Audi TT review – fashion-first coupe and roadster hit stylish notes
The Audi TT is still sharp to look at and comes with a lovely interior, but still doesn't hit the right notes on a twisting road
When Audi revealed the TT back in the late ‘90s, its Bauhaus style and design cleverness brought a breath of air so bright and crisp it made 90 percent of the car market look stale and uninteresting by comparison. This was reflected in the TT’s sales in Germany and the UK, where it soon became a symbol of the Audi brand, and its new-found influence on customers considering rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
But while the TT was certainly an icon of design, its driving experience meant that it always played the understudy to sports car rivals at the time. It’s this reputation that Audi has spent considerable time and effort on improving over the TT’s 20-year tenure in the market, and it’s an area where the car has certainly progressed in this third generation.
The TT, and its TTS and TT RS performance variants, all received a light refresh in 2019 yet their fundamentals remain. Instantly recognisable in silhouette, the TT’s rounded arches and clean surfacing continue to define its aesthetic on the road, while inside the cabin it remains the benchmark in the class.
So does the TT still have a place three generations and two decades after the original, or does it represent a moment in time that Audi has held onto for a few years too many? That depends on how it performs, not as a style icon, but as a sports car.
Audi TT: in detail
- > Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > All TTs bar the RS share a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with between 197bhp and 296bhp depending on spec. The TT is also now DSG-only.
- > Performance and 0-60 time > That combo of transmission and EA888 makes all TTs quick, with even the lowliest model hitting 62mph in 6.6sec.
- > Ride and handling > Multiple driver modes and the ability to tweak the minutest detail of the car’s driving dynamics mean it’s hard to find an ideal setup. We suggest leaving everything in dynamic, apart from the dampers which do better in comfort.
- > MPG and running costs > The Audi TT isn’t a hugely cheap car at entry level spec, but it does deliver savings in fuel economy and road tax.
- > Interior and tech > A highlight of all TTs, but this one remains a superb example of design restraint and clever material use.
- > Design > The TT’s unique shape has evolved in this latest generation, yet it remains instantly recognisable.
Prices, specs and rivals
Audi’s current TT range is made up of three different powertrain choices, not including the more powerful TTS and TT RS models. All standard TTs make do with a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine available in 197bhp and 242bhp forms, and come as standard with a dual-clutch S-tronic transmission. The more powerful of the two versions is also available in both front and quattro all-wheel drive.
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These powertrain options are then available in five different specifications regardless of engine choice, the choice running to Sport, Sport Edition, S-Line, Black Edition and fully-loaded Vorsprung. Pricing for the most basic Audi TT 40TFSi Sport starts at around £32,000, rising to a hefty £46,000-plus for the 45TFSi Vorsprung. The TT Roadster is available in the same spread of versions for an extra £1750 and includes an electrically retracting fabric roof as standard. Audi’s 296bhp TTS kicks off at over £45,000, with the TT RS a more serious £54,000.
All models come with niceties such as the now widespread Virtual Cockpit dial pack, leather trim and 18-inch alloys. As is increasingly the case in the wider industry, Audi no longer generally offers a huge array of options, instead bundling different levels of equipment into the five trim levels.
Rivals include Porsche’s remarkably talented, yet somewhat unsatisfying 718 Cayman, while BMW’s ancient 2-series Coupe and Cabriolet remain almost as heritage models within its own range. Mercedes’ SLC is also on its deathbed, and while there are plenty of compact coupes around at £50k or more like the Alpine A110 and Toyota Supra, few direct rivals to the TT remain in our current SUV-loving age.