Everything about this car is new, from its architecture to its performance and driveability, and yet it is still unmistakably a TT. This is the second generation of Audi’s small coupé which, when it was presented in 1998, was groundbreaking in both shape and in its very concept of a compact sports car that was youthful, contemporary, minimalist yet also highly expressive. This was a tough act to follow, then, as is always the case with a successful car. “The TT has always been nonconformist, a model standing apart in the range”, asserts Walter de’ Silva, as he describes the creation of this new iteration. “We spent months brainstorming with the management to identify the best direction to take. We considered every possibility imaginable from creating a completely different model to evolving the existing TT, remaining as close as possible to its design.”

After lengthy discussions in 2002, the design team and top brass came to a mutual decision: “We realised that this is an icon model – the TT has cult status and even has its own fans. To give up on all this would have been madness.”

This changing of the guard has produced a TT that is “more sinuous, sculpted and dynamic where the former was more geometric”. The original coupé was defined by many as an icon car. Does de’ Silva agree with this definition? “An icon is something that makes its mark at first glance. Mini, Beetle, DS, 911 and 500 – there’s no need to name the brand, these cars have become universally recognisable over time. Our goal with this project was precisely the immediate recognisability of the car. From this perspective, it is reasonable to call the TT an icon. One thing is certain though, the new TT will be the central icon for all of our sports models in future.”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 159

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