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BMW 2-Series 220d SE vs. Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport

BMW 2-Series 220d SE

BMW 2-Series 220d SE

 

Price: £25,865 on-the-road.

The BMW 2-Series is finally here to replace the 1 Coupe and the best sellers will undoubtedly be the diesels, which are available in 218d, 220d and 225d guise. It is the middle of the range 220d which will be most popular among business and private buyers, thanks to the blend of performance and emissions on offer.

It is powered by a 4-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that produces 181 bhp and 280 lb /ft of torque for a 0 - 62 mph time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. The combined fuel economy of this car is 58.9 miles per gallon with a CO2 output of 125 g /km, which is superior to the TT, which can only manage 53.3 miles per gallon and a CO2 rating of 139 g/km.

Of course, the next-generation TT will be powered by the new 2.0 TDI, which has similar figures to the BMW. For now, though, the 2-Series is the more efficient of the two machines.

Out on the road, the driving dynamics of the 2-Series and TT are wildly different. Both have 6-speed manual gearboxes and 2.0-litre diesel engines, but the gearing and power deliveries are very different to one another. The 2-Series has a shorter throw than the TT which means that it likes to be revved out a little more than the Audi. On a fourth gear roll at 30 mph, it is the TT which feels a little quicker, despite being down 22 lb /ft. Smash the BMW into third, though, and the extra guts of the BMW show (just).

In the real world, the BMW is faster, but not by much.

The BMW feels really sporty from behind the wheel, even in soft SE specification. This has the highest ride height of any 2-Series and the thickest tyres, and whilst this numbs the looks a little, it means that the 2-Series is a really comfortable ride. Around town it never feels unsettled on rough, pothole laden roads and on the motorway it's nice and quiet inside.

BMW have created a refined machine in the 2-Series.

The boot is huge too, at 380-litres, compared to the TT's pathetic 280-litres.

One area where the BMW cannot match the TT is style. Like the 1-Series, the 2-Series looks too friendly to turn the heads of passersby. The TT on the other hand turns heads everywhere, and although it is a little common now, it still stands out against other Audi's in the range such as the A3 and A3.

SE trim is the lowest specification you can buy in the 2-Series, but it comes highly recommended by me - in this set up, the 2-Series is a very capable cruiser, and it is the most comfortable set up. Standard equipment includes remote locking, BMW Professional radio with 6.5-inch colour touch screen and iDrive, six speakers, AUX-in, Bluetooth, DAB radio, and air conditioning. This is similar to the TT, but with coupes, it's all about how cars drive. 

Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport

Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport

 

Price: £28,720 on-the-road.

The cheapest Audi TT you can buy with a comparable engine to the 220d is the 2.0 TDI. This car costs nearly £2,000 more than the BMW but like the Beemer, this Audi is the lowest specification you can get. It has similar equipment levels and comparable quality, although the BMW is newer, and this shows inside - the TT is a nice place to be but the Beemer does have more soft touch materials, aluminium inserts, and higher quality switchgear.

This car is older than the 2-Series, though, and the new TT is on the way. Thankfully, there is one thing that will still sway drivers toward the TT over the 2-Series, and that is fun.

The Audi TT is great fun to drive. This is no sports car, for sure, but the 2.0 TDI engine is great fun to wring out and drive on country roads. Combined with the slick 6-speed manual (I prefer the Audi's action to the BMW's) and Quattro all-wheel-drive (the BMW is RWD) the TT is a very capable car on the limit no matter the weather. In a straight line, the 220d and 2.0 TDI are for the most part even matched, but the TT edges it with handling. The steering feels sharper and the throttle response is a little fresher.

Once you've parked up and had your fun, you can admire the TT's interior. It is not bad, despite being years old, and it can still hold its own against the BMW in some respects. The steering wheel in the TT for example is nicer than in the BMW and the dashboard feels more solid than in the BMW. It is only when you begin to feel around the darkest places of the cabin that the extra quality of the BMW shows.

And then there's the looks. As I pointed out in my BMW section, the TT is just the better looking car, and I have no reason to believe that the next generation model won't blow the 2-Series away in style. This is one of the main reasons as to why TT's hold their value so well - they look great years on.

Overall

The Audi TT is a balanced car to drive and even though this version is years older than the BMW 2-Series, it is still worth a punt if you're in the market for a premium coupe. The TT in Sport guise is comfortable, has plenty of equipment, and still looks great years on.

Having said that, the current TT can't quite match the interior quality of the BMW and while each diesel engine is good, the BMW's is that little bit sweeter with a perkier delivery and a sweeter - if noisier - sound. The BMW also has 100-litres of space extra in the boot.

If you must have a premium coupe tomorrow, I would go with the 2-Series. If you can wait a little, the all-new Audi TT is just around the corner. The next generation TT looks like it could be a compelling package and the 184 2.0 TDI is a fantastic engine.

 

 

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