A decision on how to best expand the Audi TT range beyond the current series-production coupe and convertible offerings is due within just a few weeks, according to Audi AG board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg.
The company tonight revealed a new TT-based concept car called the TT Sportback featuring a hi-po version of the Audi S3’s 2.0-litre TFSI engine pumping out 294kW/450Nm — and intriguingly there’s not an electric motor or battery pack in site.
It is the third member in a series of TT-inspired show cars following the Shooting Brake from last January’s Detroit motor show and the TT Offroad Concept from April’s Beijing show. It features a similar hatch-style tailgate to the A5 and A7 Sportback niche models.
The reveal of the slinky four-door fastback surprised few — a rendering leaked online last week — but the concept is a definite sign of things to come from the Volkswagen Group’s major profit centre.
The TT Sportback concept appears to be an attempt from the Ingolstadt marque to inject its passenger range, currently defined by handsome conservatism, with a little of the regular TT versions’ stylistic panache.
As such, it was the star of the Audi stand at tonight’s mammoth Volkswagen Group Night in France, held yearly the night before the alternating Paris and Frankfurt motor shows.
Billed as a “speedy sports car with four seats and five doors”, the TT Sportback seems cut from a similar cloth to the Mercedes-Benz CLA.
The commonalities do not stop at configuration: like the CLA, which is based on a common Modular Front Architecture (MFA) with the A-Class, B-Class and GLA, the TT Sportback like its two-door siblings uses the same MQB ‘toolkit’ as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf.
Getting such a car into production is thereby a simpler process than it may have otherwise been, with a new ‘top hat’ body and some minor tooling all that would be required to get existing factory lines up and running with new body-styles.
Dr Hackenberg was there to present to TT Sportback concept, and we nabbed him for a minute to ask when we might being seeing production versions of the new TT family members. Interestingly, he said there was scope to fill ever more model niches beyond Audi’s already huge range.
“What we are doing is that we are looking to enter segments. We have the big segments, the A, B, C, D, we have the SUVs, but in between the segments I think there’s some space for specific cars… for example like the car we presented today, a four-door sports car…” he said.
“We have been looking at the reaction of the customers, also the media, and also its very positive. So we have good arguments now to make a decision, which car is best to bring it to production. Within the next weeks we will make a decision where we are doing, this or that direction.
“We will not be able to bring all those car into production (though), so we will make a choice which one is the right one. All those cars are based on MQB, and so it’s able to include those cars in our factories. It will be possible to do that without big stress, so we have to make some investigations into tools and development, but not the plant.”
Unlike the Shooting Brake and Offroad concepts that used plug-in hybrid technology, the TT Sportback concept has a more affordable and feasible 2.0-litre TFSI engine with 294kW/450Nm — representing a massive 147kW per litre of displacement — that consumes 7.0L/100km.
This unit is a tuned-up member of the familiar EA888 engine family that also power the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf GTI, among others. Matched to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto and quattro all-wheel-drive, the TT Sportback is said to sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds.
The TT Sportback is 4470mm long, 1890mm wide and 1380mm tall, making it 290mm longer and 60mm wider than a TT coupe. It’s stretched wheelbase is also 120mm longer, though the body is 30mm lower than the two-door.
Under the body sits a MacPherson front suspension system and a four-link rear, with the dampers linked with 21-inch wheels on 255/30 profile tyres. According to Audi, the suspension and the low centre of gravity lend dynamic handling, and the body integrates lots of aluminium.
Inside the cabin is the now-familiar Audi virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch screen replacing the conventional instruments and MMI monitor. The screen provides top-quality graphics and enables the driver to choose between multiple display levels.
In the MMI terminal, the rotary push-button features a touchpad that is used to enter characters and gestures as with a smartphone. The operation of the climate control is relocated to the air vents.