I£€™m not convinced diesel engines are a good thing in sports cars but there are so few safe opportunities, other than on a track to really drive a sports car like a sports car that it doesn£€™t matter for many buyers.
Smooth and quiet main road cruising is more important along with good looks and that it feels well made. And for every day real world driving diesels are easier than petrol and use less fuel. Providing it isn£€™t a pain around town such a car is 90% of the way there so where does that put Audi£€™s new TT when powered by the Ultra diesel engine.
It£€™s a thirty grand car and more than that if you tick a few extras such as the £1,795 technology pack with MMI Navigation Plus which lets the 3D map almost the fill the electronic instrument panel.
The 2-litre engine£€™s nature is obvious on start up; it£€™s the rattle of a diesel not the lovely note of petrol V6 or the burble of a V8. And if you need to set the satellite navigation you will be sitting there for a while waiting for it to boot up.
Thankfully, the engine sounds sporty and non-diesel like when you work it, but there isn£€™t the fun of making it sing and hanging on to the revs like a non-turbo petrol engine.
The performance is there though. Maximum speed is 150mph and the car will claw its way to 62mph in 7.1 seconds.
The official fuel consumption figures, which these days seem nearer real life in the case of big SUVs, say a combined cycle fuel thirst of 62.8mpg.We averaged 48mpg.
Some TTs have Audi£€™s all-wheel drive quattro system but the diesel is front wheel drive only. Diesel engines are heavier than petrol ones but Audi has done well disguising the weight and the car corners predictably.
If you do push too hard an electronic limited slip differential, part of the electronic stability system, brakes the inside front wheel slightly to stop the car ploughing straight on.
Sport suspension makes the ride quite firm but not bone jarring. S Line is firmer by the way. I£€™m fussy about braking response and the TT£€™s were too sharp with too much power assistance.
The car has £€˜progressive£€™ steering so it is less precise around the straight ahead and sharper when the steering wheel is rotated more. This makes parking easy but on fast roads with tight bends it felt inconsistent and I felt I was making mid corner corrections. I would prefer standard steering.
Audi has fitted the seats lower so you feel more part of the car. The usual Audi drive select system lets you choose comfort mode, dynamic or auto where the car adjusts to how you drive it.
There is also efficiency mode to help achieve the best fuel consumption.
On cars fitted with Audi£€™s MMI navigation there£€™s a fifth £€˜individual£€™ mode that is largely configurable. White cars can look cheap. Audi£€™s answer is Glacier White at £550 which even had our builders coming out and inspecting. And they drive a black van by the way.
Despite the car£€™s price and image the heating isn£€™t set and forget climate control so you don£€™t get the neat temperature readout on the dashboard air vents like some models.
I thought the cabin ambience was great but a lot of women buy TTs and my wife thought the steering wheel was too fancy with all the chrome effect on it. There are also convertible diesels but you would hear the engine rattle more.
Verdict A sporting chariot for diesel engine fans.