Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro: This new model reveals a bit of 'gender' transformation

When the Audi TT first launched in 1999, the conventional wisdom was that it was a 'girls' car. But the new TT is, if anything, a little more bloke-friendly

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Price: £35,335
Engine capacity: 2.0-litre turbocharged
Power output: 227 @ 4,500
Top speed:155
Fuel economy: 44.1
CO2 emissions: 149

When the Audi TT first launched in 1999, it quickly carved out a niche in the centre of Britain's middle-class motoring heartlands. It sold like hotcakes as buyers fell for its Germanic blend of style and speed.

Talking about cars and gender is normally dangerous territory, but soon enough the conventional wisdom among self-styled motoring experts was that the Audi TT was a "girls'" car (perhaps missing the point that few under-18s could afford one). Apparently, its curvy lines were less aggressive than on some sports cars and it wasn't as hardcore to drive as others.

It's odd, then, that today, wherever you are in Britain, you will see a second-hand (or new) Audi TT being driven by either a young man who has done well for himself (new) or a man in his middle years (second hand) who wants to treat himself.

Maybe it's that they are simply borrowing their partner's car to pop to the shops, but I'm not so sure. For my money, I think they like the TT just as much as savvy women buyers do, though it may be a guilty pleasure.

The new TT is, if anything, a little more bloke-friendly with the addition of tauter-looking proportions, a new single-frame grille, a tapered bonnet and razor-sharp headlights. It's also cleaner and more fuel-efficient than the model it replaces, and then there's the power. My test model came in the range-topping S-Line trim, which means four-wheel-drive, focused handling and a raspy turbocharged engine that will hit 60mph in 4.6 seconds, thanks to its rapid-changing double-clutch gearbox. It's still more clinical than a Porsche Cayman, but if you want to press on down a B-Road, this car is more than capable of giving you a fright.

But the biggest change in the new Audi TT is on the inside, where Audi has done away with the traditional centre console containing the satellite navigation, menu display and media system. I've always thought it was probably rather dangerous to spend your time looking away from the road, and instead Audi has cleverly packaged all of these inside a small display where the instrument cluster would normally go. It's ideal for the new type of buyer Audi is looking to play to: a buyer who perhaps isn't excellent at multi-tasking, as the gender-defying TT is.

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