Reaffirming its status as an enduring What Car? favourite, the Audi TT in its recently launched, all-new form, has once again been crowned Coupé of the Year in the respected magazine’s annual awards. Equally importantly, two new variations on the theme of the A3, itself a winner of the overall Car of the Year Award in 2013, have also secured important category victories – the A3 Cabriolet dominates its class for a second successive year, and on its debut entry the new A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid proves its mettle by taking on and beating critically acclaimed EV contenders to the title of Electric Car of the Year.
In its explanatory account covering the winning Audi models, the experienced judges on the What Car? editorial team dub the A3 Sportback e-tron a ‘no-brainer for business users’, refer to the A3 Cabriolet as ‘one of the best open-tops for driving thrills’ and describe the TT as a ‘fabulous ownership proposition’, featuring ‘one of the finest cabins of any car’.
The 2015 Coupe of the Year – specifically the TT 2.0 TFSI Sport – is the latest in a long line of Audi TTs favoured as What Car? winners, dating back to the revolutionary first generation car, which wowed the judges back in 2001. The TT has been nominated in every one of the past eight years, and has won the category outright in all but one.
Explaining the decision to continue the TT’s amazing run of success for yet another year, What Car? Editor Jim Holder said: “The new TT follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, winning our Coupé of the Year Award at the first time of asking. It does so by a big margin, because while there are plenty of sleek and slinky-looking offerings in this market, they all demand some form of compromise from you – either in the way they drive, how easy they are to live with or how much they cost to buy and run. All except the TT. In fact, it’s so good, we wouldn’t bet against it winning this award for years to come.”
UK deliveries of the new TT are already in progress, and in addition to the 230 PS 2.0 TFSI, the new ‘ ultra’ model also makes its debut. Its 2.0 TDI engine produces 184 PS and 380Nm of torque, and a combined MPG figure of 67.3 is possible in line with CO2 emissions of just 110g/km. Prices for the TT range start from £29,770 OTR in Sport specification, rising to £40,270 OTR for the formidable 310PS TTS Coupé.
A3 range maintains its winning streak
Singling out the 150 PS 1.4 TFSI version of the A3 Cabriolet Sport with fuel-saving Cylinder-on Demand technology as its specific winner, the What Car? team praises its thriftiness and its “precise steering, performance and hushed refinement”. An interior that “exudes class” with “cabin quality you’d expect on soft-tops twice the price” is also complimented, and in summary the A3 is lauded as “still the best open-top you can buy.” Prices start at £26,085 OTR for SE models – comprehensive Sport and S line specifications complete the line-up.
Sharing the limelight with its premium compact counterpart, the A3 Sportback e-tron”mixes the many merits of the A3 with even more incentive for company car buyers to make electric driving more accessible” according to the judging panel. Both are available to order in the UK now, and first customer deliveries of the A3 Sportback e-tron are due this month. Priced from £29,950, the first series plug-in hybrid in the Audi range offers the potential for up to 176mpg on a full charge can travel for up to 31 miles using electric propulsion alone before the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine intervenes. Overall, a range of over 580 miles is attainable on a full charge and a tank of fuel.
Audi ‘Best Buys’
In addition to the outright accolades, two more Audi models received price point plaudits – in the ‘more than £35,000 category’, the new A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI ultra SE Executive earned a commendation in the Executive Car class and in the Family Car sector the A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI SE was rated as the pick of the bunch in the more than £20,000 bracket.
Commenting on the outstanding result for Audi UK, Director Andre Konsbruck said: “I am absolutely delighted not only with the quantity of wins Audi has secured in the eyes of What Car? this year, but also in the quality of those wins. The all-new TT and A3 Cabriolet are of course prime examples of state-of-the-art Vorsprung durch Technik, with all the emphasis on definitive design and build and advanced technology that this entails, but it’s the recognition for the new A3 e-tron in the face of such heralded competition which is the crowning achievement for me. It emphasises for me that wrapping the future in a familiar package that demands no compromises is the right way to travel at this stage.”
Hat trick for Audi in What Car New Year Honours