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Hot TT lifts winter blues 

JANUARY in Scotland isn’t usually the best time to sample a sports car but on this occasion it proved to be a massively enjoyable one.

I mentioned in the previous News issue that I spent New Year on the South of the island and enjoyed temperatures of around 60 degrees and sunshine, even with some strong wind at times.

Well it was back to winter reality for me with daytime temperatures of around 5 and 6 degrees when I got home and dropping to zero on the morning I sat down to write this review.

Driving conditions have been what we expect at this time with a fair share of ice, rain, sleet and snow.

Sounds ideal for a big 4×4 but my test car was a sporting Audi TT Coupe – a newly-arrived third-generation model.

And the big plus was that it was an all-wheel drive – a top-of-the-range 2.0 TFSI quattro S line S tronic.

The TT has been a hugely popular model in the UK since it was launched in 1998, with its stunning looks and performance.

Exterior changes are minimal with the Audi Space Frame steel and lightweight aluminium construction carried over from its predecessor and further evolved so it’s 50kg lighter, tipping the scales at just 1,230kg to enhance performance and economy.

My test car stood out from the crowd though with Audi’s new Tango red colour.

And you’ll be blown away by the TT’s interior – Audi’s first all-digital virtual cockpit.

Described as an automotive supercomputer, it is based around a 12.3-inch, high resolution LCD display that completely fills the driver’s instrument binnacle and replaces the traditional analogue dials.

It features brilliantly sharp images and drivers can choose between two display modes – a classic view with the speedometer and rev counter in the foreground – or “infotainment” – where the virtual instruments are smaller.

The space that becomes free as a result provides ample room for other functions, such as the navigation map and, at the lower edge, displays outside temperature, time, mileage, warning or information symbols.

Sport models also include the Multi Media Interface with an MMI touch pad for fingertip data entry, navigation preparation, Audi Music Interface and Bluetooth connectivity.

The test car also had the £1,795 Technology Package, which includes hard disk-based navigation mapping that can completely fill the 12.3-inch TFT monitor, and beams the Internet to the car.

This brings features such as Google Maps, Google Street View, traffic information, price-graded refuelling locations, the latest news, flight and train information.

It also adds Audi music stream and access to social media services such as Facebook and Twitter.

There’s no shortage of quality in the cabin and there’s plenty of space up front with the leather sports seats extremely comfortable and not too hugging.

Like previous TTs, the two back seats would only be suitable for very small children, and are more likely to be folded down to increase the 305 litres boot space to 712 litres.

There is a choice of two specs – Sport and S line – with two engines available, 2.0 TFSI 227bhp petrol and a 2.0-litre 181bhp diesel that is capable of achieving 67.3mpg with CO2 emissions of just 110g/km yet can accelerate to 62mph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 150mph.

My petrol-engined test model was a good bit quicker – and felt it.

Push the start button, slide the auto lever to drive, put your foot down on the accelerator pedal and it hurls you out of the starting block to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds.

You can bring the power smoothly though a super six-speed S tronic auto transmission and when quick acceleration is needed it comes instantly from a turbo engine capable of 155mph.

There’s a nice rasp from the twin exhausts – especially when you use the steering wheel paddles in manual mode and push up the revs.

Audi’s drive select allows you to choose different driving modes – auto, dynamic, efficiency and comfort.

With sharp, responsive steering, the TT didn’t disappoint when cornering at speed as the quattro system brought super agility and the required all-weather grip.

TT lovers will adore the performance they get from this model and for those looking for even more pace there’s a 2-litre petrol 306bhp TTS model arriving in the UK in March.

On-the-road prices start at £29,700 with the test car costing £35,335, excluding options.

Audi has upped the sports car driving enjoyment in this latest TT that, with its looks and amazing new virtual cockpit, can easily continue its success story.