The only area where the new Audi TT doesn’t score is exclusivity…


It really is is difficult to spot the difference between this latest TT and the last model. My best advice is to look carefully at the headlight cluster – 2015 TT has much narrower lenses.

The interior is an improvement over the previous TT too but what really stands this latest version apart isn’t the aesthetics, it’s the drive.

New TT is sensational. The steering inspires confidence, the brakes have great feel and, well, everything about the TT just feels right. You will want to own one because it makes you feel good.

Shame then that the one feature the TT has never had is exclusivity. You just know that in two years time, every Tom, Dick and Harry will be driving one.

Like the brilliant VW Golf GTI, the TT is a victim of it’s own success. So buy one now – before they become too common…

Audi’s new TTS is quick – so what is the RS version going to bring to the party?


If the TDI and TFSI TT don’t offer enough grunt for your taste then this month Audi unleashed the answer – the all-new TTS.

With power output upped to 310bhp, the TT is suddenly brushing on supercar status. The 0-60mph time is trimmed to 4.6 seconds and the car is available as coupe or convertible too.

Prices start at around £39,000 – which seems like good money when you consider the TTS is almost as quick as a Porsche 911.

Many people will be waiting for the RS version of the TT that is destined to be even quicker. As the TDI is no slouch, I can’t imagine what that’s going to perform like!

My landmark diesel moments from the last 30 years of clattering…


There has been several defining diesel moments in my life. One was when a neighbour used to wake me every morning by firing up his 1980s Audi diesel. Painful.

Another was when BMW launched the 2003 5-Series range in Spain. I drove the 535d back to England, convinced the diesel market had changed forever because the car was so damn good.

The most terrifying was being a passenger in Peugeot’s Le Mans winning car – at Le Mans. Shame we never saw that one on the public road.

And now there is the Audi TT TDI. This engine/coupe combination is simply class-leading. It takes diesel power to a new, much higher level that rewards the driver not just with economy, but with great performance.

Sure it takes the TDI around 7.5 seconds to reach 60mph but the torque is incredible. The TDI is no longer a poor relation to the petrol unit. It’s quite possibly the better car…

Buying a new motor involves six months of research looking at car ‘porn’


Come September I’m buying a new car. For me, that involves six months of research and delicious car ‘porn’. At least I can now rule the Maserati Gran Turismo out of the equation.

I’m currently in Northern Ireland, driving the Maserati around County Down. Turns out the 2+2 is stunning in the metal – but lacks the drivability of the Porsche 911, Jaguar XKR, or even the Golf R.

The Mazzer is, like all Maseratis, beautiful but flawed. It’s a supermodel with a scar on her cheek, you simply can’t escape the fact that the Gran Turismo has a deep secret – it doesn’t drive well.

Entering the equation instead is the new Audi TT – except I need the RS version to come along sooner rather than later. Razor sharp handling, high tech interior – it’s a no brainer…

Razor sharp – handling in the new Audi TT is astoundingly good


Razor sharp. That’s how I would describe the handling of the new Audi TT. After steering the boat-like Mulsanne for a week, this coupe feels like an F1 car through the corners.

In fact, the first left-hander I tackled in anger, I over-compensated and almost lost the TT in a hedge. It’s staggeringly good and every inch as precise as a Porsche 911.

I can recall testing the last generation TT cabriolet, back-to-back with a Boxster. The TT may have enjoyed quattro four-wheel drive but the Porsche felt more balanced and settled through a corner.

Now I wouldn’t be so sure. The new Boxster is, of course, a barnstormer but I reckon the latest TT would be on a par. And the Audi costs less – plus our test car isn’t a grippy quattro. It’s astoundingly good!

The Audi TT’s digi dashboard is groundbreaking – expect other manufacturers to follow the same design path


I wondered if Audi could up their game on the latest TT dashboard – they’ve done it in style. While the original TT  was an interior masterclass, the last, out-going model was a massive disappointment, with switches and dials we’ve seen elsewhere in the Audi range.

However, the 3D digital dash of the latest model is groundbreaking. You just know that other manufacturers will be copying the format and that we will see a rash of digi dashes on the market over the next few years.

In practical terms it means no ugly screen in the middle of the dashboard any more because the sat nav is now displayed in the instrument binnacle, right in front of the driver. Simple, brilliant, safer.

You can flick between the different systems – perhaps choosing the classic speedo, rev counter view – which all appear as graphics. Add to this the flat bottomed, multi-function steering wheel and it won’t be long before we have a totally ‘clean’ dashboard’ in future cars, without buttons or dials…

Can the new Audi TT possibly be as good as the reviews make out?


I’ve owned a first and second generation Audi TT. I loved the original because it had a stylish interior that has yet to be surpassed – and I liked the latter model because it was good at everything.

Well, good at most things. It wasn’t very happy driving forward at speeds in excess of 70mph without suffering significant steering wheel vibration. Despite three weeks in Audi warranty care, they never solved the problem and at times, didn’t seem to care.

So that left a rather bad taste in my mouth which also cost me a packet. Hence I approach the new Audi TT with some trepidation. Can it possibly be as good as the reviews make out?

I’m certain the steering wheel won’t vibrate in our test car but it’s going to have to be very good to tempt me away from a Porsche Cayman – the current coupe of choice. More tomorrow….

The Bentley Mulsanne is just too big for British roads


The Mulsanne has gone and I’ve had a few days to mull over my thoughts. For all the plush carpet, fine veneer wood and luxury gizmos, I can’t say the Bentley is a car that suits UK roads.

Apart from the frequent bouts of road rage it seems to evoke from other drivers, the Mulsanne is simply so big that it doesn’t ‘work’ on our narrow strips of Tarmac.

It’s so large that urban driving is a nightmare – and as my trip to the Lake District proved, it also doesn’t enjoy narrow, country lanes either.

No, the Bentley is going to sit most comfortably on a US highway, a wide Hollywood boulevard, or outside a prince’s house in the UAE.

I love the comfort, the turn of speed in ‘sport’ mode and those electric, sliding privacy curtains in the back but the UK-built Mulsanne should be ‘Export Only’….

What’s the most hated car in the Lake District? I’m driving it… the Bentley Mulsanne


Road rage. What’s that all about? Well, if you want to wind up another car driver then sell the house and buy a Bentley Mulsanne my friend. After three days in the Lake District, I’m mighty relieved to be back in the Deep South. That’s the Cotswolds, if you’re not English.

It started with a van driver, who was determined not to let the ‘posh’ car past on a dual carriageway. He managed to drag his overtaking manoeuvre out for three miles then swerved violently sideways towards me as I wound the Mulsanne up to slip by.

Later that evening, a spotty oik in a Peugeot 206 decided he wanted to overtake the Bentley on a winding country lane, about the width of, well, a Bentley Mulsanne. What followed was a cat an mouse game of madness. Yes, I should have stopped and let him past but I was moving at a swift pace and there seemed no logic in his actions.

Finally, last night a Mini lodged so close on the back bumper I was afraid to brake. If I had, he/she would have discovered the penalty for tailgating a Mulsanne is probably £30k+.

At least I discovered what those automatic rear curtains are for – blocking out the following headlights of lunatics… And that the Mulsanne isn’t meant for Beatrix Potter-style lanes in the Lakes…

The unwelcome element of driving a Bentley Mulsanne in the UK


There’s one very unwelcome element to driving any Bentley – the unwanted attention of ‘angry’ drivers. You know the sort – people who pull out in front of you on a dual carriageway and then deliberately slow down as they overtake.

It seems to be a weird national sport in the UK, especially among white van drivers who are upset at the fact you just happen to be in an expensive car and therefore, by their screwy reasoning, must be a posh git.

It happened yesterday as I drove up to the Lake District (averaging a quite remarkably 23.3mpg!). Not even a flash from those big plate headlights would make the plonker move over.

I suppose the joke’s on him ultimately because I couldn’t even afford a set of tyres for the Mulsanne.

Never judge a man by the wheels he is driving…