The Audi TT is a two-door, four-seat sports coupe that faces stiff competition from the excellent BMW 4 Series and Porsche Cayman, as well as the stylish – although slightly less accomplished – Peugeot RCZ and Volkswagen Scirocco. With rivals like this, the TT has to be good. It's a good thing, therefore, that this latest, third-generation model has the sleek, understated looks we’ve come to expect from the model, paired with an interior that's not only the best in its class, but also one of the best on the market.
The TT has traditionally lagged behind rivals for outright driving pleasure, with a focus on comfort rather than sharp handling. This remains the case, as the BMW 4 Series and even the cheaper Toyota GT86 are better to drive. Neither of these cars, however, is as easy to live with as the Audi. The TT is supremely comfortable over long distances and also impressively cheap to run – particularly if you choose the super-efficient TDI Ultra model. This features a 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which manages 62.8mpg and incurs just £30 a year in road tax, yet is capable of 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds.
If you prioritise performance over efficiency, the 227bhp 2.0-litre TFSI model is a seriously quick car, both in a straight line and on twisty back roads. When fitted with Audi's quattro four-wheel-drive system, the 2.0-litre TFSI quattro is capable of going from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds, although fuel consumption and CO2 emissions aren’t as good if you choose this model. If you need even more performance, Audi also makes an even sportier version called the TTS, which uses the same 2.0-litre petrol engine, tuned to provide 306bhp.
Inside, the TT has an ambiance of understated cool: the circular air vents have temperature displays in the middle and the smooth, sleek dashboard is made from high-quality materials. The most distinguishing characteristic of the TT's interior, though, is the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ fitted to all models. This comprises a 12.3-inch screen that sits behind the steering wheel, replacing the traditional speedometer and rev counter.
The Virtual Cockpit can be customised to display things like the current music selection, or a map and directions from the (optional) sat nav, as well as the speedometer, rev counter and other gauges. It's a great success, as it simplifies the TT's dashboard, adds an even greater sense of class and further cements Audi's reputation for building beautiful interiors. The Virtual Cockpit has been so well received, in fact, that Audi is rolling it out across all future models – but it appeared in the TT first.
Practicality is never a sports car's strongest suit and while the TT is technically a four-seater, it's best to think of the rear seats as emergency transport for adults – although if you have small children they should be happy enough back there. Those seats do at least fold flat, so some concession to practicality has been made.
In terms of reliability, the latest TT is too new to have featured in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Audi's 12th place (out of 32 manufacturers) bodes well. A four star (out of five) safety rating from Euro NCAP initially appear to be below-par, but the TT was put through the latest and most rigorous testing regime, so it should be reassuringly safe.