There’s a new 3rd-generation Audi TT due out in 2014, and this is NOT it. But it does illustrate the potential of Audi’s sport coupé and the brand’s determination to make the next generation model more of a true sports car.
The TT ultra quattro concept is lighter – by 299kg, more powerful – by 38bhp over the 268bhp TT S and considerably faster than a TT has ever been. Try 0 to 62mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 173mph, from a car with a power/weight ratio of 275bhp per ton (compared with 190bhp per ton for the standard TT S manual).
The TT’s 2.0-litre TFSI engine now sports 305bhp and 400 Nm between 1,900rpm and 5,000rpm (up from 268bhp and 350Nm) thanks to modifications made to the crankcase, the crankshaft, the balancer shafts, the flywheel, the sump, the bolts and certain ancillary units which also help reduce the engine’s weight by 25kg.
While the engine upgrade would be noticeable on its own, the real gains have been achieved through weight reduction.
Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) is used extensively in the rear end, the centre tunnel, the B-pillars and the roof while magnesium components are used in the floor and hinge reinforcements.
Front brakes now use ceramic discs with aluminium fixed calipers, while a titanium exhaust system with single centrally mounted tailpipe replaces the standard aluminium item. CFRP wheels with high-strength aluminium spokes shave off another 20kg.
The ‘extreme’ weight saving measures extend to the TT ultra’s suspension, with Fibreglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) springs. At their core are long glass fibres twisted together and impregnated with epoxy resin. A machine wraps additional fibres around this core, which is only a few millimetres in diameter, at alternating angles of plus and minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis. These layers then support each other and act in either compression or tension.
These fancy FRP springs cuts the TT’s unsprung weight by 40 per cent, while according to Audi “..still retaining good operating characteristics.” We’ll take their word for it, but don’t expect to see these enter production any time soon.
To restore the TT’s handling balance (after removing all the weight), Audi have redistributed components to the centre of the car wherever possible. For example, the standard car’s lead battery is replaced by a lighter lithium-ion one and located under the driver’s seat.
Further weight saving continues on the inside, with fibreglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) bucket seats from the R8 GT which save 22kg. However despite the TT ultra’s focused nature it still comes fitted with air conditioning, electric window controls and an electromechanical parking brake.
Of course, it’s just a concept car – due to star at next month’s Wörthersee festival in Germany – but some of these innovations are expected to appear in the third-generation TT due out next year.
Audi’s more powerful EA888-based engine will replace the older EA113 powerplant, as used in the current TT S quattro, while much of the CFRP could make it though (although not the wheels).
Audi say they might consider producing a limited production run of the TT ultra quattro, just don’t expect it to be quite as light, or as extreme.