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Here’s a car that we reckon does not require any further introduction, such is the weight of its nameplate. Yes, ladies and gents, you’re looking at the 2015 Typ 8S Audi TT. Introduced in Malaysia in the month of May, the third-generation sports coupe from Ingolstadt is offered locally in a sole 2.0 TFSI trim sans the marque’s trademark quattro all-wheel drive system.

No matter though, for the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI looks set to finally vanquish an unfortunate stereotype that has beleaguered its reputation amongst certain quarters of drivers – particularly the ones with a more uncompromising (driving) mindset. Firstly, a quick history lesson to help get things into perspective.

The original Typ 8N Audi TT first appeared on the scene in production guise in 1998 before quickly gaining a cult-like status in the automotive realm for its groundbreaking design theme. The first-generation TT, penned by Peter Schreyer, rode atop the same platform in the Mk4 Volkswagen Golf – the current-gen model also uses Volkswagen underpinnings.

However, its quirky, recognisable aesthetics were, as mentioned, seen as the only saving grace to drivers who preferred a more involving drive in terms of vehicular interaction on a sensory level. The second-generation Typ 8J was then given a sharper suit but, unfortunately, some judges remained adamant that it needed more substance beneath the skin.

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Enter the third-generation Audi TT. As mentioned, the Typ 8S comes with a sole engine choice with drive going to just the front wheels. Priced at RM284,900 with on-the-road costs sans insurance, it may appear like a bargain at first – especially considering the fact that the previous-generation model was priced way higher.

With that said, the TT does offer very little in terms of standard kit. Firstly, the headlights are xenon projectors (which feature automatic range adjustment capabilities and activation) complemented by LED daytime running lights instead of Audi’s Matrix LED units. Said option will set you back a further RM9,000.

Moving back, the standard fit 18-inch alloy wheels (wrapped in 245/40 Continental ContiSportContact 5 tyres) can be optionally replaced with several other 19-inch designs, each set will set you back another RM6,000. The list of options also include a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 12 speakers (RM3,000), MMI navigation plus (RM9,500) and electrically-operated S sport seats (RM4,000).

Start adding the options up and you’ll understand why there could be a fair bit of trepidation when glancing through the options list and price sheet. Don’t get us wrong, though – there’s no shame in opting for a bog standard TT. Just be sure to avoid coming across images of the same car decked out with the S Line kit and fancy Matrix LED headlights.

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No such worries with safety equipment, though. As standard, the TT is equipped with six airbags (driver and front passenger, dual side and two head airbags), traction control, ESC, EBD, ABS, brake assist technology, hold assist and an electronic vehicle immobiliser. For improved efficiency, start-stop capabilities are also offered as standard in the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI.

On to the way it looks, then. Now while that may be a trivial (and purely subjective) matter to raise, do note that image is, arguably, a very important deciding factor when it comes to the Audi TT. First off, dimensions spell out a relatively compact car with the TT measuring 4,177 mm long and 1,832 mm wide. Wheelbase is recorded at 2,505 mm while height is pegged at 1,353 mm.

Overall aesthetics are pretty familiar, to be honest. While the car adopts a sharper, uncluttered outlook, the relatively understated style of the Typ 8S could disappoint those looking for a more radical coupe to flash past unsuspecting onlookers. The now mandatory Singleframe front grille is broader and is crowned by the Audi rings on top. The bonnet itself features two distinct character lines that meld into said headlights.

At the rear, the straight-edged theme continues with the inclusion of LED rear lamps that feature stylised graphics within. Elsewhere, twin, circular exhaust outlets embedded into the bumper present themselves as a nod to the original TT. Additional trademark design cues include the aluminium fuel filler cap with socket screws and a rear spoiler that deploys at 120 km/h or at the touch of a button.

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Beneath the metalwork, the 2015 Audi TT employs the ever-versatile MQB platform from the VW Group – said platform also underpins the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3. Under the bonnet, the TT is powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre TFSI inline-four petrol engine that puts out a total of 230 hp at 6,200 rpm and 370 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,300 rpm.

A six-speed S tronic wet dual-clutch transmission sends all that grunt to the front wheels, as mentioned. Straight line performance figures sees 5.9 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint while top speed, in true German fashion, is limited to 250 km/h. Official efficiency figures include a fuel consumption rating of 6.3 l/100 km and 146 g of CO2 for every kilometre travelled.

So while the exterior styling may appear evolutionary rather than revolutionary, stepping into the cabin may reveal a whole different idea. The overall architecture and presentation is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous model. Where one might expect to find an array of buttons framing a large, centrally-mounted MMI screen, the 2015 Audi TT only submits a row of toggle switches and three turbine-like air-con vents.

Thumb the starter button – located just fore of the gear selector – and the TT pulses into life, simultaneously greeting the driver with the brand’s much-vaunted virtual cockpit instrument cluster. Said platform is the reason behind the uncluttered dash layout as it integrates most, if not all, of the displays normally projected on the centre screen and fleshes it out within the massive 12.3-inch TFT LCD display panel instead.

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Don’t bother scrolling through the system via the MMI Touch platform for the air-con controls – they are now embedded into the knob located within the vent itself. As for the virtual cockpit display, drivers can choose between two presentation formats – Classic mode is pretty self-explanatory while Progressive mode emphasises auxiliary information such as navigational instructions and whatnot.

Elsewhere, the seats are trimmed in a combination of leather and Alcantara – said pews also offer four-way adjustable lumbar support. A “sports contour” multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel, complete with squared-off bottom and paddle shifters, help set the mood. The standard infotainment setup consists of Audi’s MMI Radio with MMI Touch.

Said platform features USB, iPod and SD card compatibility along with a Bluetooth audio and hands-free interface. The standard Audi Sound System features nine speakers with a total output of 155 watts. Other goodies include cruise control, automatic air-conditioning, auto anti-glare rearview mirror, Comfort key, rain-sensing windscreen wipers.

For the more focussed drivers, Audi drive select is also featured as standard alongside the marque’s progressive steering – the former allows for the configuration of different drive modes while the latter is an adaptive electromechanical steering system. Meanwhile, the Audi Magnetic Ride adaptive dampers (omitted on this particular example) are offered as cost options.

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As a whole, the interior scores big time. Build quality is typical of that of an Audi with leather placed at all the important contact points. The feel-good factor is further amplified with the addition of the centre stack that’s angled ever so slightly towards the driver – add that to the simplified layout of the cabin and one gets a pretty convincing driver-oriented interior.

Does that actually translate to one heck of a drive, though? Before we proceed, let’s make one thing clear – the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI is not an out-and-out sports car. It may have only two doors and an edgy, sporty outlook but keep in mind that true performance duties are to be handled only by its better-endowed siblings, the Audi TT S and forthcoming TT RS.

With that said, the new TT, despite sending its power only to the front, handles nicely with an overall sense of lightness and agility that really starts to permeate through once the driver begins to get a tad more enthusiastic. One minor gripe, though. While the aforementioned progressive steering system is efficient, it’s not a very communicative setup.

Sure, it makes the car feel sharper than it has any right to but one might end up missing that final bit of feedback that, on a purely sensory level, makes the overall experience more organic. No complaints on the engine-transmission combination but brake feel did lean towards the grabby side of things – retardation performance was never in doubt throughout the drive, though.

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Select Dynamic on the drive select system (other modes include Auto, Comfort, Efficiency and Individual), swing the RPM needle into the upper echelons of the counter and it might just be enough to get most so-called hardcore owners reconsidering their order for the TT S – let’s be honest, barely any one of us is going to be able to inch near the absolute potential of this car.

Not convinced? Find an empty stretch of tarmac and stand on the throttle. The ferocity (and speed) of the double-clutch gearbox coupled to the power from the turbo’ed mill ensures that one will be hitting near-illegal speeds within the time it took you to read this sentence – the journey there is further heightened, thanks to the trademark farts and pops on upshifts.

With that said, the engineers could have done without the artificial burble that gets pipe into the cabin while the car is idling when Dynamic mode gets selected. “It’s a bit gimmicky,” said one passenger, which pretty much sums it up, really. Speaking of passengers, how does the TT fare in terms of practicality?

That depends on how many occupants you decide to squeeze into the car. With just a driver and one lucky individual riding shotgun, all is well with ample leg and head room in the cabin. Road trips are entirely possible with boot space rated at a decent 305 litres – which should be more than enough for a few overnight bags or one (large) piece of luggage.

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And road trips you shall take with this car, just knock it back into Comfort or Auto mode (Efficiency allows the transmission to freewheel for an even more economical drive) and the TT does a remarkable job of playing the tourer. The front seats offer adequate support while wind, tyre and road noise are kept to a minimum even at highway speeds. A supple, planted ride makes long journeys all the more comfortable.

Introduce a third or fourth occupant into the picture and things start to get claustrophobic pretty quickly, though. We’ve heard it all before – two-doored car is offered with rear seats, human attempts to climb into said seat. Human fails. It’s no exaggeration with this car, either. Yours truly managed to secure (bribe) two volunteers into the pair of rear seats.

Mind you, both volunteers stood at around 153 to 155 cm and even then, they fit juuust about right. The sloping roofline, while great for aesthetics, certainly made the rear feel even more inhabitable than it already was to begin with. Personally, my advice would be to fold the rear seats down (allowing for a boot capacity of 712 litres) and elope with the significant other for an extended road trip.

Which is really what the 2015 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI is, to be honest. As mentioned, it’s not a full-fat driver’s car but neither is it something that would disappoint when the road gets snakier. If one had around RM300,000 to spend on a car that could ferry one to work on weekdays and at the same time run up a canyon road on weekends, the third-generation Audi TT is one of the better choices.