26 Apr 2013

Audi TT Ultra quattro concept - Why tease us, Audi? We know you won't make it

The Audi TT Ultra quattro concept is a lightweight TT with 306bhp and lots of cutting edge, lightweight  tech.  It yields 275bhp per tonne and has a 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds.  It weighs 1,111kg - 300kg lighter than the nearest equivalent production TT.

It is a statement of intent, designed for an annual VW/Audi festival in Worthersee, Germany.  Every year some branch of the VW Group produces a special for Worthersee.

The engine is a breathed on version of the 2.0 TFSI that's 25kg lighter than the standard unit, and produces more power by crankcase, crankshaft, balancer shafts, flywheel, sump and ancillary unit modifications.

The bodyshell in the standard TT weighs 206kg.  The Ultra quattro's bodyshell weighs just 163kg.  This is achieved by using carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) in major areas such as the transmission tunnel and roof.  The wing mirrors have been removed and replaced with cameras and a monitor in place of the rear view mirror in order to reduce drag and weight.

The front brake discs are ceramic whilst the calipers are aluminium.  The exhaust is made from titanium and even the wheels are CFRP and aluminium.  This lot sheds another 20 kg.

The most amazing use of materials is in the springs.  The springs in the Ultra quattro are made from Fibreglass Reinforced Polymer, which makes them 40% lighter than steel.  FRP is also the material used in the seats - which are taken straight from the R8.

It's a pretty amazing car.  Despite the high-tec materials it's a lightweight, simple, fast car - which is what we all want.  As well as increasing performance the lighter weight improves economy.  Which makes it all the more shame Audi won't actually build it.  Car manufacturers are obsessed with selling us cars packed with more and more technologically advanced kit, not less.

Modern cars are big, heavy lumps full of tech we don't want or need.  The TT Ultra quattro has electric windows and air-conditioning which, along with a stereo, is about all the tech required.  It even has a manual gearbox.  Brilliant.

The one disappointment about the Ultra quattro concept?  It has that stupid electric parking brake.  Even Audi's brilliant engineers couldn't bring themselves to give us a proper handbrake.