The predecessor TT model was itself one of the few coupés on the market to bear all the hallmarks of a genuine sports car in the design of its interior. In the new model, too, the dynamic architecture of the exterior is echoed in the interior.
The most striking new feature can be found on the centre console. There are now three air outlets there instead of two, but the classic TT motif of the circular design has been retained. For the driver, the feeling is like wearing a made-to-measure suit. The driving area, the horizontal edge of which echoes the tornado line of the body, is perfectly tailored to the driver's requirements.
Perfectly cut: driver-oriented centre console
The centre console is angled slightly towards the driver. It is visually supported on a wide centre tunnel, whose tall sides are contoured such that they are suitable for resting the knees against when cornering. The short gear lever knob and the rotary controls for the standard-fit automatic air conditioning, which regulates the temperature, volume and distribution of the air flow electronically, are particularly large and easy to grip, again following in the best TT tradition. All the switches and levers in the new Audi TT are where they would be intuitively expected.
The instrument cluster is housed beneath a dome that can be supplied trimmed in leather as an option. The two large scales for road speed and engine speed, recessed in tubes, are characteristic features; as before, they are in black, with red needles.
One new feature is a large digital speedometer in the display of the standard-fit driver information system, located between the instruments.
The new, standard three-spoke sports steering wheel, measuring only 36.5 centimetres in diameter, rests perfectly in the hands. Its substantial rim, trimmed with high-quality Nappa leather, is flattened at the bottom, similar to the design fitted in the Audi RS 4 and the Le Mans quattro sports car study a nod to motor sport that also facilitates entry and exit.
Beneath the rim there is a light but rigid skeleton of diecast magnesium; this helps to keep the weight of the steering wheel plus airbag down to just 2.8 kilograms. A visual highlight is provided by the four Audi rings inside a circular surround on the impact absorber. As an option, the sports steering wheel can be supplied with controls for the radio and telephone, and there are two shift paddles on the versions with the S tronic dual-clutch gearbox.
Top-quality workmanship and perfection of styling are a matter of course for Audi. The soft foam-backed slush finish of the instrument panel with its leather-like grain is just one part of the optical and tactile overall concept.
Choice materials: leather and carpets
The rings of the air outlets are galvanised in an aluminium look. Other components such as the gear lever, the door openers and the air conditioning and audio system controls likewise have a subtly gleaming aluminium look; the pedal pads and the footrest are available optionally in stainless steel, and the inlays in the centre console and on the glove box in aluminium. The carpets are made from high-quality loop pile carpet instead of the velour that is otherwise customary in this class of car, and there are aluminium door sill trims in the side sills. The gear lever gaiter is in leather. On the 3.2 quattro, the handbrake lever, additional armrest on the centre tunnel and pull handles on the doors are also trimmed in leather.
There is a considerable range for customers to choose from when it comes to the materials and designs. There are seven different interior colours.
The TT 2.0 TFSI comes with cloth upholstery ex works, and the 3.2 quattro with a Leather/Alcantara combination here, the side sections of the seat base and backrest as well as the head restraints are in leather, and the centre sections in Alcantara; both front seats can be heated.
For individualists: free choice of leather upholstery
For custom specifications, Audi offers the three leather grades Valetta, Fine Nappa and Leather/Alcantara (standard on 3.2 quattro). There will also be the Athlete leather upholstery and trim, with a distinctive colour and material combination. There are also three packages to choose from, featuring leather trim options for many of the interior components. Controls such as the rotary light switch and steering-wheel spokes as well as the rotary controls of the audio system and automatic air conditioning are in aluminium look as standard. An optionally extended aluminium package for the interior rounds off the range.
As on the previous model, the body of the new TT is manufactured and painted in Ingolstadt. Final assembly of the vehicle takes place at the Györ plant, in western Hungary, where around 270,000 of the Audi TT Coupé and Roadster have been built since 1998. The ASF concept used for the body of the new TT has been applied as a hybrid construction for the first time. The three letters stand for Audi Space Frame that ground-breaking aluminium technology that the brand developed at the start of the 1990s for the first A8 series.
In ASF technology, the body's supporting structure is made of extruded aluminium sections and die-castings, with the aluminium sheet panels forming a positive connection and performing a load-bearing role within this structure. Depending on their specific task, the components of the ASF space frame have various shapes and cross-sections like the bones in a human skeleton, they combine best possible function with lowest possible weight.
The optimisation process for the new Audi TT Coupé went into such depth of detail that even the weight, size and strength category of the punch rivets that connect many of the components were calculated on the computer.
Maintaining a good balance: steel at the rear
In the new TT, Audi has further developed ASF technology, and added high-strength steel to the material mix. Aluminium accounts for 69 percent of the weight of the overall body. Steel components are located principally at the rear of the floor panel. The doors and luggage compartment lid are also made of steel. This ensures that the axle loads are distributed evenly, thus considerably improving the handling of the vehicle.
The bodyshell of the TT weighs 206 kg, 140 kg of which is aluminium and 66 kg steel; were it built entirely of steel, it would be 48 percent heavier. Its low weight is one of the key factors behind the impressive road behaviour of the new TT Coupé. The unladen weight of the TT 2.0 TFSI is only 1,260 kilograms putting it at the forefront of its performance class. The 3.2 quattro weighs in at 1,410 kg.
High-tech body-in-white: the cast nodes
The aluminium components of the ASF comprise 63 kg of sheet, 45 kg of castings and 32 kg of extruded sections. The extremely high-load castings are deployed primarily where high forces are introduced locally and where multi-functionality is required. A prime example is the A-post node this is a high-tech component that connects the longitudinal member, sill, A-post and windscreen cross-member. Like all cast aluminium parts, it exhibits a geometry which is perfectly adapted to the flow of power, fully reflecting the expertise that Audi has acquired over many years of work.
The big advantage of extruded sections is their design versatility. For example, the side sills on the Coupé and the Roadster that is to follow at a later date are externally identical; on the inside, however, they have different thicknesses of ribs, giving them different strength characteristics. As a general principle, the extruded sections on the new TT are made from innovative aluminium alloys; they exhibit superior strength and therefore provide the opportunity to further reduce weight.
Joining techniques: Audi exploits its lead
Audi is likewise profiting from its vastly superior wealth of experience when it comes to joining together aluminium and steel components. Joining is performed in a variety of ways punch-riveting, clinching and bonding. The problem of contact corrosion is solved by the use of an adhesive that forms a protective layer; camera systems monitor the application process during production, to ensure it is performed correctly. The joins are in addition sealed with PVC or given a preservative wax coating. To compensate for the differing degrees of expansion in the materials when they are heated for instance during cataphoretic dip-priming the workpieces have different geometries.
A fourth joining technology has now been added to the list: self-tapping screws, inserted by robots, melt the surface of the component as a result of the friction they cause, thus penetrating fully into the material, forming a positive connection with it.
Another innovative concept used on the new TT is the aluminium zero joint that is produced between the roof and the side section during laser-welding.
The new-style ASF on the Audi TT features properties that are outstandingly matched to a sports car. Its static torsional rigidity has been improved by around 50 percent over its predecessor. The technology simultaneously assures a high degree of vibrational comfort on board. It took only a few simulation cycles on the computer to arrive at a structure that suppresses incipient vibration and avoids transmission paths.
Calm pulse: body acoustically optimised
The measures employed to this end comprised high local rigidity at the points of introduction of the sound waves, improved soundproofing of the body and a more specific design of the metal panel areas. As well as the body, the developers optimised the drivetrain and suspension, resulting in an acoustically highly sophisticated vehicle.
Nor does the new TT entertain any compromises when it comes to crash safety, even though the relatively short forward structure means that only a limited amount of deformation space is available in the event of a head-on collision. Audi's engineers solved this problem by calling on the experience they had gathered in developing the ultra-compact A2.
The longitudinal members in the forward structure comprise aluminium extruded sections towards the front and high-load castings in the transition to the passenger compartment. Together with the front cross-member and the subframe, which is bolted to the forward structure at six points, this assembly reduces and distributes the kinetic energy that acts in a head-on collision. It thus keeps the passenger compartment as intact as possible, allowing a coordinated form of interaction with the restraint systems.
At the rear end, there are large-volume members to protect the passenger compartment.
High-strength aluminium profiles in the doors and robust side sections resist the worst of a side impact. The floor of the passenger compartment is reinforced by transverse extruded sections. A roof frame reinforced in specific areas affords a high level of protection in the event of a sideways roll-over.
The car's passive restraint systems are also state-of-the-art. Depending on the severity of the impact, the driver and front-passenger airbags are activated in two stages; they receive their signals from an up-front sensor that detects a collision particularly early thanks to its installed position at the nose of the vehicle. Belt tensioners and belt force limiters on the front seats protect the driver and front passenger.
The steering column has a defined crumple zone of 100 millimetres. A mechanism uses the relative movement between the bulkhead and the driving-area cross-member to swing the pedals away from the driver's feet.
Side airbags are fitted on pillars inside the front seat backs to protect the occupants' thoraxes and heads. The Audi backguard system supports the back of the head by means of the head restraint in a rear-end collision, to counteract the danger of whiplash injuries.
Growth programme: longer and wider
The dynamic look of the new Audi TT also stems from its changed proportions. The TT Coupé is 137 mm longer and 78 mm wider than its predecessor, but only 6 mm higher. It is now 4,178 mm long, 1,842 mm wide and 1,352 mm high. The TT's wheelbase is 2,468 mm (plus 45 mm).
This growth has by and large been translated into increased space inside: it has become measurably more spacious and also subjectively more airy. Inside, the car is now 75 mm longer, at 1,577 mm. The front shoulder width has increased by 29 mm to 1,352 mm, while the rear shoulder width has increased by 23 mm to 1,206 mm. A convenient entry function on the front seats facilitates access to the rear.
The backrests of the rear bench seat are made from plastic, saving 1.2 kilograms in weight compared with a conventional sheet metal design. Their adjustment system, too, is novel: the lower joints are sufficient to lock them in place, and the additional mechanism at their upper edge has been eliminated.
If the symmetrically divided backrests are folded down this can be done easily both from inside the car and through the luggage compartment the 290-litre luggage compartment grows in size to 700 litres, resulting in a 1.70-metre long space that is ample for two golf bags plus auxiliary kit, or for large suitcases and bags.
The luggage compartment has straight surfaces around its periphery, there are lashing points to secure items of luggage and a storage compartment in the side trim. The breakdown kit is located beneath the luggage compartment floor.
Even greater practical utility: the storage package
With these practical everyday features, the TT sets new standards in the sports coupé class. A storage package comprising a luggage net for the luggage compartment, storage compartments beneath the front seats and nets, is available as an option. Cup holders on the centre tunnel and a storage compartment are standard, and the door pockets hold drinks bottles of up to 0.7 litres in size. There is a separate compartment for eye glasses in the glove box.
The driver's and front passenger's sports seats are fitted even lower down than in the predecessor model. These provide a truly sporty seating position, a high degree of comfort for long-distance driving and firm side support thanks to the substantial foamed side sections. Their adjustment travel both longitudinally and vertically has increased. A four-way lumbar support and electric adjustment of the entire seat are available as an option. The side armrests are of a particularly comfortable design that makes them appear to grow organically out of the door trims.