Posted: 12 Oct 2011 10:54 AM PDT
'COUPE D'JOUR THRILLS'
The unique looks, excellent power and performance plus an interior boasting sporty cues and upscale amenities make the 2011 Audi TT 2.0 TFTI Quattro S-Tronic coupe so appealing. The unique styling always turns heads, you can dial in your performance with the S-Tronic system, and the interior will satisfy any upscale sports coupe enthusiast.
The Audi TT just gets better every year as Audi keeps on refining the car and adding more contemporary high-tech features. For 2011 the exterior styling has been refined with a redesigned, bolder fascia including the Audi Signature single-frame grille, a more aggressive front bumper fitted with high-gloss black lattice and a larger lower intake that increases airflow to the engine. The standard foglamps are now mounted in a set of chrome rings, and HID headlamps are standard as is the new 12-LED daytime running lamps.
From the side you get a sense of poise and speed with the uniquely formed fender arches stuffed with 18X9 inch alloy wheels wrapped with meaty 245/40R18 inch high-performance all-season radial tires providing a powerful posture. The long, arching roofline epitomizes the classic profile of the TT, while short front and rear overhangs lend a sporting, well balanced stance. Don't forget the aluminum fuel filler door on the passenger side that is another Audi TT signature sporty.
At the rear the classic coupe design is seen with the roofline blending seamlessly into the rear deck, giving the TT an athletic appearance. Integrated LED taillights follow the subtle bodyline. A flat diffuser sits between two, new round chrome exhaust tips while an electronically controlled spoiler deploys at 75mph, or you can manually deploy the spoiler by simply pushing a dash-mounted button.
Open the door and you'll see a driver-oriented cockpit with large, easy-to-read gauges, a tri-spoke, tilt/telescoping flat bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel that feels perfect in your hands, and aluminum pedals that give a racecar look. The 10-way power-adjustable, leather trimmed with Alcantara inserts front bucket seats are comfortable and very supportive for long, short or spirited driving. You will also notice more interior optic accents on the steering wheel, center console, center stack dials, door trim and air-vent chrome rings and frames around the center stack and center console. That console holds dual cupholders and a dual-tiered storage box with padded armrest. All switches, dials and buttons are within easy reach and illuminated for safe nighttime travel. The new Driver Information System relays important details like gear selected, fuel consumption, trip meter, infotainment, navigation and Bluetooth. Despite the TT's sport coupe dimensions, the rear seats fold flat to expand the trunk from 10.3cu.ft. to 24.7cu.ft.
Backing up the unique styling of the new TT is Audi's reliable 2.0 liter turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine with a cast iron block, aluminum head, Audi Valvelift technology and two balance shafts. This DOHC, TFSI direct injection engine generates a healthy 211hp at 4,300-6,000rpm and 258lb.ft. of torque at just 1,600-4,200rpm. Mated to the S-Tronic dual clutch Quattro transmission that makes gear changes in as little as 0.2 seconds, the new 2011 Audi TT 2.0 Quattro blasts out to 60mph from a standstill in just 5.3 seconds.
The TT's unique fully independent suspension offers excellent stability at high speeds and pin-point accuracy when cornering. Up front are MacPherson gas-charged struts with 3-position lower control arms, an aluminum subframe for added rigidity and less NVH, a tubular anti-roll bar and track stabilizing steering roll radius. The rear setup includes four-links, a separate coil spring/shock absorber arrangement, a steel subframe to add further rigidity and less NVH, and a tubular anti-roll bar. My test Audi TT came with Audi's Magnetic Ride Control System that lowered the chassis 10mm and with a push of the dash-mounted button turned on the continuously adaptive suspension damping system that is capable of varying the suspension damping automatically and continuously in response to my driving situation and speed. You can select Normal/Sport that adjusts the steering boost and exhaust note enhancement. The Quattro All-Wheel Drive system features Hypoid gear electronically locking front differential, a Haldex electronically controlled multi-plate coupling center differential and a Hypoid gear rear differential all working to get the most torque to the wheel or wheels that needs it most.
Audi's Servotronic electromechanical power-assisted rack & pinion steering system works perfectly with the suspension giving me super-fast reaction to my steering wheel inputs, just like a racecar. Just a little tug on the wheel moved the front of the TT where I wanted it to go.
Quickly slowing the new Audi TT down from speed are large, 4-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.3 inch vented discs clamped with big, dual-piston calipers, and the rear features 11.3 inch solid discs clamped with large, single-piston calipers. Keeping you in control of the TT during severe braking maneuvers is standard ABS, Traction Control, and Audi's Electronic Stability Program.
Standard equipment not mentioned above includes automatic climate system, Concert Radio with in-dash CD, 9-speakers and 140-watts of power, auxiliary input jack, electronic cruise-control, rain-sensing wipers, SIRIUS satellite radio, power express windows/door locks, Homelink, automatic HID headlamps, remote release for the trunk, dual map lamps, and front/rear floor mats.
Standard safety features include dual threshold airbags up front, driver/front passenger seat-mounted head-thorax airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, rigid body shell with special energy-absorbing zones, side intrusion bars, anti-theft vehicle alarm system, 3-point safety belts for all four seats, and the LATCH system for child seats.
The Audi TT remains one of the most uniquely styled, performance-bred sport coupes on the market. The base price is $36,300 for the 2.0 liter version and my tester was stickered at $44,040.00 including destination and came with the optional Oolong Gray metallic paint, Audi Navigation system, Audi Magnetic Ride with S-button program, and heated front seats.
Posted: 12 Oct 2011 09:00 AM PDT
There are few who’d deny that Jeremy Clarkson has the best job in the world. As the star of BBC’s Top Gear (and, really, the genius behind its success), Clarkson gets paid to drive the best cars in the world and tell people about it. Unlike a professional driver, Clarkson doesn’t have to worry about lap times or keeping sponsors happy; instead, Clarkson regularly pisses off companies, special interest groups and, occasionally, entire countries. If you’re a fan of Top Gear, or a fan of Jezza himself, you’ll want to add his latest DVD, “Powered Up,” to your holiday wish list.
There doesn’t appear to be much different than the standard Top Gear format, but why mess with success? It looks like Clarkson gets seat time in a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder Performante, a McLaren MP4-12C, a Nissan GT-R, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS and something called the “Brutus,” which is a 1908 race car chassis stuffed with a 46-liter V-12 BMW engine, liberated from an airplane. Clarkson describes it as “the stuff of nightmares,” and “the tenth circle of hell,” but to me it looks like great fun.
You can get a better feel for “Powered Up” in the You Tube video below. Like “Heaven and Hell,” an earlier Clarkson DVD, there won’t be much of socially redeeming value on the disc, but no one watches Top Gear to boost their intelligence. Instead, it’s the mental equivalent of comfort food for gear heads, so go ahead and order up the meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and shoepeg corn on DVD. It’ll hit stores this November.
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