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Audi's baby comes of age!
I DON'T know what planet Audi's marketing department live on, but it's clearly not this one.
They claim to be German, so there must be a region called Germany in some other world, where the locals are still waiting for the invention of listening, speaking or even history.
You see, according to Audi, 2015 will be "the year of the Audi TT".
No, honestly, I'm not joking. That's what they said at their bizarre yet mercifully short press conference in the 39C (102F) heat of Malaga recently.
It got even weirder too, because they also called the TT their "new baby".
I'm sorry, but in that case what the hell have the last 16 years been all about, during which time Audi have sold half a million of the things?
It may have changed to the point where it's almost unrecognisable from the beautiful and still best looking original, but one thing that has improved is its power and handling.
The "new baby", especially the 310hp TTS, is blisteringly quick, sticks to the road like chewing gum to your shoes and has more toys than a Harry Potter film thanks, say Audi, to a "revolution in the interior".
Oh yeah? Apparently they mean the TT's new digital dash which is so revolutionary it's been in cars as rare as Citrons for a couple of years now.
“It may have changed to the point where it's almost unrecognisable from the beautiful and still best looking original, but one thing that has improved is its power and handling”
If you've got at least 30 grand burning a hole in your wallet you can wander off to your nearest Audi dealer and order a new baby as soon as you've read this brilliant but modest review.
After that it's just a case of waiting...and waiting...for nearly three months, because at the very best it won't be outside your house until January.
Thirty grand is the price of the cheapest front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre TT which hits 0-62mph (100kph) in 5.9s.
Add another three grand for four-wheel-drive and you'll get the same limited top speed of 155mph but 0-62mph in 5.3s.
The TTS version, also a 2.0-litre, but with a bigger turbo, takes 4.6s.
Both cars are limited to 155mph. That's remarkably fast and miles quicker than the 1998 car's 0-62mph in 7.5s and 142mph top speed.
Even the diesel is quicker with figures of 7.1s and 150mph. It also does 67mpg.
Yep, the TT's grown up from the original 180hp, 1.8-litre to a 2.0-litre with 230hp, or 310hp, but don't forget, it's still a baby.
I have to say that my first impression of the TTS was memorable for all the wrong reasons as, despite 4WD, it slid across a mountain road at a speed that wouldn't have upset a bus, never mind the self-named (by Audi) "2015 car of the year". I wondered if it had something to do with the blistering heat they've been having in the south of Spain and I was told that, in a way, it had.
The combination of ridiculous temperatures and a lack of rain had caused the road to be covered in dust, and that was why the car suddenly lost all grip.
To be honest, I wasn't so sure about that explanation and it made me approach the Ascari race track, where we were to test the car, with a fair bit of worry. I needn't have feared.
The track had been cleared of dust and the pace car confidently set off like a bullet before going into the pits to leave me on my own.
What a fantastic, howling, machine the TTS turned out to be after all.
Its road-holding is even more outrageous than you could ever dream of.
Best of all, it does a little Bentley burble every time it shifts gear.
Switching off the traction control made it an even better car.
Without a nanny under the bonnet you could drive it yourself and it's every bit as fantastic as Audi claim.
The noise, the speed and the adrenalin it produced were something I haven't experienced for a long time.
I drove back to the airport like a saint in a 230hp front-wheel-drive TT, realising how lucky I am to be invited on track days.
Gone are all the Allen key slots of the original, on the wheels, instruments, even the filler cap. Gone, too, are the looks that made it the idol of not just men, but women too.
Instead it's a frighteningly quick ultra-modern sports car that's bulging with hi-tech kit.
This is no "new baby" at all. It's a slick tool that will be driven by, you guessed it, marketing morons.