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Audi TT TDI quattro first look

With this $70,900 addition to the TT range, Audi is claiming the ground for having the first turbodiesel sports car on the road.

They are also claiming fuel supremacy, pointing out that they now have 21 models under the 7l/100km bar, while BMW has only nine and Mercedes-Benz has eight.

The common-rail engine in the TT TDI develops 125kW of power at 4200rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1750-2500rpm, which gets it to 100km/h in 7.5 secs and to a top speed of 226km/h. However it uses just 5.3L/100km – making it the most frugal engine in the Audi range apart from the 1.9TDIe.

A variable vane turbocharger, electriconically controlled, adjusts exhaust gas flow for fast spooling and torque build-up, while swirl flaps control tumble effect. It has a high level of exhaust gas recirculation, and lower combustion temperature, both of which join with the diesel particulate filter in taming emissions to 139g/km.

A short-throw six-speed manual transmission drives all four corners through Audi’s signature quattro drive, with its hydraulic multi-plate clutch rear-mounted for better weight distribution.

Sadly, there’s no DSG version, as – while Audi admits they have other 2.0-litre turbodiesels with the twin-clutch gearbox – they believe the manual six is the 'best combination for that sports car 2 TDI'.

Like the other TT models, the body uses space frame technology, with the body shell 69 per cent aluminium and 31 per cent steel — with the steel section all at the rear to aid the weight distribution – resulting in a total weight of 1370kg and high rigidity.

Equipment includes 17” alloys wheels, Bluetooth, electrically retractable rear spoiler, six-CD changer and all the usual goodies. But there is a long range of options to trick up the car – and the price – including magnetic ride suspension at $3178 and a nav/inof/entertainment system for $4450

Audi is aiming for sales of 500 TT Coupes this year, with about 60 Roadsters on top of that, which would bring them about level with last year’s sales. And they’re tracking well so far, with 387 sold.

They expect the TDI to account for 15 per cent of sales, with the 2.0 TFSI taking point at 50 per cent, the TTS at 20 per cent, and the new entry level 1.8 TFSI at 15 per cent.

But with the TDI they are looking for a different buyer, marketing head Immo Buschmann says.

“This is for the person who is looking for emotion of a sportscar but also does a lot of driving and so is looking at fuel cost and environment,” he says.

“They will be confident enough to drive a diesel sportscar, technologically-oriented so they understand the tech, and – dare I say — more intelligent.”

But Audi is also embarking on an education process to ‘continue to communicate about progressive performance and diesel’, with a targeted approach to current TT owners or those in other segments with TDI engine.

And there are plenty of those, with TDI taking up a fair share in models across the Audi stable. Diesel accounts for 97 per cent of the A8, 93 per cent of the Q7, 53 per cent of the Q5 and 41 per cent of both the A5 and A6.

Also joining the TT family is the 1.8-litre TFSI, which becomes the new entry level for the range at $64,900. The engine – borrowed from the A3 and A4 is a 118kW/250Nm compact and light unit that – also mated to a six-speed manual transmission – has a 0-100km/h time of 7.2 seconds, and logs an official fuel figure of 6.7l/100km.

The third newcomer is the $76,900 2.0 TFSI quattro which joins its front-wheel twin with 147kW and 280Nm mated to a S-tronic transmission. And there’s a Roadster version on the way at $81,900.


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