as always mystified those of us who know something about cars to see the unthinking adulation accorded by so many designers to the Audi TT. This is a squat, dumpy machine with Fisher Price detailing and a rear window seemingly plucked at random from the VW Group’s parts bin.
Further, its styling consciously evokes the Auto Union (as Audi was then called) Grand Prix cars of 1936 and 1937, when the team was of course bankrolled by the Nazi Party – hardly a glorious heritage. Parked next to one of its major competitors – the gorgeous and sophisticated Porsche Boxster – it looks truly awful.
There is no doubt that if this car had appeared with, say, a Rover badge on its snout it would have been derided as a crude piece of design – but then designers are as prone as the rest of the middle classes to badge snobbery unencumbered by objective appraisal.
They might have to rethink, however, following the results of the UK’s largest reliability survey, carried out by the Consumers’ Association. This found that the Audi TT was the least reliable car on sale in Britain today. The association commented that ‘the Audi TT has one of the highest new-car breakdown rates we’ve seen in recent years’ and that ‘TT owners face a one-in-four chance of their car breaking down’.
This was consistent with the performance of the entire Audi range, whose most reliable models – the A2 and A6 – appear only half-way up the reliability league table, below almost every Ford and Vauxhall.
Incidentally, those other staples of the smug southern middle classes, the VW Golf and BMW 3-series, are also firmly in the bottom half of the results, beaten hollow by their supposedly inferior rivals from Dagenham, Longbridge and Luton.
Designers often complain that clients are resistant to spending what they (the designers) believe is necessary on new product development. Is it any wonder, when designers’ own buying decisions are often so patently flawed?
Bristol BS8 3AN