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Audi TT’s virtual cockpit is game-changer

The now familiar soap-dish silhouette evokes mostly lust and passion among fans of the German-engineered coupe and roadster; with each successive generation, the 2016 Audi TT is more of a sports car.

Harvey Huffman, brand specialist at Audi Las Vegas, said one of the most impressive features on the Audi TT is the virtual cockpit.

“It’s phenomenal because you don’t have to remove your hands from the steering wheel to navigate or for a phone call or text message,” he said. “All of the features are controlled by the center control or steering wheel.”

Huffman added that the virtual cockpit is a first for the automotive industry.

“It’s one of those things you have to see how it functions in person,” he said. “It’s totally unique and brand new to the car industry. The TT is the first Audi to have it and all of our models will have this feature in the future.”

The 2016 TT also boasts a brand-new design, upgraded seats, climate controls and transmission with shifting software.

“It also has all-wheel drive, which is unique to sports cars,” Huffman said. “It’s been completely rebuilt from the ground up.”

VW-Audi’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 220 horsepower in the TT and 292 in the TTS; a six-speed automated manual and all-wheel-drive are common to both.

Some critics might quibble that the TT really hasn’t changed much over the years and you’ll get no argument from Audi on that point. Still, cloaked with new sheet metal, the TT duo has never looked sharper. Other than a reshaped hexagonal grille and angular headlights, the exterior changes are very subtle.

Inside, the flat-bottom, multifunction steering wheel is back and the display screen has melded with the gauges into a feature called the Multi Media Interface.

Located between the scalable (adjustable for size) tachometer and speedometer, the 12.3-inch-wide MMI screen can display communication, infotainment and other data such as a trip computer, fuel status and outside temperature.

Pushing the start button brings to life Audi’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that now generates 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque (the 2015 version made 211/258). The output of the returning TTS has risen to 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from 265/258.

A six-speed paddle-shift automated manual is the sole transmission. It parcels out engine torque through Audi’s permanently engaged all-wheel-drive Quattro system that also comes standard. Audi’s test results give the TT a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. The TT is no slouch in the standard content department.

All come with dual-zone climate control, keyless start, 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch performance summer tires and a nine-speaker audio system. Along with the navigation system, a quartet of packages includes more heavily bolstered sport seats, premium leather seat coverings, rearview camera and a premium Bang & Olufsen-brand sound package.

The base price for the two-door coupe is $43,800 and $46,400 for the roadster.

“Customers absolutely love it,” Huffman said. “It’s a very impressive car.”

— Reporter Ann Friedman contributed to this report.

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