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Archive for April, 2014

2015-audi-tt-00-1

When the first Audi TT debuted in 1998, the “TT” moniker (which actually stands for Tourist Trophy, a pre-Audi nod to the Isle of Man motorcycle race) was often referred to as “Technology and Tradition.” Rest assured, the technology “T” is brought to the fore with the amazing Audi Virtual Cockpit, but as for the other “T”, testosterone replaces tradition as a better description of the third generation vehicle to wear the TT badge at Audi of Tucson.

Looking head-on, the TT is wide and low, with masculine-looking intakes, the four-rings logo prominently affixed to the front of the hood, and optional Matrix-LED headlights that are tech wonders themselves. The adaptive LED system ties in to the Audi’s navigation system to automatically light up the approaching roadway on curves before the vehicle even begins to turn. The TT also scans for oncoming traffic and in full beam mode turns off those LED’s that could glare oncoming traffic. No more holding your hand on the light stalk and switching off the high-beams for approaching vehicles.

The rest of the body has the same basic shape as the previous generation, with the roofline flowing smoothly to the taillight assembly and deck. The rear hides a spoiler that automatically deploys at 75mph, and the twin exhaust pipes have been more centrally-placed and look more refined than in previous generations.

The outside may be handsome, masculine and stylish, but as any self-help guru will tell you, it’s what’s inside that counts. And in this case, it’s Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with an updated version of the MMI controller and virtual gauges that makes this 2015 Audi TT model stand out.

2015-audi-tt-cabin-previewed-at-ces_100451693_l     2015-audi-tt-interior-12

The first thing you notice is the lack of the ubiquitous central touchscreen on the dash. There’s none here. Zip. Zilch. Nothing but three circular HVAC vents, each with a tiny monochrome display at the center, surrounded by a scroll wheel for control. The left vent handles fan speed, the center, temperature, and the right vent controls distribution. And those controls, my friend, are the only thing the passenger can play with. Otherwise, it’s NFYPTT: As in Nothing For Your Passenger To Touch. This dash is about control, and it’s all in the driver’s hands and viewpoint.

Gone are the traditional physical gauges, replaced by a high-res digital instrument cluster which displays information on a 12.3-inch 1440×540 TFT display behind the steering wheel. Always displayed are vehicle speed and tach, as separate circular elements on opposite sides of the display. It’s in the middle that things get interesting. By touching the “view” button on the steering wheel, the central fuel monitor can be changed to display music lists, contacts from a Bluetooth-connected phone, or a mini satellite-view map pulled live from Google Earth.

But wait. There’s more. If you need a moment to take it all in, we understand. Pull yourself together and read on. The operating software is powered by two of the fastest automotive-grade Nvidia Tegra 3 processors available, allowing the driver to use voice commands that sound like a normal human would talk, instead of clunky fixed language that sounds like a bad 1950s robot movie. The MMI system has been redesigned, with a controller in the center of the tunnel console that is touch sensitive. You can sketch out letters on top of the knob for handwriting recognition, as well as pinch-pull functions for map zooming and finger scrolling, just like the surface of a touchscreen smartphone.

In addition to the electronic-wizardry, the interior has an exclusive design selection which combines two fine leather colors: dark murillo brown on the seats and shimmering stone-grey pearl on the armrests, knee supports and cowl. Contrasting stitching, dark aluminum, matching paint for extended interior elements and special woven floor mats pimp out this elegant upholstery and trim package. Pricing on the butler to clean the car hasn’t been announced yet.

And under the hood? The TT will be available with a 230hp or 310hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic, front- or all-wheel-drive. Optional on the TT is Audi’s magnetic suspension, which allows the driver to select from a variety of modes to suit road conditions or mood. Safety equipment includes optional Audi side assist, which uses rear-mounted radar sensors to help drivers change lane more safely; camera-based traffic sign recognition; Audi active lane assist, which helps the driver if required by steadily correcting steering or warning him or her if there is a danger of unintentionally drifting out of lane, and the park assist system with display of surroundings, which independently guides the car into suitable spaces.

Audi has not officially revealed a release date for the 2015 TT: it will probably arrive at Audi of Tucson in January of 2015. Be sure to visit www.tucsonaudi.com for arrival updates and pricing.