Audi TT coupe (2006 – ) expert review

By Stuart Milne, 22nd September 2008

The verdict

The Audi TT is a brilliantly focused driver’s car capable of mixing it with the best of them. Great looks and a great interior create a compelling package.

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Expert rating:

4.0

Pros

  • Great drive
  • Fantastic residuals
  • Diesels offer decent running costs

Cons

  • Cramped rear seats
  • Limited options and trim
  • High petrol running costs

Full Review

1. Exterior

The Audi TT has a short, curvy stance, with a curvaceous roofline and slightly flared wheelarches. The front features Audi’s trademark grille and a pair of sculpted headlines containing intricate patterns hiding sidelights and indicators. The smooth rear now has a pop-up spoiler which replaced the stubby, stuck-up wing that kept the first generation model pinned to the road at high speed.
Our rating: 4

2. Interior

The understated brilliance of the Audi TT’s bodywork is matched by the cabin. Like every other model in Audi’s current range, it blends Germanic style with tremendous build quality. Everything works as you’d expect, and is positioned where you’d expect. Dark grey, soft touch plastics are everywhere, lifted by chrome trims around the air vents and red and white illumination for the dials and buttons. The dash is angled towards the driver, the seats are mounted low, cocooning the driver; and the three-spoke steering wheel has a racy flat bottom.
Our rating: 4

3. Practicality

The Audi TT is described as a 2+2; rather than a full four seater. That’s just as well because the rear seats are sufficient only for very young children or for adults on short journeys. The boot is surprisingly large for a small coupe, measuring 290 litres; just two litres shy of the ‘Golf coupe’, the Volkswagen Scirocco, and an impressive 55 litres bigger than the Nissan 350Z coupe. Space around the cabin is reasonable, and the rear seats provide ample space for luggage without using the boot.
Our rating: 3

4. Ride and handling

The TT is a genuine driving enthusiast’s car, with poise and agility at any speed. The steering offers plenty of feedback, and there’s virtually no bodyroll through faster bends. But despite this, the ride is good, making it an exceptional all-rounder. The TT is offered with Audi Magnetic Ride, a £1,150 option which varies the damping continuously for optimum ride and handling. It cycles through two modes, Normal and Sport, the latter of which firms the ride up for a more focused drive. However, the car feels so good without it, careful consideration is required as to whether you really need it.
Our rating: 4

5. Performance

The 2-litre TDi offers 170bhp, with an impressive 258lb/ft of torque. Its overtaking potential is immense, and it won’t run out of puff until 139mph. Two 2-litre petrol units are available, producing 208bhp and 268bhp in the hot TTS model. The former will reach 62mph in 6.6 seconds, before reaching a 149mph maximum, while the TTS will cover the same marker in just 5.4 seconds and will run on to an electronically limited 155mph top speed. The range-topping TTRS is the biggest hitter, though. Its 2.5-litre turbocharged engine develops 335bhp, enough to get to 62mph from a standstill in 4.5 seconds before head-butting the electronic limiter at 155mph.
Our rating: 5

6. Running costs

For low running costs, the TDi is the clear winner. It’ll cover 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km. The 208bhp 2-litre petrol returns an average of 42.8mpg. The TTRS averages just 31.4mpg and emits 209g/km, making it the costliest TT to both buy and run. The Roadster is more expensive, covering around half a mile less per gallon than the coupe, and emitting more CO2. The S-Tronic automatic gearbox offers improved fuel consumption and lower emissions on both Coupe and Roadster. Used values are strong; expect the TT to retain around 60 per cent of its new value after three years/36,000 miles.
Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

Proven components, coupled with strong build quality should add up to fine reliability. The interior in particular feels exceptionally well put together.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

The Audi TT scored four out of a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme. That’s identical to its rivals, which include the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK. The Audi TT features ABS, traction control, driver, passenger and front side airbags, electronic differential lock and electronic stability programme as standard.
Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

All models feature 17-inch alloys, a 9-speaker, 140-watt MP3-compatible single CD player, leather/alcantara interior, front sports seats, trip computer, climate control, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, electric windows and an automatic rear spoiler. The roof is also operated electrically on Roadster models. The TTS receives Audi Magnetic Ride, two-tone nappa leather seats, ESP with a sport mode, bright xenon lights, bespoke bumpers and a smattering of TTS livery.
Our rating: 4

10. Why buy?

If the Audi TT missed the mark with its dynamics, it would still sell thanks to its stunning looks. But the fact it can mix it with the very best drivers’ cars on sale should guarantee it shortlist status on any coupe buyer’s shopping list.
Our rating: 4

Expert review 4.0stars

  • Exterior4
  • Interior4
  • Practicality3
  • Ride and handling4
  • Performance5
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment4
  • Why buy?4

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
TT 2.0 TFSI Sport
Strong 2-litre engine is at the heart of the best-value coupe
Best-seller:
TT 2.0 TDI Quattro Sport
Great running costs make this the most popular TT
Blow the budget:
TTRS Quattro
Brawny 2.5-litre motor makes the TTRS the enthusiast’s choice

The TT is a genuine driving enthusiasts’ car, with poise and agility at any speed