My car's coming up for replacement and with all the hype about the latest A*** TT I thought I check out my options... I'm an ordinary tart, so I won't even try to justify spending my hard earned on an AMG43 SLC or TTS or heaven forbid a TT-RS to myself, so all you rich people can stop reading now if you like.. this one's for the ordinary folk.
Last W/E I took both cars out for extended back to back test drives. I really liked driving the TT... for a while, but didn't really feel it was "my thing". I couldn't put my finger on what I found off putting about it until I read this
comparison, everything the reviewer cites as a positive in favour of the TT was the exact opposite of what I was looking for.
The motoring press and online reviews will have you believe the new TT is the most sophisticated and bleeding edge coupe/convertible, the embodiment of contemporary design and chic, but is it really?
That the TT is a sharp car, there wasn't much doubt in my mind about that.
Body styling: Both cars follow their respective manufacturers current design language, the TT's styling is angular and edgy, the SLC more curvaceous and organic, these are themes that follow through to almost every other aspect of the cars themselves.
Interior design and layout: The motoring press keep saying that the TT is the last word in sophisticated design, I found it to be a bit flashy and fussy, there are some very nice touches but there's a bit too much going on - everywhere. The Audis virtual cockpit with sat nav is very hi-tech and clever but didn't look to be as sharp as the Comand Nav screen in the SLC, as for the other things the journos rave about e.g. fit and finish + materials.. I preferred the dated (read: deliberately retro and harmonious) asthetic of the SLC (strangely, the same features generally receive high praise in the SL). The one area I felt they were right was the design and feedback of the rotary controls, IMO MB could do with a bit of refinement here and make it more like the latest C class, but it's s very small point This isn't all one sided though, the TTs indicator stalks look like they were lifted direct from a VW Polo or something and the plethora of steering wheel controls and other buttons just look messy to my eye. The SLC is very like Apple computers industrial design philosophy, clean and somewhat understated.
Driving dynamics: The TT is again very sharp and on the money, the steering wheel is placed much lower than the SLC and felt much more go-kart like in it's position and directness with an extremely responsive engine and gearbox. The TTs 19" wheels and stiffer suspension made for a very taut ride But there's a downside, it didn't feel at all relaxed and what ultimately hit home to me was that I want a smooth, comfortable and chilled convertible with a reasonable amount of power and sophistication. The press also claim that he TTs brakes are superior but I honestly didn't notice any difference from the SLC whatsoever.
Practicality: The SLC's hard top (with optional Pano roof) wins hands down for me, it lends a degree of lightness and airiness to the cockpit that the TT sadly lacks with the roof up. It gives the SLC a degree of tranquility the the Audi just couldn't match. The boot space (with the roof up) is much more usable in the SLC too.
Maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but ultimately the TT felt much like my beloved (and now gone) MR2 Turbo... great fun, but the car I would choose to leave in my garage 99% of the time, and that's not a great indictment of a Ł40K plus car.
Whilst both these cars may ostensibly appear to serve the same market sector, that of open top 2 seaters, in reality they don't actually bear much of a direct comparison, the TT felt much more of a traditional "Sports Car" and the SLC like a refined "Grand Tourer". I was initially very impressed with the TT but tired of it's pushiness very quickly, I dread to imagine driving any distance in it, whereas even with my current SLK, after a long journey I always get out wishing it could've gone on for longer.
Of course, this is all just my personal opinion.. all the factors above are extremely subjective.
So my recommendation is, don't slavishly follow the opinions of the motoring journalists, they've got a vested interest in promoting the latest trend (otherwise they'd be out of a job pretty sharpish), follow your own instincts, test drive all your options and assess them against your OWN criteria then trust yourself to make the right decision.. for your own personal circumstances!