The original Audi TT was a little sporty-ish coupe ostensibly based on a Volkswagen Golf. Throughout the years it's grown more aggressive, and also grown out. And while it still shares a platform with the Golf, with the Audi TT Offroad concept, the little coupe is finally growing up. Literally.
Audi's been dropping the same kind of hints a 12-year old with a crush has been dropping for the past couple of months about expanding the TT line into its own sub-brand. That is, they weren't so much hints, as they were big wallops to the head head that redefined the word "subtlety."
Sure, it started out normally enough, with the 2015 Audi TT. Then there was the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept, which we loved and adored, but it looked like a shot straight across the bow of the original pathos of the TT. It wasn't a little coupe anymore, it was a funky hatch with a hankering to pound dirt. But Audi, being what Germans understand as "coy," didn't put the dual-lettered nomenclature of "TT" in the name.
With the TT Offroad Concept, that changes.
And if this doesn't scream "the future of the Audi TT," then nothing does. And the future is weirder than you imagined, if you imagined it to be the same as now, which it will not be, if living really anything beyond the age of 5 has taught you.
(Oh, and if you still insist on shutting you eyes and ears to the future, the man with the most German name on Earth, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, said that the Audi TT Offroad Concept is "a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in a future TT family." So there's that.)
Not only is the height obviously raised, but there are other big differences as well beyond the size. First and foremost is that this thing has four doors. Yep, four. Go ahead and count them. I'll wait.
Yes, we live in a future where even the Audi TT is a sedan.
But it gets further from the original than that, though perhaps a bit more unsurprisingly. Because this TT is a hybrid.
And not just any hybrid, but a plug-in hybrid. Not only does it have a 53-horse electric motor up front to help out the 292-horse gasoline engine, but out back it's got a 114-horsepower motor as well. That gives it a stonking total of 459 horses, which is definitely nothing to be sneezing at.
Oh, yeah, did I say it was a "plug-in hybrid?" About that. Sure, it can be plugged in, but this is one of the first plug-ins that comes wireless.
That's because Audi's devised a non-plug-in plugging-in system, if that makes sense. It's a bit complicated, so I'll just let the press release explain it:
The show car is also designed for use with Audi Wireless Charging technology for contactless inductive charging. The infrastructure side – a plate with a coil and an inverter (AC/AC converter) – is placed on the parking spot of the Audi TT offroad concept and connected to the power grid. The charging process begins automatically when the car drives onto the plate. The alternating magnetic field of the infrastructure side induces a 3.3 kW alternating current across the air gap in the secondary coil, which is integrated into the vehicle. The current is inverted and fed into the electrical system.
Charging stops automatically when the battery is fully charged. It takes about as long as charging via a cable, and the driver can interrupt the process at any time. The Audi Wireless Charging technology is more than 90 percent efficient, and is not affected by weather factors such as rain, snow or ice. The alternating field, which is only generated when a car is on the plate, is not harmful for people or animals.
That kind of wireless charging technology isn't exactly uncommon in some phones, but this is definitely part one of the pioneers for the technology in cars. I am not an engineer, so I'm going to have to plead ignorance, but getting electricity to somehow make the jump over the air gap between the ground and the heightened underbody of the car seems damn near magical to me. Place a phone on a pad, sure, that's pretty neat. But making it go through-the-air?
Oh, and Audi's press release wants you to know the thing has cupholders, too.
Photo credit: Audi