herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

LITTLE BEAUTTY

Audi's iconic little sports coupe is still one step ahead of everything else, writes Ian Mallon

audi TT
audi TT
inside TT

THE hardest thing in car reviewing is to write about a boring car.

There is nothing to inspire the writer, nothing to make him or her sing, nowt to make them angry or little to get animated about, good or bad.

Bad car reviews are as easy as winding up Jeremy Clarkson if you happen to be a black, Irish, teetotal, vegan barman who has just run out of steak and wine.

Good car reviews are equally easy, but not as fun to write as the vicious critique. If the car hums the copy will sing.

I used to love writing bad reviews about cars that were completely unworthy of my time and effort and deserved nothing but a good auld kicking.

GLORIOUS

I once wrote a review about a car that was so bad, dangerous and unroadworthy that even the boss of the company rang me afterwards, laughing and telling me I was dead right.

The only problem these days is that there are no poor cars any more, and if there are, I will refuse to drive them.

Yes, you're right, not very professional, but that's what I have Big Phil for - he just loves to dissect a bad car and spread his hate-filled rage all over it.

Then there are car reviews that require very few words. The reader will immediately see from the brand, the model and the photo that the review they're about to tuck into will only be a glorious experience.

Like the Audi TT. What I really want to do this week is put a page-sized picture of the car in front of you, with just a couple of words as a single headline/review.

Something like: TT: Totally Terrific. But that wouldn't really do the TT justice, because this is simply not just the greatest TT of all, it is possibly the best reasonably priced sports car ever made.

The TT is so much sleeker, more substantial looking, and is an even better drive than any of the previous models.

It is indeed Totally Terrific and Absolutely Awesome.

But it's something even more: it stole my heart, and no matter how good some cars are, very few run away with my beating organ.

This is the third generation TT, and while the first and second versions were great to drive, this is an altogether more exciting experience due to what Audi has been doing for years - making lighter cars.

This is basically down to loads of aluminium and less steel, and the net result is a car that handles like a magnetic feather - sure-footed yet gloriously light.

The TT has been made in petrol and diesel variants.

The petrol is a two-litre TFSi and a 2.0 litre TDi, both coming in Sport and S Line. The engine barks out a decent 227bhp, which when you consider this is a peach of a car to drive anyway is plenty of horses for one so small. And is it really that small? From the outside for sure, but once ensconced in the glorious cab you're a king of the world.

The view is exceptional thanks to smaller A pillars, and the dash is gloriously trimmed with lots and lots of fab Audi tech.

This includes the MMI control system and Virtual Cockpit, which features the Technology Package - basically, a more interactive experience through Google Maps and other driver-assist apps.

There's bags of room for the driver and front seat passenger, and there are two seats in the back.

These, however, can only really be used if you have really small people up front or in the rear.

But this is not a car for the practical bore - this is all about the style, and the TT is one of the world's great iconic models.

Yes, the TT is beyond beautiful, and is one of the few cars that make motor writing so easy. The Audi TT starts at €47,550.

This is the new addition to the Skoda RS family. Named the RS230, the souped-up Octavia has 230bhp, 0-100kph in 6.7 seconds and sells for €36,500.

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