Headtohead

AUDI TT 2.0 TFSI SPORT

WORDS JAMES WHITBOURN

INGOLSTADT ICON

Base Audi coupe is pricier, at $71,950, than the mid-spec BMW coupe ($64,400). The entry-level TT is a six-speed manual front-driver with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four. Its equipped with a rear camera, electric front seats, leather/ Alcantara trim, attention- and lane-assist systems, satellite navigation, and tyre pressure monitors. 13/20 Flexible 2.0-litre turbo four makes 169kW, with 370Nm spread over 1600-4300rpm, pushing 1305kg TT to 100km/h in a claimed 6.0sec slower than the BMW, despite a superior 137kW/tonne power-to-weight. Like its rival, the TT has a subtly sporty note that could be louder. Thrifty 5.9L/100km combined-cycle economy on 95RON. 18/20 TTs electro-steering system has a variable ratio, so can feel a bit lazy at first, but the coupes snout starts to point more eagerly with lock. You miss the quattro TTs neat ability to pre-empt corners with a shuffling of torque to the rear wheels, but the front drive is light on its tyres, with an ESC-based LSD system to reduce torque-steer. 15/20 Cutting-edge cabin design with high-quality materials and tactile controls make the TT a class act. One party trick is the 12.3-inch TFT screen in the instrument cluster, which displays the sat-nav map, infotainment info, and the speedo and tacho. Another is the climate-control knobs on the air vents. Plus twos ideally small or inanimate. 18/20 Like the BMW, the Audi rolls on 18-inch wheels and tyres.

Front-drive TT is more supple than up-spec quattro and S-line versions, but its not as smooth at soaking up sharpedged joins and lumps as the 228i, and is a bit noisier on ubiquitous Aussie country-road coarse-chip. Magnetic dampers help a lot, but come at further cost. 16/20 80/100

BMW 228i COUPE

MUNICH MAESTRO

The 228i gains 45kW and 80Nm over the $51,000 base 220i. It shares much with its rival, including front and rear parking sensors, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav and leather trim. Undercuts TTs price despite a standard eight-speed auto (six-speed manual is a no-cost option). 15/20 The BMW musters a smooth 180kW and 350Nm from 1250-4800rpm from the same 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four as base 220i. Eight-speed auto and rear drive see the 228i sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.6sec (claimed) despite being heavier (1405kg) and carrying 128kW/tonne. Officially uses 6.3L/100km, helped by brake energy regeneration. 18/20 Balance, involvement and plain fun come with the 228is rear-drive specification. A thick wheel rim guides a tarmac-carving nose via sharp variable-ratio steering, and with a four-pot up front, turn-in is more enthusiastic than in the M235i six. The BMW is agile, composed and powers down hard with help from a rear electro diff lock. 18/20 BMW a bit spartan inside, though sportier with the no-cost optional Sport Line pack. Materials not as rich as those in the Audi, and minor controls lack the TTs tactility. Theres a bit more leg and head room in the rear, but its still tight. Front-seat comfort and ergonomics great, while intuitive iDrive system is a highlight. 15/20 The BMW rides on 18-inch run-flats (theres no spare; you get a tyre repair kit in the Audi) yet the 228is ride compliance is impressive. While the handling is sharp, the ride is not. The Bavarian coupe delivers a level of absorbency we could comfortably live with, both in urban and out-of-town driving. 18/20

84/100

POINTS SCORE

V PRICE & EQUIPMENT

20 POINTS

INTERIOR & VERSATILITY

20 POINTS

PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY

20 POINTS

RIDE & REFINEMENT

20 POINTS

STEERING & HANDLING

20 POINTS

VERDICT

A glance at the scores suggests this was an easy victory for the BMW 228i. Its less costly than the base TT (despite sitting just a rung below the fiery M235i), and is quicker and more involving, which might be all that matters. However, it wasnt a complete walkover. The third-gen TT takes Audi cabin class to new heights, with leading-edge design and cleverly deployed tech. The overall aesthetic and image is a matter of taste, but the TTs styling is more resolved than the broad-sided BMWs. It also comes standard with a manual, which is increasingly rare. Back in the BMWs favour is its superior three-year retained value forecast, though both have similar warranties and service schedules.

It seems that buying the Bee Em and pocketing $7500 is the $64K answer to this coupe question.