Driving the TT sedately around town revealed the gentle manners of this extremely refined HPA project. Throttle sensitivity is nice and linear, yet responsive, making the power very easy to modulate. The highly modified power plant idled as smoothly and quietly as a factory TT 3.2, and no codes are thrown, so there are no engine lights marring the dashboard, again just as the factory version. Testing things a little reveals that a heavy stab on the throttle in any gear builds boost virtually instantaneously, and you're off. The DSG performs smoothly and as predictably as OE in both manual and auto mode with no fuzz or hic-up.
At the track from a standing start, the scenario goes like this. With the Launch Control holding the revs at 4800 rpm, you chuckle to yourself in anticipation, as you get ready to hang on for dear life. Quickly releasing the brake pedal has the 4 wheels screaming for grip, once they hook up you are very quickly looking for second gear with your right index finger, the modified DSG programming then allows you to snap off upshifts like an F1 driver, as you are rewarded by a rocket-like thrust squashing you into the seat well into the triple digits.
What is shocking about the experience is that the DSG transmission shifts so fast, and you never get the sensation of acceleration release as in a manually shifted vehicle. In addition, the exhaust note is downright frightening, transforming from growl to roar to tearing shriek, somewhat like a cross between a race car and jet fighter. The dual ECU-activated exhaust bypass valves open at 2500 rpm under full throttle, redirecting the exhaust flow through a combination of the muffler and the two individual bypass dumps releasing the back pressure on the exhaust system, thus increasing power in the top end. It is all totally unbelievable!
To match the beautifully delivered power and drivetrain upgrades the TT's chassis required some simple but intelligent modifications. First up was removal of the factory sport/luxury tuned magnetic active suspension in favor of the more performance oriented and infinitely adjustable KW Suspension V3 coil-over set-up. The KW V3 kit is an extremely high quality coil-over suspension system allowing for a wide range of ride height adjustability, true individual rebound and compression adjustability, and it combines high quality German engineering/manufacturing with stainless steel struts, high tensile race quality springs, and state-of-the-art damping technology.
Next up was the in-house HPA big brake upgrade that swaps out the paltry factory units for 8 piston monoblock calipers and 365x34 mm two piece floating rotors up front, and larger 335x22 mm rotors in the rear, with performance pads all round.
Last but not least, was a wheel and tire upgrade designed to improve adhesion, increase the contact patch by widening the rubber, and provide a striking custom appearance. The wheel selected was the new 19x8.5 inch Moda MD3 for its classic five spoke design and interesting paintable surfaces, which are of course done to match the wild exterior. In the rubber department, the TT was blessed with new, not yet released (at the time), Dunlop Sport Maxx "GT" tires in 255/35ZR19 for all four corners.
The new TT tips the scales in at a stellar lightweight 3262 lbs. because of Audi's hi-tech space-frame chassis construction which is about 70% aluminum. This gives it a refined, light and lively feel, and offers a huge handling advantage when things get twisty. The KW V3 coil-overs in combination with the OE sway bars result in a slighter firmer ride, but keep the vehicle extremely flat under hard cornering. At any speed the chassis felt well planted and neutral, and provided excellent feedback through Audi's new electro mechanical speed sensitive steering. The new Haldex controller worked seamlessly to distribute power more effectively to all four wheels making this car particularly fun to drive. Also, the upgraded brakes were outstanding with a firm linear feel, and the new Dunlop Sport Maxx "GT" tires provide a very high level of grip for a street tire. This HPA TT is truly approaching handling nirvana.
Styling is extremely important in this "supercar" segment of the automotive market, so HPA stepped up the game with a custom two-toned interior of black leather with grey Alcantara inserts for the excellent factory Recaro seating. In addition gorgeous matching door panels and headliner were also hand stitched, resulting in a bold interior statement that Audi itself would be proud of. On the exterior, besides the aforementioned extraverted shade of orange with matching wheels, is a subtle yet aggressive body kit by Oettinger including front chin spoiler, side skirts, and rear valance, along with a mild Abt Sportsline rear wing. The last modification was the German engineered LSD door hinge installation. Love it or hate it, it does work well in this instance to tie together the exotic presence of this spectacular custom ride.
With exotic looks, comforts, technology, handling, braking, and power the HPA TT FT565 twin turbo does not disappoint in any category. What is perhaps the most intangible quality though is how the sum of the custom aftermarket products and all of the original remaining high quality factory amenities and systems work together in harmony to create an even greater overall outcome. This is also a vehicle so practical and versatile that it can be driven anywhere at anytime, conforming perfectly to the driver's variable mood.
Unlike the shiny Rolex "knock-off" you purchased from the very shady character in the back alley, the new HPA TT FT565 is indeed built to be driven (and driven hard!). Fortunately, this one will run reliably like a Swiss watch for many happy and invigorating years to come. The extra added bonus is that when regular service is needed, you can take it to your local Audi dealer for a fraction of the cost of comparable Lamborghini service. You best contact HPA soon to be one of 10 lucky owners of this fabulous limited edition supercar.
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