Power Born From Passion: The New Audi TT Coupe
Can you make an iconic car even better? This is a challenge that Audi is prepared to take up. In its second generation, the TT has become even more emotionally charged, even more dynamic and even more passionate. With its leading-edge technology and charismatic design, it is a sports car without compromises.
The exterior design
Its visual presence was a sensation, and its sporty character captivated the public: the TT that Audi launched as a coupé in 1998 and as a roadster in 1999 truly struck a chord with customers. Its shape came to represent a landmark in automotive design, an icon. The design adhered to pure geometric lines, embodying a functional purity and austerity harking back to the Bauhaus style of the 1920s. Its core motifs were the circle – embodied especially strikingly in the wheel arches – and the curves of the roof line, front end and rear.
This timeless architecture imbued the Audi TT with the character of a genuine driving machine, attracting approval and admiration from all quarters. It also proved to be a major driving force for the brand as a whole – both in terms of design and in enhancing its sporty and emotional profile. The readers of a leading German car magazine voted the TT their "Sports Car of the Year".
Showing due respect: the new design
Audi has assiduously retained and stylishly enhanced this genetic code. Whereas the design of the predecessor model was still additive, on the new TT the geometric shapes merge fluidly into a uniform whole. A low, narrow greenhouse is supported by slim pillars sitting on muscular, rounded shoulders; viewed side-on, it accounts for around one-third of the height. Compared with the previous model, the roof has been repositioned further to the rear, and the tail end extends further back.
The panelled body beneath it, accounting for the remaining two-thirds of the height, looks compact, poised and powerful. The convex and concave curvatures of its surfaces imbue the car with a sense of tension and motion, accentuating the character of an athletic body ready to sprint from the blocks. Substantial bracket-type handles and sizeable exterior mirrors with LED turn indicators complete the picture; the mirrors, designed to conform to the latest statutory requirements on size, provide a particularly wide field of view. The wheel arches, which describe perfect semicircles like their predecessor model, enclose wheels 16 or 17 inches in diameter, depending on the engine version. The striking design of its rim centres is again a distinguishing feature on the new TT. The tyres have grown in size to 225/55 R 16 and 245/45 R 17. Sizes of up to 19 inches in diameter are available as an option.
True to character: the interplay of light and shadow
The shoulder line, which runs parallel to the lower edge of the windows, and the strikingly rising dynamic line above the sill stretch the body visually and underscore its dynamic character through a subtle interplay of light and shadow. Above the rear right wheel is the legendary aluminium fuel tank cap, embedded in the shoulder section. It now sports a web running cross-wise, displaying the TT logo; the visible screws in the surround have disappeared.
There are ten metallic and pearl-effect colours to choose from for the bodywork's paintwork: Silver, Condor Grey, Sahara Silver, Dolphin Grey, Phantom Black, Mauritius Blue, Deep Sea Blue, Petrol Blue, Garnet Red and Dakar Beige. Then there are three solid colours by the names of Ibis White, Brilliant Red and Brilliant Black.
Form and function: the drag coefficient of 0.30
Good design is always functional: the drag coefficient of the new Audi TT Coupé is just 0.30 – a remarkable advance on that of its predecessor, which had a drag coefficient of 0.34. Although the frontal area has grown in size from 1.99 m2 to 2.08 m2 as a result of the added width, the overall drag of the new TT clearly undercuts that of its predecessor.
When fine-tuning this model, as well as using the wind tunnel the developers were able to call on an ultramodern simulation program that covered no fewer than 30 million elements. It ran on an ultra-high-performance computer which, even with the combined capacity of 80 networked processors, took ten hours to calculate an aerodynamic model – and this was 50 times faster than its predecessor!
The front end of the new TT has been made more expressive and resolute in appearance. Its defining element is the single-frame radiator grille surrounded by a narrow chrome strip, singling out the TT at very first glance as a member of the Audi family; on the V6 models, it has a high-gloss black finish. Starting at the grille, two pronounced contours extend across the front lid to the A-posts. The front end's design responds to the need to protect pedestrians; the same applies to the deformation properties of the engine compartment lid.
A distinctive feature: "winged" headlights
The slits beneath the single-frame grille and the large air inlets positioned at either side, in front of which the standard fog lights are located, hint at the potential of the new Audi TT's engines. The lights sloping to a point – with chrome-look trims that are standard on the V6 versions and, in conjunction with xenon lights, optional on the 2.0 TFSI – underscore the mature presence of the TT Coupé. Their upper edges visually intersect with the light units, thus reinforcing the impression of resolve. Novel, reverse-curve plastic elements below the tubes, known as the "wings", accentuate the spatial effect. Xenon plus headlights combined with daytime running lights are available optionally (standard on 3.2 quattro) instead of the standard halogen lights, and the adaptive light dynamic cornering light system is also available.
In contrast to the predecessor model, which adhered to the principle of symmetry, the rear end of the new TT is a distinctive structure, entirely separate from the front end. The trapezoidal cut-out around the number plate visually prolongs the flow of the rear lid.
The clearly visible, powerful exhaust tailpipes, the wide diffuser and the centred rear fog light echo the world of motor sport, to which the predecessor model added an illustrious chapter in capturing overall victory in the 2002 German Touring Car Masters.
Secret of the night: square light cubes at the rear
Audi likewise uses tubular reflectors with free-form technology at the rear. Thanks to their visual depth, they produce a strikingly three-dimensional effect, appearing to hover freely in their housings. Rectangular shields on the reflectors mean that other drivers following on behind perceive square light cubes.
As with the headlights, horizontal turn indicator strips delineate the bottom edge of the light units. On the TT with four-cylinder engine, the inner housing inserts are red, and on the V6 quattro they are of a dark colour (option on 2.0 TFSI). The third brake light features light-emitting diodes, as do the side turn indicators in the exterior mirror housings.
The spoiler of the new Audi TT Coupé blends lithely into the contour of the rear end, and when the car is at a standstill the only evidence of it is a barely noticeable lip. At 120 km/h it automatically moves upwards in a two-dimensional arching movement, driven by an electric motor via a four-link kinematic device, thus increasing negative lift at the rear wheels. It is automatically retracted again when the speed falls below 80 km/h. The driver can also operate it via a switch.
Technology tested in motor sport: smooth underbody
Thanks to engine encapsulation and the space frame design of the body, the TT's underbody is smooth throughout almost its entire length, like on a racing car; this, too, reduces lift. The interaction of a wide variety of precision details is brought into play here, such as the way the underside of the rear silencer is sloped by seven degrees so that it acts as a diffuser.
The engineers implement cutting-edge technology in the development work performed in the Audi wind tunnel.
The facility is equipped with a belt that runs at the speed of the wind, allowing the wheels to rotate when the measurements are being taken. The balanced aerodynamic properties of the new TT represent the basis of its excellent road behaviour and stability right up to top speed.