Audi TT Coupe 2015: Australian Hands On

The TT has been a staple of Audi's sports car line-up for years now. Thankfully, it got a much-needed redesign for 2015, and it's an amazing car to drive. Here's what it's like behind the wheel.

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We drove the 2.0L TFSI TT around Audi's home town of Ingolstadt, and had a cracking good time doing so. It's packing the six-speed box with an all-wheel drive system to boot.

It's still a sports coupe at heart, meaning the back seats are mostly just for show. And that's probably for the best, too: when you take off with spirit, the TT's in-car synthesiser pumps the engine note inside the cabin from the back of the car to make you feel like a superhero. I'm a big fan of that, but others might not be as much.

Despite the synthesiser and the vicious noise, however, the new TT is actually quite sedate around town. You're not about to frighten pedestrians with the savage roar of the exhaust or the delicious engine note as you take off from a crossing, unless you really want to. It's a civil beast that responds quietly to your commands when you're gentle with the throttle.

Open the taps, however, and it's like unchaining a wild beast. The back end squirrels ever so slightly under the power before finding its traction in under a second, propelling you from where you are to somewhere else a long way down the road in no time flat.

There was no doubt that the car was going to be a masterpiece to look at, and to drive. Audi has had ages to perfect the TT recipe and turn it into something great. What's interesting is the enhancements Audi has made to the technology bolted onto the TT.

The instrument cluster, for example, is pure future. Instead of having a screen mounted in-between a rev counter and speedometer, you get one giant LCD screen that can display whatever you like, and just about any size you want.

For example, if you're taking a pleasant drive through the German countryside as I did when I tested the new TT, you get Google Earth to map your route, as well as a small, circular speedometer on the bottom-right of the display. Navigation directions are projected onto a head-up display on the windscreen, complete with speed, navigation and tracking information as well.

And you can change that to be whatever you want. Ditch the navigation display for a giant rev counter and speedometer if you like: there are a swathe of configurations.

There is a pop-up infotainment screen on the TT, but it's an ancillary display given that the driver has all the information on the customisable instrument cluster. For the most part, the infotainment screen is for the passenger's benefit.

The new 2015 TT also benefits from some technology first piloted in the Audi A6. It's called the Matrix LED headlight system, and it's something that you never knew you needed.

Cooked up underground (literally) by the boffins in Audi's Future Lab, the Matrix headlamp system is a series of headlights built into the front of the car, attached to a camera and a small computer system. The lights are always throwing out high-beam, but the camera reads the road in front of you and intelligently identifies what needs to be highlighted and what needs to be dimmed.

For example, if it sees a pedestrian in the road, the Matrix headlamp will activate a spot-lamp to flash three times at the pedestrian, illuminating them for the driver and warning the pedestrian that the car is coming. It will also illuminate street and warning signs better to give you a look at what's coming up.

The best part, however, comes when the high-beams need to be selectively deactivated. The camera detects cars in front of it as well as cars coming in the opposite direction and locks onto them. From there, it calculates their path and follows them through it, dimming sections of the headlamp in the process so that drivers in either direction aren't blasted by your LED headlights. In layman's terms: it creates an artificial black spot for other cars to sit in.

By doing so, it means you don't have to turn high-beam off and on at night. It stays on so you can see everything on the road, while shielding other drivers from the glare.

I honestly thought it was a massive gimmick at first, but it really works. We replicated it on a Matrix Headlamp-equipped car by standing in front of it with a torch and shining it into the headlamp to replicate an oncoming car. No matter where you stand in front of the headlamp, it finds you and in less than a second, dims a section of the lighting array to save you from the glare.

You really notice it as a driver, too. When driving on misty roads you can see it in action. You want to illuminate the road as much as possible, but not blind the drivers in front or coming the other direction. Before you've even had a second to figure out that you should turn down your high beams, the Matrix Headlamp system has identified the oncoming vehicle, calculated its path and dimmed a section of the light to keep their eyes safe and their journey comfortable. It doesn't result in a loss of illumination for you, either, as the lights are still beaming their way down range.

It's tech like that which gives the new 2015 TT the edge, and I'm in love with it. I can't wait to get one for longer to review.

Luke Hopewell travelled to Germany as a guest of Audi Australia.

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