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by Tim Beissmann

Audi TT 1.8 TFSI vs Peugeot RCZ

Model Overview

  • Audi TT 1.8 TFSI six-speed manual – $64,500
  • Peugeot RCZ 1.6 six-speed manual – $54,990
  • Peugeot RCZ 1.6 six-speed automatic – $54,990
  • Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi six-speed manual – $54,990

Different cars are designed for different purposes. Some are designed to go fast. Others are designed to be fuel efficient.  Some are designed to be ultra-practical and haul around a five kids and a dog. And then there’s a few that are designed to look drop dead gorgeous.

Among the best examples of these enormously pretty cars available in Australia today are the long-running Audi TT and the recently launched Peugeot RCZ. If you’ve got $65,000 to spend, it’s fair to say they’re in a class of their own when it comes to stylish European 2+2 coupes.

After a 2011 model year price hike of $1900, the entry-level Audi TT 1.8 TFSI only just squeezes into that price bracket. The Peugeot, on the other hand, is almost $10,000 cheaper, available as a manual, automatic or diesel, and all for the same price.

Given the difference between the two, if you’re prepared to spend $65,000 then you’ll be looking to option up the Peugeot. The most you can do to it is add the Sportif Pack ($3500), Monaco Pack ($2700), full leather ($1500) and premium metallic paint ($1300), which brings the total price to $63,990 and levels the playing field. Alternatively, until April, you can order the RCZ 200th Anniversary Special Edition for $61,990 (options and packages detailed below).

 

Engine and performance

Audi TT Peugeot RCZ 1.6 manual Peugeot RCZ 1.6 automatic Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi
Engine 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel
Maximum power 118kW @ 4500rpm 147kW @ 5500rpm 115kW @ 5800rpm 120kW @ 4000rpm
Maximum torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm 275Nm @ 1700rpm 240Nm @ 1400rpm 340Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual Six-speed manual Six-speed automatic Six-speed manual
Drive Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive
Acceleration 0-100km/h 7.2 seconds 7.5 seconds 8.4 seconds 8.2 seconds

Read CarAdvice’s full drive review of the Audi TT.

Read CarAdvice’s full drive review of the Peugeot RCZ.

Despite being larger than the Peugeot’s petrol engine, the 1.8-litre unit in the Audi is 29kW/25Nm less powerful than the RCZ 1.6 manual. Despite this, the TT is three-tenths quicker from 0-100km/h. The TT’s engine is the same one found in the mid-spec A3 and the entry-level A4 – both vehicles being $15,000 to $20,000 cheaper than the TT. This somehow makes it feel a little less special. Conversely, the 147kW unit in the RCZ is the most powerful engine offered by Peugeot in Australia and is unique to the coupe, giving owners bragging rights and a deeper sense of individuality and satisfaction.

In terms of power, the RCZ 1.6 automatic is a closer match for the Audi. But the TT puts it down on the road much more effectively than the Austrian-built Peugeot, blitzing it in the sprint by more than a second.

For those wondering about the 32kW/35Nm difference between the automatic and manual Peugeots, it’s largely got to do with the technology applied around the cylinder heads. The 147kW engine is a more sophisticated unit. It features variable valve timing on both inlet and exhaust valves, and utilises BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve lift to control the flow of air into the cylinders. Peugeot reportedly wanted to offer the higher-output engine with an automatic transmission but could not source one suitable for the task. Hence, the RCZ has to make do with the 115kW version that it shares with a number of other less expensive models (207 CC, 308, 3008).

The RCZ 2.0 HDi is certainly the tourqiest of the bunch, and also offers more power than the petrol TT. It can’t match the Audi for pace but comes into its own in the efficiency comparisons below.

 

Fuel consumption and emissions

Audi TT Peugeot RCZ 1.6 manual Peugeot RCZ 1.6 automatic Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi
Fuel tank capacity 55 litres 55 litres 55 litres 55 litres
Fuel type Premium unleaded Premium unleaded Premium unleaded Diesel
Theoretical range (based on combined cycle fuel consumption) 821km 797km 753km 1038km
Combined cycle fuel consumption 6.7 litres/100km 6.9 litres/100km 7.3 litres/100km 5.3 litres/100km
Urban fuel consumption 9.0 litres/100km 9.1 litres/100km 10.3 litres/100km 6.8 litres/100km
Extra urban fuel consumption 5.3 litres/100km 5.6 litres/100km 5.5 litres/100km 4.5 litres/100km
Carbon dioxide emissions 155g/km 159g/km 168g/km 139g/km

Not surprisingly, the diesel is in a class of its own here, and is clearly the best option for those looking to save fuel and lower their emissions. The TT 2.0 TDI quattro returns the same combined cycle fuel consumption, but comes with a price tag of $69,350 – almost $15,000 more than the Peugeot HDi.

Compare the petrol variants, however, and it is the Audi that comes out on top of both the automatic and manual Peugeots. Very little separates the two manuals, with the TT’s larger but less powerful powerplant just taking the environmental points over the RCZ. The automatic Peugeot – despite being significantly less powerful than the manual – is the worst of the bunch, and especially thirsty in the city.

Another reason to steer clear of the automatic is the Luxury Car Tax. Pricing for the RCZ 1.6 automatic will need to be recalculated to include LCT if the vehicle’s Manufacturer’s List Price, when fitted with options, is greater than $57,466. That means you can spend no more than $2476 on options if you wish to avoid LCT. Fully optioned to the $63,990 price point, an LCT of $1947 will apply, increasing the vehicle price to $65,947. The other three models have fuel economy data below the 7.0 litres/100km threshold and are therefore exempt from the LCT.

 

Exterior and dimensions

Audi TT Peugeot RCZ
Length 4178mm 4287mm
Width 1842mm 1845mm
Height 1352mm 1362mm
Weight 1240kg 1267kg petrol/1337km diesel
Luggage capacity 290 litres 384 litres
Luggage capacity (expanded) 700 litres 760 litres

The Audi TT has been an icon since the first generation model entered production in 1998. Regardless of whether you have ‘hairdresser’ preconceptions about it, the TT – with its sharp headlights, flared wheel arches and classic coupe profile – is one of the sexiest cars available for under $100,000.

Meanwhile, most car enthusiasts need look no further than the Peugeot’s double bubble glass roof to induce a crisis, and many will buy it for that one feature alone. The whole design has an almost caricature-esque quality to it, highlighted by the exaggerated wheel arches, two-tier window line and silver roof pillars – not to mention that smile, which is one of the biggest in the business.

From the outside, the TT and the RCZ are almost identical in size, although the Peugeot is larger in every dimension (109mm longer, 3mm wider, 10mm taller and 27kg/97kg heavier). The trend continues to the boot, although here the Peugeot’s size difference is far more impressive. The RCZ can hold an extra 94 litres with the rear seats up – a capacity that is four litres more than a Ford Focus hatch – a remarkable achievement for a vehicle of its proportions. (The trade-off is the lack of a spare wheel – full-size or space-saver – with both the Audi and the Peugeot both featuring only a puncture repair kit.)

If we take the TT in its standard form and the fully optioned RCZ mentioned above – narrowing the price difference to just $510 – the RCZ’s exterior is considerably better dressed.

Standard features include twin chrome exhaust extensions, active rear spoiler with manual override and automatic door mirrors that tilt down when reversing and fold in when the car is switched off. The headlights are automatic, as are the front rain-sensing wipers. The taillights are LEDs, and fog lights and parking sensors are fitted at the front and rear.

The $3000 Sportif pack includes 19-inch alloy wheels, as well as brake calipers, carbon roof, door mirrors and front grille all finished in Brilliant Black paint.

Those opting for the 200th Anniversary Special Edition model get similar feautres to the Sportif pack, with a couple of nice extras: 19-inch alloys; black calipers, roof and grille; carbon fibre mirror shells; as well as a three-piece carbon effect luggage set; and 200th Anniversary badging, certificate and umbrella.

The $2700 Monaco pack includes directional bi-xenon headlights with auto height adjustment and headlight washers. The fully optioned RCZ also features $1300 premium metallic paint, which comes only in Pearl White.

The entry-level Audi TT is fitted standard with 17-inch alloys (optioning 19-inchers to match the Peugeot costs $4500), aluminium fuel cap, automatic rear spoiler, side mirror-mounted LED indicators, front and rear fog lights and a third LED brake light. Metallic paint, including pearl effect paints, is a $1377 option across the TT range.

Put simply, the fully optioned Peugeot gives you plenty for the price and will be significantly better equipped than a stock-standard Audi TT. But for those after a more bespoke coupe, Audi’s extra features list is significantly longer. Given the funds, you can spend close to $15,000 adding to the TT’s exterior, with options including the S line Sport Package Plus ($5950), Audi Magnetic Ride ($3178), Adaptive Xenon Plus headlights ($2648), parking sensors ($900), and more.

 

Interior and equipment

 

The TT’s interior is the sleeker of the two and looks like as bespoke as a Saville Row suit. As it should. The RCZ, on the other hand, appears a little bland, especially compared with the exterior. Those familiar with the Peugeot brand will feel a strong sense of la familia, with the overwhelming feeling ‘spare parts bin’ rather than ‘bespoke special’.

Looks aside, even without the extra features from the options list, the Peugeot RCZ interior is better equipped than the Audi. Both vehicles have cruise control, leather trim, leather-wrapped steering wheels, single CD/MP3 players and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

The RCZ goes the extra mile on a couple of other features. The Audi has automatic air-conditioning; the Peugeot has a dual-zone system with a pollen filter, charcoal odour filter and cooled glovebox. The Audi has an AUX connection; the Peugeot gets a USB port (although the Peugeot’s audio controls are on the steering column rather than on the wheel itself).

The Peugeot also has aluminium door kick plates and drilled pedals, heated front seats with memory settings and a folding rear bench. Fully optioned it adds premium leather trim ($1500) and a JBL premium sound system (part of the Monaco pack) but is not currently available with satellite navigation (a $4449 option in the TT – at roughly 20 times the price of a Tom Tom).

The Audi’s interior has some nice aluminium highlights, sports seats with electric lumbar support and a more versatile split-fold rear seat set up.

Safety

 

ANCAP and Euro NCAP have not tested either car, therefore neither has been awarded an official star rating.

Both include four airbags (driver and passenger front and side), electronic stability program (ESP), ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA). All models, except the automatic RCZ, also include traction control.

In addition, the Audi features an electronic differential lock, electro-mechanical speed-sensitive power steering, and Audi Backguard, where, in the event of an accident, the seats are designed to hold the upper body in place and support the head.

Standard safety equipment in the Peugeot includes Hill Assist ($265 option on the TT), automatic hazard light activation under emergency braking, automatic door unlocking in an accident and an active bonnet for enhanced pedestrian safety.

Warranty and servicing

Audi TT Peugeot RCZ
Vehicle warranty Three-year/Unlimited km Three-year/100,000km
Service intervals 12 months/15,000km 12 months/20,000km

Conclusion

The 2011 Audi TT 1.8 TFSI is the car for you if:

  • You really do have just $65,000 and don’t mind that you’re getting a base model with no extra features
  • You want better performance than any other Peugeot
  • You want the most frugal and efficient petrol engine in the segment
  • You want an interior that feels unique and truly suits the car
  • You’re happy to trade a few creature comforts for a slightly better safety specification
  • You’re happy to splash some cash on tasty (if costly) extras – and you want plenty to choose from

The 2011 Peugeot RCZ is the car for you if:

  • You want the best value European 2+2 on the market
  • You want to choose between drivetrains and not be charged extra
  • You need more ‘boot’ space to stow luggage and equipment
  • You want to tick every possible options box and still take home change from $65,000
  • You don’t mind that Audi TT drivers will win any drag race
  • You watched too many episodes of Batman as a kid, and your life will consequentially be incomplete until you sit beneath that double bubble roof

Note: Audi TT 2.0 TFSI quattro/2.0 TDI quattro pictured.

 

 

 

 




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