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2015 Audi TT whets the whistle

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    The TT-S's 0-100km/h sprint time is trimmed from 5.3 secs to 4.7. Photo Gallery

EVERYTHING is sharpened, from the styling to the handling, as Audi looks to put its TT back into the sports car class.

galleryThe third-generation TT is lighter and more powerful, has more technology and picks up the best of the MQB platform developed by Volkswagen Group as the foundation for dozens of new models starting with the award-winning Golf and Audi A3.

The new TT, unveiled at the Geneva motor show this week, will land in Australia in the first quarter of 2015. The original TT from 1998 was a landmark car for Audi, edgy and enjoyable, but things went soft when the car got bigger and more luxurious.

Now Audi says the car is about 50kg lighter while being considerably stronger, slightly smaller but with a longer wheelbase, and fitted with technology that is more driver-friendly. The boot is bigger and the seats are set lower.

"More than ever before, in the third generation the TT is a sports car," says Audi Australia spokesman Shaun Cleary. "You can see that in everything from the styling to the layout of the interior. It's also about technology with things like the virtual cockpit, which eliminates a central display screen and puts everything in front of the driver. The engines have more power and there is a focus on driving dynamics." The 2.0-litre is up from 155kW to 169kW. The TT-S gets a 28kW boost (to 228kW) and an extra 30Nm (to 380Nm).

A new version of the quattro AWD feeds more torque to the rear in keen driving. The TT-S's 0-100km/h sprint time is trimmed from 5.3 secs to 4.7. There is also a front-drive diesel variant, although Audi has yet to reveal its model plans for Australia. The new TT is part of a stronger performance push at Audi. The brand already has confirmed the S1 quattro will go into production and a TT-RS is certain to join the updated sports car line-up.

"There are more and more S and RS models. It wasn't long ago at all that there was only a single RS model at a time. Now there are eight,” says Cleary. Among the new technology in the TT is "Matrix LED" headlamps developed by Hella, aircon controls positioned in the air vents and a steering wheel airbag that takes up 40 per cent less space.

This reporter is on Twitter: @PaulWardGover

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