- Show-car exterior styling.
- Show-car interior styling.
- Excellent build quality.
- Lag-free turbocharged engine with broad torque range.
- Electronic aids to keep you on the road.
- Styling not for everyone.
- Tight interior headroom.
- Somewhat harsh ride.
- Oddly placed cup holders.
- Gets pricey with options.
Press Coverage :
The Audi TT first debuted as a concept back in 1995 and the production version was released as a 2000 model, staying true to the concept in terms of styling. For 2003, the Audi TT Quattro receives a new grille and restyled wheels. An automatic transmission is not offered at this trim level. The 2003 Roadster has an electrically-operated cloth top with glass rear window. Power still comes from the 1.8 L turbocharged four cylinder engine, tuned to produce 225 hp and 207 lb-ft. Electronic driving aids and a rear lip spoiler were added in 2001, along with a suspension revision, after numerous high-speed crashes were reported around Europe due to lift-off oversteer. No such problems exist on the newer models.
The Audi TT Quattro includes the 225 hp engine, ASR all-speed traction control, ABS, 225/45-17 inch tires and alloy wheels and fully independent suspension on all four wheels. Standard interior features include automatic climate control, Nappa leather upholstery, power windows with pinch protection, cruise control, power central locking, anti-theft system, intermittent wipers, AM/FM/cassette, information display with outside temperature gauge, and front and side airbags. Options include Xenon headlamps, heated front seats, Bose sound system with 6-disc CD changer, GPS navigation system, hands-free car phone and baseball-stitch leather upholstery. A limited edition TT LeMans edition was offered in 2002 to celebrate Audi's LeMans victories, which came in red and silver with stiffer suspension and standard 18 inch alloy wheels.
The Quattro all-wheel-drive system sends engine power to the rear wheels using a centre-mounted Haldex electronically-controlled multi-plate differential which automatically applies more torque to the rear wheels when the front wheels lose grip.
Brakes are ready for the autobahn and feel noticeably different to American drivers who perhaps aren't accustomed to immediate stopping power, even with the brake pedal depressed just a bit. An anti-lock brake system is part of the standard package.
The Audi TT's ride is firm, tightly controlled and there's not a lot of wheel travel. On really bad pavement in this short-wheelbase car, there's some roughness; but most of the time, the ride is both pleasant and sporty. Wind noise is at a minimum, even at highway speeds, and engine tones are surprisingly deep and sporty-sounding for a 4-cylinder.
Front seats are sculpted and quite firm, but they're not that confining because they're not jammed out onto the doorsills. If you really want to stay in your seat, Audi offers a special cloth seat material with tiny, raised rubber dots. The two back seats are for children only, according to Audi. They should be short kids, too, since the sloping roofline takes a toll on back-seat headroom. Still, those seats fold down, providing 24.2 cubic feet of nicely lined luggage room.
The view out of the TT is better than I expected, but the doors do come up high, giving the sense of a compact side view. Prominent on the TT dashboard are machined aluminum parts-many of them carrying the theme of the TT's circular, silver-colored fuel-filler cap with exposed screws that's reminiscent of quick-release caps in racing. Too bad the mod, dual cupholder is positioned so far back in the Audi TT's center console, making it awkward to reach from the front seat. And the fuel door unlock button and trunk unlock button in the forward part of the center console are hard to reach if you have the ashtray open.
The Roadster's trunk is much smaller than the Coupe's. The AWD Quattro Roadster has 6.4 cu. ft. while the AWD Coupe has 10.8 cu. ft. In addition, the Coupe, which is actually a hatchback, has fold-down rear seats which more than double the cargo area. All TT's include dual front airbags - the passenger airbag can be turned off via a switch located inside the glovebox - and side airbags mounted in the front seats. There are also seatbelt pretensioners, side door beams, and a strengthened windshield frame. The roll hoops, by the way, are functional safety features, not just 'style bars'. Theft prevention is handled by a unique monitoring system that uses a pulsed radar beam to detect intrusion, even with the top down.
I found the AWD TT Roadster's handling to be flat and stable, with very high limits - the standard Bridgestone Potenza P225/45R-17 inch summer performance radials offer excellent grip. However, the TT Roadster doesn't feel as balanced as some of its rear-drive competitors which have a 50/50 front/rear weight distribution - the TT Roadster has a 60/40 front/rear weight distribution.
The 6-speed manual shifter in my test car had direct, solid throws which were a bit stiffer than I liked. Rowing through the gears produces some driveline jerkiness, a problem I first noticed on the TT Coupe, and probably attributable to its transversely-mounted front engine and transaxle. The Audi TT Roadster features rack and pinion steering with variable power assist. At higher speeds, steering effort was firm and appropriate for highway driving. At low speeds however, I thought the steering effort was too heavy for easy parking and low-speed turns. The TT Roadster does offer a fairly tight turning circle of 10.45 metres (34.2 feet). All TT Roadsters come with four wheel disc brakes with standard ABS, and I found these brakes to be extremely powerful.
On the road with the top down, wind buffeting is noticeable but not unpleasant. An electrically retractable glass windbreak shaped to the outline of the roll hoops helps reduce wind buffeting. Outward visibility with top down is excellent - the hood is low and the rear deck is not too high, as it is in some sports cars. With the top up, there is the usual difficulty with visibility to the right rear three-quarter area when changing lanes.
2000-2002 Audi TT Quattro
1,781 cc / 225 hp / 207 lb-ft / 3274-3472 lbs / 0-60 mph 6.6 sec.