Audi: 2015 TT Coupe S Line review

March 12th, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

When I did judo as a kid we were taught techniques after being thrown that would make it difficult for your opponent to turn you onto your back to avoid osaekomi waza, or pinning techniques. You made yourself low and wide to hug the mat, and adjusted your bodyweight to stay flat. This is what the Audi TT feels like to drive. It feels as if you wouldn’t be able to turn it over to expose the soft underbelly. Around the corners its grappling technique with the tarmac is black belt, sports car quality. Continue reading “Audi: 2015 TT Coupe S Line review” »

Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Many men spend time wondering what exactly is the best car to own if you want to impress the ladies. A Kermit green Series 2 Mazda RX-7 may have done the trick twenty five years ago, but in 2011 women are more impressed by style, economy and practicality. So if you want to win some points pick up your date in a BMW 5-Series or a Citroen DS3.

Because us men were never going to uncover these important results ourselves a crack team of woman motoring writers from around the globe recently held the annual Women’s World Car of the Year for 2011. The voting finished so close that the supreme award produced a dead heat between the BMW 5 Series and the Citroen DS3. So gents, if you’re on a budget go for French style in the DS3, if your cashed-up, then spring for the current 5-Series BMW and don’t cheapen out of the leather trim.

Category winners and runners up in the competition included:

Family Car Winner  – Volvo S60
Runner up – Kia Sportage

Sports Car Winner – Aston Martin Rapide
Runner up – Audi TT

Luxury Car Winner – BMW 5 Series
Runner up – Jaguar XJ

Economical Car Winner – Citroen DS3
Runner up – Mini One Diesel Continue reading “Chicks dig BMW 5-Series and Citroen DS3 – it’s official” »

Pogea Racing tunes Audi TT RS

February 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The already long list of tuning firms fighting to put some serious horsepower into the Audi TT RS just keeps growing.

The latest entrant is Pogea Racing from the town of Markdorf in the south of Germany. Pogea has set up a two-stage tuning program to suit different pockets and appetites.

At the lower end, is a 274kW (367hp) model with 519Nm of torque. The higher model sports 313kW (420hp) of power and 600Nm of torque. The factory TT RS already kicks out 250kW (335hp) and 450Nm.

Some of the changes made to achieve these impressive figures include two complete exhaust systems with double-flap control and sport catalytic converters.

The Pogea Racing TT RS modification package starts from €1,099.

Audi TT: Pure Fascination

December 16th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
TV spot with animation

TV spot with animation

Audi R4 remains a mystery

March 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Audi R4 fq

Speculation that Audi will debut a new mid-engine model called the R4 has been rampant for at least the past two years. Audi made it clear one year ago that the R4 was not in their product plans but the talk continues. In addition to the rumors, we now have some rendered speculation on what the R4 might look like thanks to freelancer and Audi enthusiast Jan Kamenistiak.

It’s not exactly known where the mid-engine R4 would fit in Audi’s model lineup, with some placing it above the TT and others below. Others think it would share a platform with a possible production version of the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept that debuted at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Known for their skill at dressing a car eight different ways and convince the public that they’re buying something totally unique, Audi would likely help themselves to the VW/Audi parts bin for the R4’s power- and drivetrain bits, as there are plenty of worthy four-cylinder engines — both gas and diesel — and dual clutch transmissions to choose from.

Lamborghini Gallardo by Heffner turns out 930hp, at the wheels

August 7th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

heffnertt-lamborghini-gallardo-fq

For the man or woman who feels that a standard Lamborghini Gallardo is not quite fast enough, Jason Heffner is your man.

This Gallardo has undergone extensive surgery and come out with a Frankenstein-ish 930 horsepower (693 kW) and 762 lb-ft torque (1033 Nm) at the wheels. With minimal drivetrain losses the actual power at the flywheel must be well over 1100hp. Remember, the Gallardo is all-wheel drive.

The power increase was achieved by serious engine work and the fitment of two turbochargers. See the list of modifications below.

The owner of this car will now be able to bait Bugatti Veyrons at his/her leisure.

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Engine removal and disassembly
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Steel cylinder liners
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Custom 9 to 1 compression ratio forged pistons
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Polishing of crankshaft journals
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Connecting rod bearings
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Main bearings
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Balancing of rotating assembly
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Blueprinting and assembly of engine
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Heavy duty clutch & pressure plate
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Twin water cooled, dual ball bearing tubos
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Two TIAL 38mm wastegates
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Two TIAL 50mm blow off valves
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Custom made stainless steel turbo mid pipes
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Custom made stainless steel turbo downpipes & exhaust system
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Stainless steel turbo oil feed lines
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Stainless steel turbo oil drain lines
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Colder heat range spark plugs
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High flow turbo air inlet plumbing
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High flow turbo air discharge plumbing
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Spearco water to air intercooler
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Intercooler water pump
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Intercooler water reservoir
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All necessary lines & fittings
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High flow in tank fuel pumps
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Upgraded fuel injectors
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All necessary gaskets & fluids
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Optimized fuel and spark calibration
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Professional installation & tuning
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100 Octane 1000 Horsepower Upgrade: Carrillo Billet Steel Connecting Rods,
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Associated Machine Work, Two Stage Boost Controller
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1 Carbon Fiber Rear Decklid
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1 Superleggera Style Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser
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1 Superleggera Style Rear Spoiler

Audi TT 2007 – road test

September 25th, 2007 by Darren Cottingham

Audi TT 2007 fq

At the risk of copping an enormous amount of flak, the Audi TT is like Alanis Morissette’s second album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. Her first album was almost too easy to like. It was chock full of instantly catchy songs, and her fresh new voice. But when you’ve got to follow a record like that up, what do you do? You make something insidiously rewarding where you have to make more of an effort to like it. Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting the previous incarnation of the Audi TT was like Alanis Morissette’s first album — it wasn’t a jagged little pill — but what happened with the second album was that the first time I listened to it I didn’t really like it. The brilliance was hidden.

My first Audi TT experience was a medium-slow meander through Grey Lynn back to the office. It’s a journey that begins with the nothingness of Great North Road topped off with the mediocrity of Richmond Rd via the shops. No twisty bits; no last-minute braking into a tight left-hander; no tearing through the gears with the exhilaration of knowing you can do it again after the next corner.

I reported back to the troops: it’s “OK” I said, “nothing special.” But how wrong I was, because I wasn’t listening to the harmony and subtle counterpoint; I hadn’t scraped beneath the veneer and polish of the Audi’s mix.

On the third listening I realised it was a truly deep album and that more listening was required to unlock its secrets. Look past the annoying bits — like that gaspy thing she does with her voice far too often. The problem with the Audi is that it’s just far too much like a competent, comfortable car in town — easy to drive, easy to park, and it’s a head-turner — but release the Audi from its urban constraints and suddenly the melody rises from the background, the song enters your lungs and exits in unison with the car via your hands.

All 147 kilowatts of the two-litre four-cylinder turbo tug at the tarmac, reined in by the all-to-frequently engaged traction control, and it’ll get to 100kph in 6.5 seconds. I don’t ever remember turning a stereo off to specifically hear a gearchange before, but using the S-tronic dual-clutch six-speed sequential (optional on this model, but standard on the 3.2-litre version) you can control the changes with paddles on the steering wheel or by pushing the gearstick backwards and forwards, and it gives almost a sonic thud between the shifts that are in themselves so quick it’s like there’s no pause. Even if you employed Chuck Norris to move a conventional gearstick with one of his faster-than-lightning punches, it wouldn’t change as rapidly as the Audi.

Keep the Audi at less than full throttle and you’ll only experience the tyres massaging the tarmac; beyond there, 280Nm induces torque steer out of slow corners, despite the 255/35R19s on all four corners.

This soft-top version can lower or raise the hood in 14 seconds while you readjust your hair and put on your shades. Cruising around town is a breeze (no pun intended), but it really needs a better wind deflector for motorway driving because in a crosswind it’s like driving along being gently patted in your left ear.

Audi loaned us an S-Line version, which has the larger mags (19 inch with 255-width tyres), and an uprated stereo.

On the interior you get supportive and embracing leather seats. They’re height adjustable, but not electric. The waistline is high, giving you a real sense the car is enveloping you. A flat-bottomed fully adjustable steering wheel contains controls for audio, while cruise control is on a stalk.

Instrumentation is a standard Audi red on black screen. Behind the seats is a large area, but it can only be accessed using a small aperture between the seats. The boot area is generous for a car this size that has to accommodate a folding roof.

Exterior styling is graceful, while being slightly muscular. At the rear a small spoiler extends from the boot lid. It can be controlled from within the cabin.

The construction is an aluminium spaceframe which adds to body rigidity. Safety features include ABS with EBD, stability control (ESP), seatbelt pretensioners and front and side airbags for passenger and driver. An alarm and immobiliser come as standard.

It’s unfortunate that the best part of the car — the gearbox — will remain unappreciated by the majority. If you can stretch another twenty grand, you can have the 3.2-litre V6 with 184kW, 320Nm of torque, magnetic ride suspension (optional extra on the 2-litre model) and four-wheel-drive.

Price: from $84,500 (manual) (S-Line options $88,500); $88,500 (S-tronic), $92,500 (S-tronic + S-Line). 3.2-litre quattro from $105,900 — 113,900.

What we like

  • Styling
  • Power
  • Handling
  • Oh, and the amazing gearbox
  • Very effective seat warmers

What we don’t like

  • Front-wheel-drive means torque steer
  • Lack of storage cubby holes
  • Electric seats are optional, not standard

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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