Back in the good old days, it was pretty common for European manufacturers to offer stripped down sporting versions of their regular road cars. For a long time, the fun side of things vanished as corporations tried to be politically correct or something. Lately though, the design gods are bringing the fun back. Case in point, the Audi TT clubsport quattro concept. Borrowing styling cues from sixties era speedsters, this is one hot looking machine.
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Audi press release with all the details after the break
The Audi TT clubsport quattro
The TT in its most purist form
Every Audi TT is noted for its clear lines, unmistakable dynamism and the driving characteristics of a sports car. Audi now presents the TT in its most purist form: the clubsport quattro study.
The Audi TT clubsport quattro study reduces the TT Roadster to a pure driving machine. A powerful engine, state-of-the-art technology and numerous traits borrowed from the world of motorsport are the dominant features of the TT clubsport quattro.
The goal that the development engineers set themselves for this vehicle study was to achieve purism at a premium level. No hood, no A-post Ã¢â‚¬â€œ instead, a wraparound windscreen kept extremely low which deliberately evokes images of a speedster. The flat, slightly tinted window strip surrounds the cockpit. The panoramic windscreen and the two humps located behind the interior in place of the hood compartment are reminiscent of a racing car. The rollover bars familiar from the TT Roadster are kept flatter and are the same height as the sports bucket seats.
The front end is dominated by the single-frame grille which has aluminium inserts to give its design a horizontal emphasis. This makes the TT clubsport quattro appear even flatter than it already is. The four rings of the logo are not located in the grille as on most Audi models, but on the bonnet. The large air inlets in the front end supply additional air to the more potent TFSI engine. LED daytime running lights provide an eye-catching highlight at all times of day. The visible stainless steel rear silencer is the striking feature in the rear bumper, while the blade under the rear silencer visibly underscores the vehicleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sports character. The dual-branch exhaust system with its oval tailpipes calls to mind the sporty Audi production models such as the RS 4.
There is a deliberate lack of visual interruptions in the side line and you will look in vain for door handles. The TT clubsport quattro is opened by remote control: the doors spring open at the press of a button. The size of the two exterior mirrors has also been minimised. 20-inch wheels with tyres of size 265/30 R20 emphasise the carÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s muscular appearance, as does its track width which has been increased by a total of 80 millimetres compared with a production TT. Not only that, but the wheel arches have also been enlarged additionally.
The car is painted Daytona Grey, a colour that Audi used for the first time on the RS 4 and the S8. The exterior design features dark shades of grey. This forms a contrast with the metallic elements, with the grille and side grille in Gun Metal, a steely colour which imbues the TT clubsport quattro with a look which is both sporty and pure. The brake callipers, the orange colour of which links the exterior design to the interior, provide a visual contrast. These bright colour highlights also provide attractive visual touches in the interior, on elements such as the instrument cowl, the armrest and on the back of the bucket seats. The black leather seat itself also boasts a special feature in the shape of a laser pattern worked into the seat. This was specially designed for the TT clubsport quattro and plays on the TT logo.
The sports character demonstrated by the exterior design is continued inside the car, where purism was also the driving element. Racing bucket seats are provided for both occupants. Together with four-point belts that are three inches wide, these offer both driver and passenger excellent support, even in extreme driving situations Ã¢â‚¬â€œ on the racetrack, for example. The generous use of aluminium is characteristic of Audi. This starts with the steering wheel which is adorned with a twin spoke crafted from this lightweight metal. The pedals are also made of aluminium and exhibit a grooved structure. They consequently not only afford a better grip, but also help to save weight. Foot rests are provided for both driver and passenger in the TT clubsport quattro.
The gear lever gate adopted from the new mid-engined sports car, the Audi R8, and the aluminium gear knob are a joy to behold. This lightweight metal is also used for the door pull and the door opener, both of which are cut-out, a feature which further underlines the interiorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s purist character.
The sill area has also been restyled compared with the production model. Rather than being interrupted by a sill strip, it now emphasises the width of the car. A new door sill trim located further inside the car, along with floor mats sporting the TT logo as an aluminium inlay provide further visual highlights. The surrounding strip on the top shoulder is also made of this lightweight metal.
The Audi designers came up with a special idea in the field of entertainment. Instead of the middle of the three round air vents in the upper part of the dashboard, they integrated an interface here, designed among other things for the B&O MP3 player BeoSound 2. The round player built by AudiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s premium partner fits exactly into the circular opening and is a sheer delight for the senses, both visually and acoustically.
The instrument cluster is very different from the one in a production model. The vertical needles and colour graphics are the eye-catching features. The clock and odometer have been omitted in keeping with the carÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s underlying purist philosophy.
The racing character of the Audi TT clubsport quattro is underscored by its technology. The Audi engineers have packed the 2.0 TFSI engine with even more power than the 260 bhp familiar from the Audi S3. The turbocharged four-cylinder unit with petrol direct injection breaks the magic 300 bhp barrier. Thanks to a modified intake manifold, it has been possible to get even more power out of this highly efficient engine (which was Ã¢â‚¬Å“Engine of the YearÃ¢â‚¬Â in its class in 2005 and 2006). Power is transferred to all four wheels, making the TT clubsport quattro the first new-generation TT with four-cylinder engine and quattro permanent four-wheel drive.
The transmission is also new in this performance category. Thanks to its dual clutch, the S tronic direct-shift gearbox changes gear virtually without interrupting the flow of power, a process that goes unnoticed by the driver. The six gears can, however, also be changed manually, with gearshifts taking just fractions of a second.
Anyone opening the bonnet will be met by a fascinating sight. Thanks to a lack of cables and auxiliaries, the engine compartment looks extremely clean. The engine has deliberately not been hidden under a cover. The cross brace running above the engine is a technical stroke of genius. It not only makes the car more rigid, but also contains the coolant expansion tank. The ABS system has been moved from the engine compartment to the interior. The air conditioning and activated charcoal filter are not to be found in the engine compartment either. A racing air filter ensures that the engine takes in a sufficient amount of air. The exhaust system has been adapted to suit the carÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sporty performance: the specially tuned exhaust emits the genuine sound of motor racing.
Ceramic brakes are fitted in the TT for the first time. These are absolutely non-fading and enable countless sharp braking manoeuvres without any loss of stopping power. Once again, Audi has taken advantage of its superior wealth of experience: ceramic brakes are already offered for the RS 4, the A8 and S8, for example, and are enjoying increasing popularity with customers.
The Audi TT clubsport quattro is a purist driving machine that combines the performance of a sports car with a unique design language. It consequently remains a TT on the one hand, while at the same time demonstrating just what is possible with such a fascinating production vehicle. The possible small-series production of this model is being considered.