ANOTHER week, another car with tyres that produce too much road noise — either the Sunday Times Driving columnist Jeremy Clarkson is having a run of very bad luck on this front or he needs to have his hearing checked.
But the noise coming from the rubber fitted to the Audi TTS roadster isn’t so much a problem as one of the few interesting blots on what is otherwise a very good but not terrifically interesting car, he argues in today’s paper.
The writer also identifies a jostly ride on London’s potholed roads and excessive the wind noise over the canvas roof at motorway speeds (drowned out only by the tyres), but on country roads with the roof down and the sun out, things are different:
“It was all lovely. If it had been a ploughman’s lunch, the cheese would have been crumbly, the apple crisp, the pickle from Branston and the onion sharp enough to cross your eyes. If it had been a film, it would have been Avengers: Endgame, a wonderful example of movie-making in the 21st century.”
Clarkson also appreciates the well-thought-out interior design with a surprisingly big boot, controls that are big and easy to use, a sat nav screen located in the instrument binnacle, where it’s in your line of sight, and seats that are both supportive and comfortable.
“We’ve been making cars for more than 100 years now and the TT demonstrates Audi is well on top of the game,” he writes. “All of the things that might at one time have driven us mad are gone. There’s now just a wall of common sense, layered on top of good practical thinking.”
Sadly, he argues, this all makes the TT rather unmemorable. There’s just no pleasing some people, is there?
“I suspect it’d be the same story with the Mercedes SLC and the new BMW Z4. I have driven neither but they will both suffer from the Audi’s inability to pout and give you a come-hither look. They are just very, very good machines, when what you really want from a convertible sports car is something else, something more.”
Which is why he’d rather own an “infinitely more terrible” Triumph TR6, which he says would break down whenever it was cold and overheat whenever it wasn’t.
Clarkson has never really been a classic car enthusiast but this comment and some recent challenges on The Grand Tour (we’re thinking in particular of his Ford Cortina feature or this segment while driving an Alfa Romeo GTV6 in Scotland) suggest that might be changing.