Audi says the new TT – set to launch in the coming months and a chance to land in Australia before the end of 2014 – will be the first model to take the brand’s ‘virtual cockpit’ layout from concept to production.
Most striking is the absence of a central screen, which Audi says is replaced entirely by the new TT’s fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster. The high-resolution TFT monitor allows drivers to switch between two display modes: ‘classic’ mode, with the speedometer and tachometer in the foreground; and ‘infotainment’ mode, with the virtual instruments downsized and sent to the sides to create space for other functions, such as the navigation map.
Audi says doing away with the central monitor gave its designers the freedom to slim down the dashboard and instrument panel architecture, visually emphasising the car maker’s lightweight construction principle.
The dash panel resembles an airplane wing, and fittingly the TT’s signature circular air vents have a turbine look reminiscent of jet engines. Digital climate controls are housed in the vents, while the adjustment functions for temperature, direction and strength of air flow, and for seat heating, are located in their axes.
The Audi TT’s flat-bottomed steering wheel features buttons and controls on its spokes allowing operation of almost all functions, including the infotainment system.
Audi claims to have “exhaustively redeveloped” the centre console’s rotary ‘MMI touch’ dial, enhancing the scope of its functionality and simplifying its operation.
Positioned above the MMI touch dial is a six-speed manual gear lever – always anticipated, though still no doubt a comforting sight for enthusiasts alarmed by the industry’s hastening shift away from manuals to exclusively self-shifting transmissions.
Also visible in the lead image is the new Audi TT’s S sport seats with diamond-pattern stitched leather upholstery. Audi says the seats’ side bolsters can be adjusted pneumatically.
Sharing its new ‘MQB’ platform with the A3 and Volkswagen Golf, the third-generation TT will be lighter and stiffer than the outgoing model and ride on a longer wheelbase.
Apart from aiding performance and handling, reduced weight also promises improved fuel economy from what will be an entirely turbocharged engine line-up, again comprising petrol and diesel powerplants.