Christmas was a real test for my Audi TT 3.2 V6. It had hardly any miles put on it, and then lots all in one go.
|The TT in its garage|
I moved house in September. Two benefits of moving are that the new house has a garage and it is close enough to my son's school that he can walk.
Which means a) the TT is nice and cosy at night and b) it doesn't get taken out on the school run. In fact because the old house was nowhere near anything and the new house is in a village I hardly drive the car out of necessity at all.
As well as the school I've two take-aways and two local shops within half a mile. Also, because 1,500 acres of woodland is a 10 minute walk I don't even have to drive to take the dog for a walk.
Until very recently I've worked from home so I haven't even had a commute.
Either I have to come up with an excuse to drive the car or it stays snug in its garage, keeping the bike company.
Sometimes if I can't be arsed walking I drive to the shop. This means two 560 metre journeys on a cold engine. The heater doesn't throw out any heat but the seat heats up just as I arrive at the Co-Op.
The TT's heated seats are lightning-quick in their efficacy. Set them to 2 and your bum is toasty in seconds, set them to 3 and you start to feel a little uncomfortable, turn them all the way up to 7 and your butt is on fire.
But lots of short journeys doesn't do a car any good so I try and walk as much as possible. The oil takes a while to get going and lubricate the engine, and it doesn't operate properly until it's hot. The 3.2 V6 in the TT has a chain driven cam so constant running cold doesn't do that much good either.
However, the car exhibited no signs of stress despite me not being arsed to walk many times. It's a great design and is solidly put together, and the V6 is pretty much unburstable - compare that with the potential self detonation that could happen at any time in a 986 Porsche Boxster S and I'm glad I plumped for the Audi.
One funny habit it has is as a result of its quattro four wheel drive system.
My driveway is at right angles to the road (obviously) and starts with a steep incline which then levels out as you hit the drive itself. This means to enter you slow to a crawl and turn hard left into it.
As I turn the tyres scrub a little. The diff mustn't be able to cope with the difference in distance (and therefore speed) of the front wheels and tyres so, because the outside wheel is travelling further than the inside and the differential isn't allowing enough difference in movement between them, they skid a little. It's tiny but noticeable, and is only perceptible on the front wheels.
The TT's four wheel drive is a Haldex unit. The front wheels are permanently engaged whilst a driveshaft to the rear diff is permanently rotating in time with the fronts'. The rear diff contains a clutch which locks on when the front wheels slip thus engaging the rear wheels.
It's a system that functions without you noticing. Despite having 250bhp the TT V6 never torque steers and will slide nicely from the rear if I bang the throttle down on a slippery surface. ESP isn't worth having as the quattro system tidies up any cack-handed driving.
Anyway, the car doesn't deserve to be driven just on short journeys so, happily enough, I took it for a long drive over Christmas.
|There may be a teensy weensy amount of filter on this picture|
My brother lives in Cheshire and I live in West Berkshire. My dad lives in south Wales. In 48 hours I drove to my brothers house, partied then slept, then drove to my dad's to say hello then home again. Day 1 saw 189 miles in 5 and a half hours. The A34 was terrible, the M40 was dreadful, the M42 was absolute shite, the M6 Toll was absolute bliss and the M6 was a sheer bloody nightmare.
But through it all the car was a pleasure to drive.
Day 2 saw 320 miles from Cheshire to Laleston and back to West Berkshire. I was in a bit of a state but, again, the car was perfect. It returned an average of 29.6mpg despite day 1's stop/start traffic, which isn't bad from a V6.
It helps that the driving position is spot on. Also, the suspension is pretty good at speed, although it crashes over speed bumps.
Before and after the trip I checked all the car's fluids. It didn't use any oil at all, and never does outside of oil change time.
It's funny, I'm selling the TT soon, and replacing it with a new Volvo XC60 (I know - how different!?), and I don't miss modern driver aids in it yet when speccing my Volvo I'm glad it's got a decent screen with bluetooth, DAB, cruise control and parking sensors.
I can forgive a car for not having modern tech if it didn't have it fitted in the first place because it wasn't available when it was built, but for any car built in 2015 I would expect the aforesaid cruise control, DAB, bluetooth, parking sensors and all the modern safety features we've come to expect. But that's another subject for another blog.
Thanks for reading, have a great 2015 and happy motoring.
By Matt Hubbard