Tag Archives: audi tt

The eternal battle of the hair dressers car

Is the Mazda MX5 a hair dressers car? Is the Mercedes SLK a hair dressers car? Is the BMW Z4 a hair dressers car? What about the Audi TT, is that hair dressers car?

I only know one hair dresser who’s really into cars, and he drives a Porsche 911. So technically, that IS a hair dressers car, because it’s actually owned by a hair dresser…

But where did this stupid idea come from? Urban Dictionary suggests:

Hair Dressers Car – A small ‘sports car’, featuring an underpowered engine. Predominantly owned by girls & ‘metro’ boys. Has more show than go.

So we’re getting somewhere with the definition, but why the Z4, TT, MX5 and SLK are still getting labelled like this is staggering. Have you seen the Vauxhall Adam? 16 inch wheels, low suspension and a gutless little motor? What about all these ‘Special Edition Vauxhall Corsas that are rolling on 17 inch wheels, wider arches and sports springs yet still badged as a 1.2?

If the MX5, a rear-engined, perfectly balanced sports car that can hit 140mph with the roof down is going to get more stick than a sheep-in-wolfs-clothing-can’t-outrun-your-nan-in-her-1.6-Honda-Jazz then something has to change in the way the general public colloquialise car categorisation… more on this coming up!

Two hair dressers cars

Two hair dressers cars

Your dream Porsche is actually a Porsche

Not an Audi, as mentioned previously.

The evening started pleasantly enough, we took the TT over to Stourport, ambled around, ate chips, strolled by the river. Standard stuff. Luckily my passenger enjoyed the heavy use of the loud pedal so the journey back was spritely…

At a set of traffic lights on the journey home, there it was…

The road stretched ahead of us as we sat and watched vehicles join us from the left, waiting our turn to continue onward. Sneaking through the lights at the last moment, we saw it. The lights went green for us and naturally we gave chase. The TT caught up and the four rings of the Audi badge almost kissed the Turbo insignia below the spoiler of the 2007 911. Dark blue, with dark wheels, we both floored it up the hill to the roundabout; he took the right hand lane and us the left, cheekily accelerating around him on the outside as we joined the dual carriageway. We hadn’t intended to overtake, we’d expected him to turn right towards the motorway, but at the last moment he snuck in behind us, following us down the dual carriageway.

With the TT now ahead, the 911’s headlights filled the rear view mirror – he must have been a hairs breadth from our license plate. We politely moved into the left hand lane, as if some imaginary race steward was frantically waving a blue flag in our direction. The Porsche pulled alongside to overtake and at that moment the planets aligned.

The traffic lights ahead turned red.

Both cars rolled to a stop, staring at a full half mile of uphill, empty dual carriageway.

Pulse racing from the TT’s cheeky, unintentional overtaking manouvre at the roundabout; I hit the switch and lowered the electric window. Everything happened in slow motion. I looked over at the Porsche driver with the biggest grin on my face, and he looked back at me, beaming in agreement. There was no malice between us, no aggression, no disrespect – just a love for the vehicles in which we sat and a joyful acknowledgement of the situation that was unfolding.

We both knew what was about to happen.

We both knew it was ON.

The lights went Orange, and then Green…

The 911 paused for a slit second and I let the clutch out as fast as I dare whilst nailing the throttle – the TT launched, all four wheels clamouring for grip as we bounced off the rev limiter through first and second… The noise from both vehicles was incredible.

We hadn’t made it to third gear before the Porsche rocketed past us.

The roar of the boxer engine and the wail of its turbo filled the TT as the Porsche bellowed up the hill. With the TT still going through the gears at pace the Porsche was gone, at unbelievable velocity the taillights disappeared up the hill and across the roundabout. Despite our best efforts to use the cornering abilities of the TT, by the time we’d crossed the roundabout and hit the second straight of the dual carriageway the Porsche was long gone.

The 225bhp of the TT was no match for the 400bhp produced by the Porsche’s mighty 3.6 litre unit. It wasn’t a massacre, we put up a fight, but the TT was shown its place in the pecking order, given a good solid trouncing by its German cousin.

The TT was still accelerating in fifth gear when my thoughts turned to last weeks ‘Your dream Porsche is an Audi blog’. I turned to my passenger, (who hadn’t read the blog) laughed to myself, and explained the irony of the situation.

Everything had changed in less than a minute.

Your dream Porsche is an Audi until a Porsche comes along and reminds you that your dream Porsche is still a Porsche, for reasons that facts, figures and finance can’t explain.

Motoring is about passion, it’s an insatiable desire, its about design, engineering, and that little extra something… you can’t quantify the experience of nights like tonight, there is no star rating system to dictate how much a car will make your pulse race.

I’ve loved the TT, I’m seriously considering selling the Mondeo and jumping into Audi land.

But one day, sometime in future… it HAS to be a 911.

Written by Joe in June 2013

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Your dream Porsche is actually an Audi

From 2013, written by Joe:

Since I was about 8 I’ve wanted a Porsche 911. Not just any 911, no, that wouldn’t do. The 911 range is famously hard to comprehend, but thanks to the internet I figured it out in no time. It had to be the 2002 911 Carrera 4s. In grey, with Porsche Cup wheels. With black leather. I’ve wanted this car for almost 15 years, it sits on the desktop of my Mac, on my iPhone, there’s even a Matchbox version bluetacked to the top of my Amplifier at home.

The problem is, sometimes in life you’re faced with a shocking realisation.

This realisation happened to me last week. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks in a borrowed 2003 Audi TT 1.8 Turbo 225bhp. Being a petrol head obviously this has been a lot of fun.

For the first few days it was plenty fast enough, it pulls nicely, the turbo whistles as you schnick-schnick through the short range gearbox, the steering feels solid and planted and the Quattro four wheel drive grips like you wouldn’t believe. Even the fuel economy didn’t bother me! And here is the issue. The TT will do 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, can hit speeds well within license-losing territory, is four wheel drive so it works in the wet and ice but it will also return around 32mpg when you’re careful.

Coupled to that; as a second hand buy you can’t have much more fun for the same money. I had these thoughts on my mind as I cruised home, when I noticed I was approaching a familiar vehicle up ahead. Sure enough, in Navy Blue, a 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4s. It wasn’t shifting, but then nor was I. The Porsche pulled in behind and sat on my bumper for the best part of 40 minutes. He didn’t go past, we weren’t doing crazy speeds but this is the point.

The TT is everything the Porsche is, other than around 40mph at the top end. When do you ever reach the top end of a car? If you do, its for a matter of seconds before the hairs on your neck stand up and you ease off the accelerator shaking with adrenalin, sweating slightly and praying that no one saw you do it. You can’t put it on Facebook because everyone will think you’re an idiot. You can’t take a photo because everyone will think you’re an idiot. You can’t tell your mates because they’ll first think you’re an idiot, then remember a time when they have gone faster, for longer.

What’s the point? A week later with the TT and I’m noticing I just want a little more poke… not much, 225bhp is a very usable amount, and that’s the great thing about the TT. With the Quattro, you can get all the horses onto the tarmac and have a lot of fun with it. Could you do that with four, or five, or six hundred horsepower? And here lies the conclusion I’ve reached. My dream car isn’t a 911. It’s a TT, with more power… my dream car is an Audi TT 3.2 V6 Manual. Two weeks in an Audi TT ruined a lifetime of anticipation.

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Audi TT Review

This review was originally written for Wavelength Surf Magazine, January 2013:

Overview:

Being such a huge fan of my everyday Mondeo TDCI Estate, my prediction was that after 10 days I’d hate the TT. I thought the size of it would annoy me, that not being able to get a surfboard in (or on) it would wind me up, and that I’d find the fuel economy tiresome and expensive. It would be too low, too harsh, too flashy.

I was completely wrong. Surfing hasn’t been an issue. In the whole time I’ve had the TT, there has only been one day worth getting wet for – I spent that day strapped to a computer in the office working to a deadline, after which I had to drive straight to Shepton Mallet to work at Relentless NASS festival. No time for an after work surf! I haven’t even thought about putting my board in the car, it’s been onshore and raining for weeks. If this were my long term vehicle, I’d invest in a set of locking roof racks which are available direct from Audi.

Surfing aside, the size of the car hasn’t bothered me. The TT is like a favourite jumper at the end of a long day. You sit low, the seats hug you, it’s a friendly car. The gear changes are incredible, solid, and yet sensual, it’s got a slight roar but nothing raucous. Being Four Wheel Drive, it sticks to the road like you wouldn’t believe (although Koaster suspects the owner of this TT went for cheap tyres…) and is just as happy at the redline as it is cruising at granddad speeds, which makes it a very pleasant car to live with. Although it sits low, if you’re careful it won’t ground out on speed bumps.

On the motorway, it’ll cruise at 44mpg, coming down to around 32mpg on the commute to work in the South West. Sure, if you can’t resist playing with the fun pedal, the figures will drop, but you can’t drive flat out everywhere.

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Negatives:

Not many, but the temperature and air flow controls are ridiculous, style over function. Too many clicks for not enough action! That and it needs cruise control, it’d make motorway driving more economical.

Positives:

What I’ll miss most, (aside from the excellent build quality) is the ‘pinned in your seat quick shift dash’ through 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and the ability to overtake anyone, anywhere. Most of all I’ll miss the sense of occasion. The TT is a great car to see in a car park! Anyone who calls this car a ‘hairdressers car’ clearly hasn’t driven the 225bhp version, it really is well worth considering as a second hand buy.

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Verdict:

The TT is a car I would buy, no question. The build quality, size, acceleration, comfort and style are all spot on. You can’t find much more out there for the same money in the second hand market. Although after two weeks, I have to admit I wanted a little more poke. Not much, but just a little more oomph. If it was my money, it’d have to be the 3.2 V6 – with cruise control!

One final confession – despite the weather, mine would be a roadster. The ability to drop the roof at any given moment is just too much to resist!

Useful Facts and Figures:

Engine Size: 1.8 Petrol (Turbo)
Power: 225bhp
Real World Economy: 34mpg

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