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Why the Audi TT is one of the most significant cars of the last 25 years

To mark our 25th anniversary we name the 25 most significant driver's cars launched in the last 25 years. Richard Porter presents his case for the Audi TT

evo 25 TT

We have a bit of previous, the first-gen Audi TT and me. In 1999 one of the first right-hand-drive TTs was delivered to the old Top Gear office where I worked at the time. I took it home for the night and promptly lost the back end on a roundabout, smacking a kerb and rolling it. Twice. But that’s not why I voted for it to be included in evo’s 25 most significant cars. 

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It’s easy to forget the impact that first TT had when it was announced. For years, concept cars were disappointing things, at best heralding a production car that looked far less impressive, at worst being as unrealistic as a talking dinosaur. Then all of a sudden there was a car that precisely resembled the concept from which it was derived. Bettered it, actually, while the interior was equally sensational. 

> Why the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder are the most significant cars of the last 25 years

They tried to make it interesting to drive, too, but realised that chumps like 23-year-old me with buttery fingers and hammy fists were going to keep stacking it, and hastily retuned the chassis while gumming on a rear spoiler to wind back any sense of tail-happy friskiness. Yet the original TT was a huge success, providing a useful reminder about the wider car world. We, the people who write and read this magazine, might worry about turn-in and steering feel, but most people just buy a car because it looks nice.

This story was first featured in the 25th anniversary edition of evo. Richard also voted for the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ford Focus Mk1, Porsche 918 Spyder, Renault Sport Clio Trophy to round out his five most significant cars of the last 25 years.

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