Audi have at last unveiled the third generation Audi TT, and I registered my interest a few hours ago as soon as I saw a tweet go out on my timeline (@Jonny___X if you're interested guys!) from the people at Top Gear. I frantically typed Audi into Google, clicked my way onto the Audi webpage, and got my registration all sorted out in a millisecond. As you've probably noticed, I'm actually rather excited about it.
My excitement is founded upon one thing only- the feelings I had for my first proper car, my Mk.1 Audi TT. For four years of my life I owned a car that had starred in a film. I owned a car that took me to places I'd never even dreamt of seeing before. I owned a car that guided me all the way through Normandy and into the streets of central Paris where I remained lost, alone, and confused for 9 and a half hours. That's why I'm excited. I loved her to bits. Maybe it was more for the experiences I had whilst owning her rather than the performance of the car, but who can really say exactly why we form attachments to machines.
I'm not going to get into specific stories I had at the wheel of my TT in this article, I might write about those another time. For now, I'm just going to talk in fairly basic terms about how my ownership experience was. How she drove, how much she cost me, and how, most importantly, she made me feel. But first, let's answer a few basic questions shall we?
Q: Jonny, was your Mk.1 TT fast?
A: No, not really.
Q: Jonny, did your Mk.1 TT handle well?
A: No, it didn't.
Q: Jonny, was your TT good value for money?
A: No, no it wasn't.
By any traditional means of measurement, my Audi TT was not a great car. It was powered by the 180bhp version of the 1.8 turbo engine but that doesn't mean a thing, because the car weighed about 9 tonnes and as a result, it didn't feel very fast at all. Quick-ish is how I would describe it. Handling wise it wasn't great either, it suffered from far too much body roll and that combined with her weight problem meant you kind of never had much idea what was going on underneath you.
Costs, oh my God the costs. You guys probably know enough about me by now to know I live in England. Well, petrol prices in England are bonkers compared to the USA. In fact in the four years I owned my TT the price of petrol went up by over 30 pence a litre. So we're talking around nearly £80 a tank for a fill up, and it only did at best a rather pitiful 23mpg. So, combine that with the £280 pounds a year road tax I had to give to the government, my £600+ insurance, and the yearly service bills (averaging around £300) and you'll soon see how much this car was costing me. My wallet twitches at the sound of the word 'Audi' even to this day.
Right now, you as the reader are probably wondering why on earth some grumpy English chap has wasted your evening blabbering on about how bad his old Audi TT is. Well stay here a little longer, because now I'm getting to the good part. Here it comes...
What the Audi TT did for me is the same thing that the Disco Volante did for Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear a couple of weeks ago.
As a tool for making you feel good, there aren't many other cars in its price group that can compete with the Audi TT. Go and look at the original Audi TT. What do you see? You see that it still fits in with the cars of today, it still looks fresh, cool, and relevant. The design of that first TT hasn't aged in the slightest. When the new TT was unveiled today, once again you can see that it hasn't changed from that stunning, beautiful, and original design from back in the 90's. You have to remember that this is a design that was first showed to the world in 1995. That famous shape and style of the Audi TT is coming up for its 20th birthday and it still looks great! The Mk.2 and now the Mk.3 have just evolved on the classic design, it has stayed true to its original form and I love that. My TT made me feel like I owned a concept car every time I even looked at her.
I think it's important that a car is at least moderately fast and handles well just like the rest of us. I love cars that drive as good as they look. Ok, so maybe the TT didn't do that, but it didn't make it any less special for me. Wherever she was, at whatever time or season she always looked fantastic, and she always made any simple drive into an occasion.
Oh, and that film she was in? My particular car was sold to me with paper work authenticating her role in the Hugh Grant film 'About a Boy' where she was Hugh Grant's characters' car. She was one of two identical cars, but the only one given away in a national newspaper competition. Not the coolest film in the world I know, but it added to her allure a bit and always made a good topic of car conversation. I miss my TT, I really do hope I can get myself into a Mk.3 at some point and if I do... I'm ticking the silver paint box.