car felt racier. Very impressive Audi! (Now if only the other German markers can learn a thing or two here) Everything just fitted so well, right down to those hugging bucket seats. The way it grabbed your torso, and your thighs just felt right sitting in them. The term seating IN the seat and not seating ON came to mind.

Well there is no perfect car, and here is one thing that I find Audi just don’t seem to get it right. It’s all in the steering and the way the shocks are setup. The steering to me was way too light, even at high speeds which made me feel less secure driving the car fast. Don’t get me wrong, the steering was accurate but it was just lifeless and some what artificial. I guess Audi still has not gotten their electric power steering right. I found the setup on the Colt Rally Art better. What a waste cause the flat bottom steering on the TT looked so promising. All the looks, but no feel. To me this is the most important part as the steering is the main connection between you and the road.

The undulating and off camber roads didn’t help either. The suspension was working over time trying to keep the car on the road. The damper recovery was slow causing the car to oscillate more when compared to the other German cars. (Remember the GTR, it caught up and I had let it pass when we were doing about 160km/h) Come on Audi, this is supposed to be a sports car, but it just didn’t feel sporty and secure when driving fast. On top of this, what’s with the ugly 17 inch 50 series tires? It made the car look ……. pregnant. (Sorry can’t find another word to describe it)

At the end of the short first drive, I have to say that I was only half impressed. I may be biased here as I tend to like rear wheel driven cars, the front wheel drive TT was just too busy for my liking. But at the rate Audi is delivering more and more new cars to compete, the other Germans better watch out. Ok Audi, when can I try the RS5?

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