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by Jack Rix

The next-generation Audi TT will be fast, trim and looking for a fight. Set to be lighter and more agile with more aggressive styling, the new Audi TT has its sights set on Stuttgart and the Porsche Boxster.

Audi TT engineers are keen to reduce the gap to the handling-benchmark Boxster without messing with Audi’s successful recipe of sleek looks, supreme build quality, luxury and practicality.

At the heart of this plan is weight, and getting rid of as much as possible will improve vehicle dynamics, performance and fuel economy. Audi has made this possible by employing the VW Group’s new MQB modular platform – the same base used for the upcoming new Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf Mark VII.

The technical side is high-strength, hot-formed steel and thinner-section members but what it means is a lighter, stiffer chassis. The lighter chassis combined with a mostly aluminium body shell should see kerb weight reduced by more than 60kg (the current 1.8-litre TFSI TT Coupe weighs 1240kg).

The new platform will also give the third-generation TT a longer wheelbase with a reduced front overhang by having the front wheels ahead of the motor – the goal being improved weight distribution and superior ride and handling.

The earlier generation’s classic teardrop outline is likely to be kept but the new-look TT will be sharpened up and look far more aggressive. Styling has shifted away slightly from the current car’s clean design influenced by both 2010 Audi concept cars the e-Tron (pictured above and below) and e-Tron Spyder.

Up front narrower headlights join a hexagonal grille while the futuristic rear end is garnished with LED taillights that highlight the TT’s width and brawny arches.

Expect Audi’s typical high-quality interiors to continue with leather and aluminium abound and a dashboard with an eight-inch touchscreen taking centre stage.

While Audi’s 118kW 1.8-litre and 147kW 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engines will continue to be the mainstay, albeit with an expected squeezed to produce 132kW to 160kW, sources say there is a definite possibility of Audi’s cylinder-deactivation technology being employed.

A more efficient reworked 2.0-litre TDI turbo diesel will also be available with power increased above the current 125kW while lifting fuel economy to 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres from 5.3L/100km.

Insiders suggest the TT-S will receive a newly developed 2.0-litre turbo putting out 202kW of power and 380Nm of torque – up 2kW and 30Nm. Leaving the range-topping TT-RS that will keep the same 250kW 2.5-litre TFSI turbocharged five-cylinder but with the wick turned up to 275kW.

Roadster and Coupe variants will once again be offered with Audi bucking recent trends and sticking with a drop-top made of lightweight fabric.

We should get a look at the new Audi TT at some stage next year before it goes on sale in 2014.