To be honest, I didn't have high expectations for the new Audi TT 3.2 Quattro. I had heard that the 2.0T drove better (but I want a manual, and the 2.0T is only available with DSG), I didn't like the idea of a FWD-biased AWD system, and I didn't think it simply could hold a candle to the Cayman. Well, was I surprised.
The car I drove was quite striking in Brilliant Red over black interior. The car had the Enhanced Interior Package which covered the instrument binacle, center console, and door inserts in soft leather. The fit and finish was excellent too, light years ahead of the SLK. The whole interior had a very cozy feel, with a sunken driving position and very grippy, bolstered seats that put the Cayman's to shame. The flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, R8 mirrors, and R8 gauges lent a racy sporty feel to the interior.
Don't even think of putting any human being you care about in the backseats though. At 5'10" I was about 4 inches too tall to fit, nevermind the lack of leg room. They did make a nice parcel shelf though.
Once in motion the Mk2 TT really shines. The shift action was very smooth but not notchy. Very, very close to the Cayman's. The steering was very precise as well, although not quite as direct as the Cayman's (but very, very close again).
The 3.2L VR6 was more responsive than the Cayman's 2.7L flat-6, due to the extra 30 lb-ft. of torque. The TT was also geared better, and comes with 6-speeds instead of the standard 5 speeds that the base Cayman has (I'd be looking at a base Cayman anyway). And while the Cayman was louder inside, the TT's 3.2 was ultimately the nicer engine to listen to (Ever heard an R32? Because that is what it sounds like.).
In terms of roadholding they both felt very similar. The Audi felt marginally better footed, no doubt because of the AWD, Delphi Magnetic Ride, and aluminum frame, doors, and hood. Even when pushed, the Audi's Haldex AWD system coped very well, just as good as the Torsen system in my B7 A4. No nasty torque steer. From reading some internal Audi documents provided to my salesperson at Audi dealer training, apparently the Mk2 TT Haldex system distributes the torque 85:15 under dry conditions, with the ability to send 100% of the power to either axle when needed.
The Porsche's brakes were slightly more responsive than the Audi's. Both cars had a very progressive pedal feel, and plenty of stopping power.
So overall, the new Audi TT 3.2 is a HUGE improvement over the comparatively dull MkI TT 3.2 Quattro and offers 90% of the Cayman driving experience for $10k-$20K less (ever seen a Porsche options sheet?). It really is that good, I was blown away.