Seems like heart & mind are at odds in Ingolstadt.
For German luxury marque Audi, who are fully committed to ensuring a sustainable future for themselves and the automotive industry as a whole, difficult decisions have to be made with regards to models that fill certain subjective criteria, but don’t quite stack up objectively. They’ve already decided to take an axe to the R8 supercar but have promised to revive it as a balls-out e-tron model at a later date, but while that’ll live as a line-up halo, certainty has not been afforded its smaller sibling, the TT.
When the TT rolled out at the beginning of the millennium, it was hailed as a design icon that brought back fun & funk into the dying small sports car segment. It offered more posh & panache than a Mazda MX-5, and it was never hailed as a drivers’ car, it served itself up with style & grace that kept it in the focus of the buying public for far longer than its competitors.
The TT to Audi then was what the Evoque was to Range Rover when that debuted, a sharply-trained arrow on a growing trend that heralded massive success. But while the SUV craze has yet to die down, the sun appears to be setting on Audi’s small sports car, even though Audi themselves would rather it didn’t.
The future of the TT is something of a frequently-asked question, and when brand boss Bram Schot was cornered at the Geneva motor show by the hacks at Autocar, he had this to say:
“That is a very good question [regarding the future of the TT]. I think there is a future for an Audi icon, but I don’t know if it’s a TT. My heart bleeds when you ask that question! I’ve got some things cooking which could replace the TT, though not necessarily directly.” – Bram Schot, Chief Executive Officer, Audi AG
After the Geneva motor show, the same hacks caught up with Audi’s technical development boss Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, who said that the board of management in Ingolstadt are “fighting for” the TT, saying that while they “want it,” the TT has been at the centre of “emotional discussions” within Audi boardrooms for some time.
It’s clear that there’s two minds where the TT is concerned, and we’re sympathetic to the brand. The TT has evolved into a style icon for the brand, a car that is unmistakably Audi, and that’s a difficult model to simply shut the door on. There are rumours that while the TT moniker will be retained, the form-factor may evolve into a 4-door liftback, which would most certainly appeal to a broader audience than the current compact coupé, but would likely tread on the toes of the Audi A5. What will Audi do?