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New Audi TT Sports Car Boasts Digital Cockpit, Lighter Weight

“The TT will kick off an Audi campaign to make its model range the youngest of the German luxury car makers”

New Audi TT Sports Car

GLASGOW, Scotland – Audi’s new TT compact sports car will arrive in the U.S. next summer, and will boast new high technology equipment like the digital virtual-cockpit and a new lightweight steel and aluminum body.

The original retro-styled TT was launched in 1998, renewed in 2006, and relaunched here in Scotland. The new one closely follows the looks of the previous model.

According to market researcher IHS Automotive, peak annual global sales of this coupe, and an upcoming roadster, will be markedly lower at just under 40,000 in 2016, compared with the previous version’s 51,480 in 2007 and the Mark 1’s 53,363 in 2000. Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, may make more profit on each car sold though because it is built on the engineering components used by the VW Golf and Audi A3.

Sales in the U.S. are likely to peak at just over 5,700 in 2016, compared with 12,523 for the Mark 1 model in 2001 and 4,468 for the Mark 2 in 2008, IHS Auto said.

Audi of America said prices of the TT haven’t been decided yet, nor have decisions been taken about which power-trains will be available.

At launch in Britain, starting in January, the TT is equipped with either a 2.0 litre, four-cylinder 227 hp gasoline motor, or a 2.0 litre four-cylinder 182 hp diesel. Prices start at the equivalent of about $47,000, after tax. Expect hotter, more expensive versions, and maybe a plug-in hybrid one day.

The TT will compete with the Mercedes SLK and the BMW Z4. Top end versions will come up against the Porsche Boxster and Cayman.

The TT will kick off an Audi campaign to make its model range the youngest of the German luxury car makers. After the TT next year come new versions of the R8 supercar, the mid-size A4 sedan, A5 coupe, and the big Q7 SUV. A Q8, with three rows of seats, is expected in 2017. In 2016 the flagship A8 will be renewed and will be followed by a new small SUV, the Q1, and a new Q5.

Audi lags in U.S.
According to Citi Research, by late 2017 the Audi range will be an average 1.3 years old, compared with BMW’s 2.7 years.

In the U.S., Audi lags BMW and Mercedes sales by around 50 per cent, but with these new models it hopes to close the gap. It will start making the new Q5 in a new factory in Mexico in 2016. More models are likely to be made there too. The little A3 sedan is now on sale in the U.S.

The TT’s digital virtual cockpit is based on a 12.3 inch LCD display which fills the driver’s instrument binnacle, and replaces traditional analogue dials. Drivers can choose between two display modes; “classic”, in which the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground, or “infotainment”, when the speed and rev counter are smaller, and things like the sat-nav take prominence. Warning and information symbols including current speed limit, outside temperature, time and mileage are permanently visible.

Another first for Audi, some might say gimmick, is the incorporation of the air conditioning controls into the vents themselves. Of more interest to the enthusiastic driver, sports suspension, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and speed-dependent active rear spoiler are standard, at least in Europe. Front-wheel drive is standard. Four-wheel drive is an option.

The new TT boasts an improved aluminum and steel construction body which is about 110 lbs lighter than the predecessor. It is a shade longer and is the same height. The 228 hp engine propels the manual gearbox, front-wheel drive car from rest to 60 mph in just under six seconds. The four-wheel drive version with a six-speed automatic gearbox is even quicker to 60 mph. This will produce fuel economy of 36.7 miles per U.S. gallon, according to Audi. In Europe, the top-speed is limited to 150 mph, still possible legally on some German roads.

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