All-new Audi TT bares teeth in Manila
Kap Maceda Aguila (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2015 - 9:00am

It was a long time coming, but the tasty, third-generation Audi TT finally made it to a local showroom.

Last Sunday, Audi Philippines took the covers off two variants of the four rings’ compelling coupé, and showed how the particular model, in the words of Audi Philippines head Benedicto Coyiuto, “has always led Audi into bold, new innovation.”

The appellation “TT” is said to have been derived from the “motor racing tradition of the Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union (NSU) in the British Isle of Man TT (or Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race.” NSU, which first competed in the TT in 1911, later “merged into the company now known as Audi.” Today, TT also stands for “technology and tradition,” itself adhering to the company known for its iconic mantra: “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advancement through Technology).

The new iteration of the TT certainly gives additional credence to that observation. Audi regional training manager Richard Sorensen, speaking in front Audi customers and members of the media, said the TT premieres Audi’s impressive Virtual Cockpit feature, which supplants traditional physical analog gauges with a 12.3-inch LCD screen. Located, of course, conveniently in the driver’s field of vision (compared to traditionally located multi-media screens) is the “highest-resolution, quickest-processing-speed display ever put in a car.”

Last year, Designated Driver had a chance to see the Virtual Cockpit at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt in Germany, installed in a TT roadster. Foreign press and visitors were clearly impressed with the technological candy. The driver has his or her druthers on the content of the screen. Gauges can appear as old-school dials or as part of futuristic full-screen views.

You need not fiddle with your phone for a map; the Virtual Cockpit has it for you. Plus, “Imagine going through a list of nearby restaurants on the virtual cockpit,” Sorensen said. Audi’s own proprietary MMI (Multi Media Interface) has evolved since its release in 2001 — increasing driving comfort through intuitive control and displays for infotainment and vehicle functions.

Those who may have been put off by Beetle-esque hints profile of the past iteration have reason to rejoice. The all-new TT (which was actually launched at last year’s Geneva Motor Show) is a vastly improved vehicle both inside and out. Designers sculpted the vehicle with crisp edges, lending well to a muscular profile. Audi says there are “no superfluous lines” in the “low, wide, stretched” body. Sorensen insisted that the all-new TT (or 8S) is “a lot edgier than the previous generation.

“(Still) we basically kept the formula very, very similar,” he adds. “There’s a lot of shapes on the car that we’re used to seeing on the TT — the narrow glass area, the sloping roofline, big wheel arches.”

Even as the physical dimensions are similar to its elder sibling, the new TT’s wheelbase increases by 37mm to 2,505mm. Of significance, too, is the fact that the present TT is actually—at 1,335 kgs—50 kilos lighter than the one it replaces.

The second-generation TT already saw Audi taking strides in lightweight construction as it featured a so-called Audi Space Frame body constructed of aluminum and steel. The all-new TT takes the “composite construction principle even further.” Audi reports it’s all about “the right amount of the right material in the right place for optimal functions.” While keeping occupants safe, the technology positively impacts acceleration, handling, and fuel consumption. Richard Sorensen showed just how generously aluminum was used in the new TT by attempting (unsuccessfully, of course) to stick a magnet to its chassis.

Innovative thinking is evident in this Audi even through its air-conditioning controls. “The controls are in the ventilation outlets themselves,” explained Sorensen. This demonstrates operating logic, while freeing up valuable control-panel space for a cleaner layout within.

Viewed from the front, the massive hexagonal of the TT looks like it’s ready to inhale sheep; the four rings on the bonnet is a guarantee it can. Completing the bad-man look are the 3D-design headlights. Xenon-plus units come standard, while full-LED headlights come with the S line package. “The pioneering Audi Matrix LED technology is optional, wherein the high beam is generated by controllable individual LEDs. There is an unmistakable contour created by the separating strip in the headlights, which is illuminated by light guides,” reports Audi. “The Matrix LED headlights consist of 12 LEDs and include another Audi innovation: dynamic turn signals that light up sequentially in the direction in which the driver is steering. The predictive cornering light uses navigation data to move the cone of light into the curve before the steering wheel is turned.”

In a release, Audi Philippines reports that the Audi TT was named as Auto Express Coupe of the Year. The Audi TT, said the respected car magazine, “lives up to its predecessors’ billing as a style icon, but is more focused and better to drive than ever.” Car and Driver magazine gives the TT Coupé high marks for both “snazzy styling and peppy performance,” which appeal to the “practical and passionate.”

If you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this bad boy, that makes two of us.

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