Finally, a carmaker with BALLS

I’m a casual reader of a few auto “trade blogs”… one of which is “The Truth About Cars“. In a post yesterday they related how Audi is considering a TDI engine for the TT, and not just any TT mind you, the TT ROADSTER. Whoo hoo! FINALLY. I have been saying for years that some car maker needs to grow some cajones and drop a TDI into a sports car… and not just any sports car either, but an open topped one.

When I say that, people think I’m nuts. They think Diesel must equal slow, noisy, and smelly. They obviously haven’t driven a TDI powered car. They obviously weren’t watching the Audi R10 kick ass last month at Le Mans. They obviously don’t have a clue.

I love this quote concerning the oil-burning R10:

The R10’s performance at Le Mans was so convincing that race organizers are now deciding how to level the field, so that gasoline powered cars can compete.

Ha! I love it. Now give me my ultimate sports/commuter.

A 4-cylinder, TDI driven two seater, with a ragtop. I can burn my leftover french fry grease based fuel, and smell like a rolling burger joint while I soak up rays and get 60 MPG. Life would be good. I LOVE my VW Jetta TDI, but gawditisboring… the most dull-yet-functional design… it sits there, looking very germanic, and very … um… practical. Yawn. As Paul Wigton Sr once famously said: “Life is too short to drive a boring car.”

I only have two issues with the Audi and the TT. One is price… Audi’s are basically expensive VWs. They carry a huge (100-200%) price premiums over an equivalent Volkswagen. For example, the Audi A4 is basically Auto Union’s take on the Jetta. The TT is, (hold your breath) built on the New Beetle chassis. For some odd reason I bet Audi charges a premium price for the TTTDI. We’ll see.

My second issue is weight. The TT is a very small car, but the damn thing weighs a LOT. The lightest is 3131lbs, the heaviest is almost 3500lbs! Yep, a full ton and a half of “road hugging mass” Mein Gott! Put that thing on a diet! Look at the Lotus Elise, now THAT car is begging for a TDI engine transplant… 1600lbs + TDI engine = a REAL open topped sports car with fuel economy that would make a Prius look like a Hummer. The TT tugging around over twice the weight would likely perform about as well as the Jetta… maybe worse. 45-50MPG tops would be my guess.

But, if they build it, I will come (and lay my money down)… I have to put my money where my mouth is. So unless Lotus can deliver an oil-burning Elise first, look for me in a TT.


(Photo linked from the Audi USA website)

4 thoughts on “Finally, a carmaker with BALLS”

  1. Cool. What are these going for now, around $35K? That’s outside of Roger’s Cruddy Car Budget. But it’s cool Audi is willing to give it a shot.

    And what DOES weigh so much in modern cars? I think the new Mini is about the same weight. The original was less than half the pounds!

  2. ABS, Air Bags and other SRS doo-dads, luxo-barge interiors, sat-nav systems, alternators pulled from Grand Coulee Dam to provide power for sat-nav and 18″ subwoofers, rear-view remote cameras, OnStar, cup holders, etc etc etc.

  3. I was tracking a basketcase ’54 Austin-Healey 100 bn2 on Ebay a week or two ago, with the idea that it might be fun to restore it (I’ve performed a couple frame-up restos before), along with possibly installing a TDI engine in place of the original – 2100 or so pounds, and an easy ~125hp/225tq with RocketChip stage 2 and Sprint520 injection nozzles, compared with the original Healey engine flywheel rating of 90hp/145tq. Unfortunately, it sold for about twice what I thought it was worth. That would have been an interesting project.

  4. Welcome to the nuthouse Carl!

    It sold for 2X what it was worth because Big Healeys can fetch BIG bucks at auctions these days. A restorer with low costs can turn a profit since you can unload certain vintage cars for BIG bucks, and Healeys are certainly one of those cars. Watch the auction results and see… for at least 5 years now Big Healeys go for way more than cars that should outperform them value-wise. Go figure.

    If you really wanted to lump a British roadster with an oddball engine, pick one whose cost to restore is well above its value… a rubber-bumpered MG B or a TR7. Or, better yet, a Mazda Miata! With a Miata you could probably find a high-mileage, but sound-of-body car. You’d have ABS, air-bags, etc.

    At least then you wouldn’t be transforming a potentially valuable collector car whose value can appreciate into a one-off goofy parts car that will never see a return on your investment. (see my earlier “weird seen” post about the Jaguar-Buick frankencar!)

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