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Roadtest of Audi TT 3.2 Quattro

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First Drive: 2004 Audi TT 3.2 quattro

TT now stands for totally torquey

By Jack Keebler

Motor Trend, June 2003

Audi launches its most powerful TT in Europe this summer, and it comes to the U.S. in the fall. The heart of this coupe and roadster variant is a compact 250-horsepower DOHC V-6. This maximum-strength VR6 takes up about as much space as an inline-four, but continuously adjustable cams and a variable intake manifold help it pump out enough torque to convince us a gutsy six-banger is on the job.

Making sure the extra go gets to the road is the company's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system and a fresh stroke in transmission design, called the DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox). It combines the dynamic and efficiency advantages of a six-speed manual with the lazy-cruise benefits of an automatic.

This unique three-shaft transmission essentially functions as two gearboxes working in tandem with two separately activated, concentric, multiplate wet clutches spooling on a hollow input shaft. One transmission gear cluster supplies first, third, fifth, and reverse. The other provides second, fourth, and sixth. Imagine two electronic relay runners performing a smooth baton hand-off during a gear change. The driver selects either manual or auto operation with a shift lever on the tunnel. Shifts up or down occur with perfectly matched revs and a preselected gear using paddles on the back of the steering wheel. DSG shifts proved lightning quick and pro-driver slick.

We found three nits to pick. When the steering wheel is turned while negotiating a tight, low-speed curve, the paddles can rotate to a point where they're not easily reached for the exit upshift. The 3.2's stiffer suspension will definitely make rough American-style roads a noisy, bumpy experience. And we question if even 250 is enough horsepower for what's supposed to be an Audi ultimate-performance statement, even if this is one of the finest-driving coupes we've ever sampled. But that seems to be the level at which the RX8 and 350Z have settled, so we'll see. Otherwise, it's nice to have some real power to go with all the TT's long-acknowledged style.

2004 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro

Price range $40,000 (est)

Vehicle layout Front engine, awd, 2-door, 2-pass

Engine 3.2-liter/250-hp V-6, DOHC, 4 valves/cyl

0-60 mph, sec 6.0 (est)

On sale in U.S. November 2003


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Originally posted by teklord310

Does it have a clutch?

Enough said...


Yeah, two of them actually... ;)

"At a basic level DSG is a dual-clutch electronically controlled transmission that can be shifted manually via the shift lever or paddles on the steering wheel or it can be dumped into drive and used like an automatic - there is no clutch pedal. DSG utilizes 2 clutches, 2 main input shafts and 2 sets of gears - 1st, 3rd, 5th and Reverse on one shaft and 2nd, 4th, and 6th on the other. Because this is a wet system, there is an oil coiler and oil filter attached to the transmission.

DSG is completely different from BMW's SMG and Ferrari's F1 system in that it has two clutches instead of one. This means that DSG can fire off an upshift in .008 seconds whereas BMW's SMG takes .8 seconds to make the same shift.

Here's how it works: At a stop, the transmission drops into neutral. When you start to lift your foot off the brake, the clutch connected to input shaft 1 will smoothly engage moving the car forward much like a manual transmission except electronically and automatically. Input shaft 1 is now controlling first gear providing power to the wheels. While input shaft 1 is in first, input shaft two has selected 2nd gear in anticipation of the next upshift. When the transmission requests 2nd gear (either via the paddles, gate or automatically) clutch one opens up and clutch two engages in as quickly as .008 seconds. There is a certain amount of slippage in the clutches to ensure a smooth transition from gear to gear. In the event of a downshift, the transmission will request a throttle blip from the engine ECU to match revs and then shift down a gear - this happens in as quick as .6 seconds including the throttle matching. The transmission can even shift from 6th to 2nd gear without having to sequentially run down through every gear. In this case, DSG will switch input shafts from 6th gear going to 5th temporarily on input shaft 2 and then into 2nd with input shaft 1 while blipping the throttle to match revs - all in less than .9 seconds.

The entire system is electronically monitored and controlled via a mechatronics module inside the transmission. This module communicates with the engine ECU and other electronic systems as well."


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