Review: Audi TT v VW Scirocco

Review: Audi TT v VW Scirocco
Review: Audi TT v VW Scirocco

Which is hotter in the fashion-fickle coupe market?

Both these cars have been around for a bit and have had makeovers to ease out the creases and the wrinkles. In this sector you need to look good, sharp, with no sagging or bagging. But, so we’re told, looks aren’t everything. Who knew?

Engine and performance

This means we need to look behind the sleek lines. And the first thing we find is a healthy power advantage to the Volkswagen. In the Scirocco R version the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder pumps out 276bhp. By contrast the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder in the Audi pumps out 227bhp. A near 50bhp advantage for the VW is a promising start.

Audi TT
Audi TT 2.0 TFSI quattro S line S Tronic

★★★★★
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 227bhp
Torque: 273lb/ft
0-60mph: 5.3sec
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 43.5mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 149g/km

However, it’s not the numbers it’s how they are delivered that matters. The Scirocco is a bit like a horse from standstill. It seems to take a while to sort out all the legs before it can properly accelerate. The power goes to the front wheels but, while traction is good, the combination of the auto gearbox being a bit dithery combined with the definite wait for the turbo to wake up and get organised is actually rather frustrating. Once it has got all four wheels sorted out it’s very quick and posts some impressive in-gear performances.

But by the time it’s got going the Audi TT has gone. Having four-wheel drive helps, but it just feels sharper, with more torque and a crisper, quicker S Tronic gearbox. The Scirocco would reel it back in, but not for a while. And by that time you’d have got to the twisties and it would all start to go wrong for the VW again.

Handling

The Scirocco’s whole drivetrain just gets overwhelmed by the power so the traction control is chittering and you’re not going anywhere fast. The handling feels like it’s being led by the nose, which pushes wide earlier than in the Audi. The steering doesn’t tell you much and, really, you simply can’t use a lot of the power that’s on tap until things straighten out.

VW Scirocco
VW Scirocco 2.0 TSI 280 R DSG

★★★☆☆
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power: 276bhp
Torque: 258lb/ft
0-60mph: 5.9sec
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel ecomony: 35.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 185g/km

The TT meanwhile has gone again. The steering has plenty of feel, the all-wheel traction gives you plenty of grip and allows the nose to stay pointing in the right direction even with quite high lateral loads, and any roll is well controlled. It has a decent ride, too, much like the VW.

Interior

Inside, you can see very clearly the big changes to the Audi. All the main visuals are now on a main screen behind the steering wheel, freeing up the dashboard to a very positive degree. It means all the controls fall to the driver, which some will like, but it means fiddling with the radio can’t now be done by the passenger. Which some will like too.

It’s also extremely well put together, and is one of the few cars that could beat the Scirocco for this. The VW’s cabin is excellent, well made and well designed. It also has reasonable space in the rear, unlike in the Audi, and a bigger boot. The VW gives you quite a lot of kit for your money too, including sat nav, dual zone climate control and rear sensors. Much of that is extra in the Audi.

Running costs

The Audi TT comes back though with a very efficient engine, which shows in the tax, both for VED and for BIK for company drivers. It will also be slightly more frugal, managing 32.6mpg in our real world tests, compared to the Scirocco’s 29.3mpg.

Verdict

Private buyers will pay a little more over three years for the Audi TT but to us that’s worth paying. It’s better to drive, has a brilliant cabin and is even cheaper to run. The security of four-wheel drive is well worth having too, a point clearly demonstrated by the VW’s inability to get the power down when pushing hard. The Scirocco has more space and more power but, overall, the Audi TT has it clearly beaten.

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