Paris is a place where only the most delicious of automotive design dishes are served up for the public to enjoy. Most of the time, it is to let the world get a taste of the new flavor of what is soon to come for any given brand. With much of the automotive universe in glowing health after the better part of a decade in the doldrums, there are sparks of excitement and genuine optimism again – and it is certainly showing in the metal.
There were many standouts this year; however after much thought I have narrowed it down to simply one choice for best in show. This multi-layered triumph was etched into my brain and has not dissipated. It must be built to let its tires enjoy the road and not just a rotating show stand.
The clear winner and best in show is none other than the Audi TT Sportback. When you can take a niche player like the TT, make it a niche of a niche when you turn it into a four-door coupe – you actually revolutionize the original and make it mainstream. It makes the TT practical, it instantly becomes the most beautiful of the four door coupes, and it will instantly add sales volume for Audi. What it does not do is make people drowsy with “me too” styling.
The recipe adds just what is needed to make it work, 11.4 inches longer, 2.4 inches wider, and a 4.7-inch longer wheelbase. To keep it sleek, it is wisely 1.2 inches lower. From a design that is still 90% pure TT, somehow it wears its proportions better than the two door. The overall flow is even more fluid, as is the tail end treatment. The ¾ view is the real triumph, in that it resolved potential issues with graceful lines that corporate sisters CC, A7, and most of all the Panamera have yet to pull off as successfully.
You will now have space for four actual humans to sit comfortably – as opposed to the traditional TT. You will also get the same amazing luxurious cockpit as the 2016 TT including the all digital configurable instrument cluster as well as the digital readouts in the turbine-like air vents. After years of dozing off in the interior design department, Audi finally remembered that they were praised in the past for having the best in the business. Now once again, neither the inside nor the outside disappoints. The powertrain is also a tour de force – a 2.0-liter engine that can produce 400 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque through a 7 speed dual-clutch automatic. Obviously quattro all-wheel drive is there to put all of that tire melting power to the ground, which allows the TT Sportback concept to rocket from 60 mph in under 4 seconds.