The Audi TT is a very special car in Audi's history. It first appeared in 1998, at a time when the marque had a reputation for creating safe, solid and rather dull vehicles. At a time when motoring journalists weren't expecting much, the Audi TT blazed onto this scene in a blaze of automotive glory, offering everyday buyers the chance to buy a stylish, innovative yet still reliable car that made driving fun again. One key element to the car was the brilliant four-wheel-drive Quattro chassis, which is still just as sought after today.
Audi have, of course, been updating the car since 1998, and the version we have for hire is the third generation TT model. This fuses the sheer flair of the first car with more modern technology and power. As a result it's smart, stylish and really quite fast indeed.
Critics fell in love with this third generation Audi TT, just as they did with the original. It's no surprise, either, the car is discernibly high quality with a stunning interior and a powerful drivetrain, packaged inside a gloriously sporty and refined exterior.
The Audi TT delivers great performance, not least because it's had a myriad of clever engineering tweaks. Weight has been taken out to improve efficiency and agility, while the quattro drivetrain has been re-engineered with some big-budget improvements. Thanks to Audi drive select, furthermore, the driver can adjust the operating parameters of this all-wheel-drive system to their requirements. If you select dynamic mode, for example, you'll distribute more torque to the rear axle faster, resulting in all kinds of fun. For everyday use there's also auto mode, which places optimum traction and balanced driving dynamics at the forefront.
Our car comes with a 2 litre TFSI petrol engine, which has wider power band and more accessible revs than its diesel counterpart. Linked to this is the renowned automatic twin-clutch S tronic gearbox, which is regularly cited as the best on the market. With this combination you should be able to do 0-62MPh in just 5.3 seconds, before roaring on to a top speed of 155MPH.
The car also comes with Audi's magnetic ride adaptive damper control system, which is activated with the push of a button and which produces noticeable changes in control dynamics, precision and user friendliness. Those familiar with previous versions of the TT will also notice that the suspension is 10mm lower in our S Line version, creating a more dynamic driving experience.
This is unmistakably an Audi TT, as the marque's engineers have very cleverly played to their strengths and created a third generation model that's not only modern and agile but also entirely based around the styling that made the original so popular. This handsome car has a big, slightly menacing front grille, clean flowing lines and typical Audi features such as the circular fuel flap surrounded by socket screws. The dropping roofline makes this car instantly recognisable and it's undoubtedly sporty - viewed from the front it's easy to see how this car is only a few small steps away from full-on sports car.
As it's the higher specification S line model, this car also has new-look bumpers and air intakes, differentiated sills and a prominent rear diffuser. The wheels are also bigger, 19 inch alloys to be precise, which are almost as shiny as the special LED headlights up front.
The interior of our Audi TT S Line car feels truly special. It's centred around a widescreen digital instrument cluster and an integrated digital display. The latter, a 12.3 inch touch screen, is particularly impressive when you link it to Google earth and the high definition map fills the screen - it's so entertaining you might easily forget it's only a navigation tool! The car comes with the MMI navigation pack which can be activated through the voice control system, as can all the other features you'll find in the touchscreen control centre. You can also link up your phone using Audi Connect, allowing you to access phone features on the go.
Audi fans, however, might be distracted by the classic round air vents, which are reminiscent of jet engines with their turbine-like design. Nor is that the only aircraft-like feature, the instrument panels also resembles the wing of an aircraft when seen from above.
The fit and finish throughout the cabin is superb, with clean lines and classical styling. Little touches such as the flat-bottomed steering wheel point to just how much thought has gone into crafting this third generation Audi TT.
As this car is an S Line version the driver can relax into the leather sports-style seat, and from their position reach all the ergonomic controls - including the push button start - with ease. All the seats in this car are heated, meaning that it's a truly comfortable and relaxing place to be even in the depths of winter! In terms of entertainment, the car comes with the high quality MMI radio system which works beautifully in this incredibly quiet cabin.
There's something very special about driving an Audi, particularly the TT. Perhaps it's that feeling of being in something that made automotive history, perhaps it's just the incredible build quality and dynamic drive, but it's a very memorable drive. This car is sleek and sexy, but not as ostentatious as its younger sister the R8, making it the perfect vehicle to inject a little bit of magic into your everyday drive.