…so you don’t have to.
A wise man once said that you can prove anything with facts. He was right – you can. However, float above the narrow prism of the factual and reality becomes a more nebulous concept. For it is within this white space the automotive press-release copywriter dwells. A land of fairies and elves, where steaming troughs of hyperbole appear as tureens of nourishing broth.
Illustrating that despite the nature of the current motoring landscape, car manufacturers appear to retain a sense of the ridiculous.
A recent viewing of Audi’s press-release for the forthcoming TT model was catalyst for this outburst, being, even by industry standards, particularly ripe for satire. That they actually expect the media to put this out with a straight face is one thing, but the fact they slavishly comply tells you everything you need to know about what’s happened in publishing since the internet ruined everything.
But rather than subject you to the entire quivering mass, I have provided a handy translation which (possibly) outlines what Audi really wants to tell you. Honestly, it was no trouble at all.
“The third generation of the Audi TT, the design icon, has been systematically refined in every department, both inside and out – resulting in a pedigree sports car. It is particularly notable for its sharper lines, which have been defined very dynamically and precisely. Throughout the entire car, the interplay of surfaces creates incredible tension.”
The third generation TT has been mildly tweaked in the customary Ingolstadt manner, so as to look uncannily like the last one, while ensuring it is not as well resolved as the original. Oh yes, we have arbitrarily decided that it’s now a design icon. On what basis? Because I flipping say so and if you continue to deny this I’ll scream myself sick.
“Many details of the new Coupé’s profile are reminiscent of the first generation’s classic design. The sill contour forms a powerful light edge and the wide wheel arches constitute distinct geometrical entities. At the front, the wheel arch intersects the hood join, which continues over the door as the tornado line and extends all the way to the rear. The flat greenhouse looks like an entity in its own right. The shape of the C-post, with a slight kink, gives the TT a powerful, athletic look and enhances the impression of tension.”
We were afraid of doing anything remotely original, so we just fiddled with the details. The sill contour forms an effective mud trap, so don’t wear your best trousers. Now yes – the Tornado line. I’m not really sure what that is either, but it sounded good in the design briefing – look, I had an awful lot of coffee that day. Anyway, it extends all the way to the rear and yes, I do realise they all have one. What’s that you say? I’ll give you tension!
Now where was I? Ah right, yes, the greenhouse. It’s an entity in its own right. And it’s flat. Hang on, how can it be flat? What’s this now – kinky C-posts? Who writes this crap?
“At the rear, too, horizontal lines reinforce the wide, sporty impression. The struts in the rear lights pick up on the headlights’ motif. They remain permanently on – another Audi innovation.”
We are compelled to reinforce the assertion that the new TT is sporty, because if you haven’t noticed ducky, everything is now. So yes, we’ve added lots of horizontal lines for no terribly good reason. And by the way, I never said that – you just imagined it. For some unfathomable reason, the rear lights have struts in them – the designers did explain it to me, but I was too busy admiring their hair. Sorry.
What’s this now – they remain permanently on? No, not their hair, you moron, the lights! No, of course I have no pissing idea why – but we’re the first to have it, so that’s good isn’t it? No, it is. Look, I’ve had about enough of you…
So there you have it. The new Audi TT is classic, sporty, iconic and incredibly tense. So for heaven’s sake, don’t antagonise it. Being this unoriginal can’t be easy…
7 thoughts on “Decoding Audi’s TT Press Release…”
I’ve noticed before that Audi’s bullshit powerfully redefines a fatuity of vacuousness resulting in a laxity of tension that can truly be defined in one word …. but isn’t.
This appears to be written by someone who knows slightly less about car design than they do about English. Of course the latter is probably not true and, in fact, they got a good Second in Philosophy at King’s before blagging a job at Audi’s PR. However, their education also gave them a healthy contempt for their fellows and they realised that, just as a shark will die if it stops swimming, so will a bullshitter only be found out when he or she stops talking or writing. Make the paragraphs long enough and your target is bound to succumb.
The point of it all, of course, is to explain why the Mark 3 TT is a less interesting and pure shape than the Mark 2 which, of course, was a lacklustre version of the Mark 1. On the Mark 1, the fact that the C post had no interruption would have been evidence of “its powerful, athletic look”. On the Mark 3, the fact that has a “slight kink” is evidence of “its powerful athletic look”.
I particularly like the wording “ .. looks like an entity in its own right”. I am thinking of using this as a compliment to friends and workmates instead of the more traditional “you look a bit less knackered than the last time I saw you”.
Leaving the hysterical bull-drivel of Audi´s PR to one side, Audi are in a bind with the TT just like BMW are with the Mini. They´ve made the same mistake in messing with graphic and sculptural features and adding the superfluous inflection on the C-pillar is dim. There are only two things a c-pillar can do: meet without inflection or with an inflection. And meeting without an inflection was what defined the DLO of the TT. In fact, the strict avoidance of inflections anywhere was Audi´s style. What changed from model to model was mostly the engineering and packaging. The style of Audi has, for five decades, been austere good taste. And adding un-needed accents has no part in this.
It would have been braver to say “The new Audi TT is designed to retain all the striking purity of the original car but with even better performance, better handling, better assembly methods and even higher quality. The very fact we haven´t made many noticeable changes will give you the confidence that however long you keep your TT, it will always look superb. Audi: passionately rational.”
As some of you might be aware, I find the criticism that a car is “boring” among the lamest comments one can come across the internet or pub counters. Some “boring” kinds I actually find very pleasing to look at, even if 97% of motorists would disagree (the current VW Polo being a case in point).
But this TT really is… numbingly… boring…
Like a joke you keep telling, a styling idea does not improve with fettling. I was going to say a good styling idea, since the original TT was good, but then I remembered the first (Golf based) Beetle. That was a very slight idea, acceptable for 2 or 3 years. That VW then tried to make it grown-up with sensible detailing on the Mark 2 version was inexplicable. It now looks as inappropriate as a clown at a funeral. The original TT’s very lack of surface graphics was its attractive point – in a way it was quite boring as you moved your eye across it, but as a whole it was … a whole. This is a whole lot worse.
So, we all agree that this new TT is not right. I’d say the new MINI is even worse. But, what should Audi have done with the mk3 TT? The market demands renewal, and so it needs to look TT, but also new. Richard suggests to boldly retain the same as the original, but trend-setting buyers want recognition for setting the trend …. Suggestions?
I say stuff the trend-setters. There was a clientele for the car which liked it as it was.Think of a Mars bar. We buy one, like it, buy another. Imagine if Mars bars changed their flavour every three weeks. I think for generic classes of car such as the Golf/Focus and Passat/Mondeo its okay to alter style and engineering as time goes by. But the genius of the New Mini and TT lay not in their package or engineering but their looks. Same as Doc Martens. .So, what Audi needed to do was see the TT as a class of its own. All they had to do was revise the technicalities each model cycle and sell the very stability and unchanging nature of the car´s appearance. It worked well for Porsche with the 911.
The original TT was an almost perfectly realised consumer durable and the smart thing to have done was to leave well enough alone – apart from legislative requirements and improvements that served to enhance the driving or ownership experience. Audi could have claimed that the TT emerged into the world fully formed – no changes necessary. They probably could have got away with it.
The iterative reduction of the TT’s visual impact is sad – it was originally a great looking car. The thing is, if you had never seen the first version, the new one is perfectly acceptable. Perhaps Audi is hoping that we’ve forgotten, not just what the first TT looked like, but also that they used to produce genuine objects of desire.