On the second day with the Audi TT, we had an argument about a balloon. With my mother holding it, in the passenger seat, I couldn’t see out of the wing mirror. With either of the miniatures in the back holding it, I couldn’t see out of the rear-view. So I put it in the boot, with the boy shouting, “If you burst that, I will kill you,” and me thinking first, “That is a very real possibility, this boot is more like a magazine rack,” and, second, “Who raised this appalling, rude child?”
The Audi TT is not a car for a person with children, a mother, or a balloon. A couple of years ago, a survey found the Audi driver most likely to have an affair; I can only conclude the lovers were very small, with tiny legs.
Yet in the car on your own, the back seat holding your handmade luggage (of my imagination), what a drive: the way it clings to the road; the subtle purring; the effortlessness of everything. There are few things more groundlessly rewarding than unleashing it up a steep hill. On the way up, you feel like a fell runner, lean and superhuman; on the way down, like a hang-glider, unbounded by boring friction. I had the manual version; I guess the upside of the automatic is that you can concentrate on your affair.
Fuel consumption, at 57mpg (urban), is far better than any car in which I have felt as cool; carbon emissions could be lower, but at 110g/km are practically eco. But I think its real purpose is the message: I am an unencumbered person, going faraway places, fast.
Driving position is delightful, low, and invites a slight recline, as if to experience more fully the exhilaration of takeoff. The dash has all the important information lodged in the driver’s binnacle, so you can see with perfect, colour-screen clarity where you’re going, without having to turn your head. You can toggle between screens from a variety of different controls. I got stuck on the satnav screen for a long time: it turned out the speedo was there, too; I just wasn’t looking in the right place.
On the matter of spending 30 grand on a car? This either puts it outside any definition of normal for you, or you’re someone who actually cares whether that makes it a bona fide sports car or just an upmarket hothatch. If you want the driving experience but don’t want to look ostentatious, it’s not the car for you. But if the ostentation is part of the point, I can’t pretend you won’t enjoy it.
Audi TT: in numbers
Price From £29,860 (as tested £34,385)
Top speed 149mph
Acceleration 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 64.2mpg
CO2 emissions 110g/km
Eco rating 8/10
Cool rating 8/10