Review: Audi TT

Awesomely built and stunning to drive

10 Jul 15 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Firm but comfortable ride

  • Cheap to run

  • Very stylish

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Prone to leaking roof seals

  • Limited backseat room

Our expert rating

The Audi TT is a small two-door sports car that has been on the UK’s roads since 1999. The Audi was sexy from the get-go and it doesn’t matter if you go for an earlier or later version. Whatever the case, the TT comes in 2+2 Coupé and two-seater soft-top Roadster guises.

Performance

Awesomely built, stunning to drive and with worthy engines, the TT is one of the easiest-going secondhand sports cars to own. The TT MkII arrived in April 2006: since it’s already nine years old, it’s best to look for this variant rather than a more elderly Mk1.

Most TTs are able to drive tamely in town, but it’s hard to mask the lovely raspy roar waiting to be unleashed from the higher-powered petrol engines. Hit the open road and you’re punched into your seatback. What’s more, the clutch is light on the manual transmissions and the gear changes are smooth.

Rear of Audi TT

Ride and handling

The ride is firm without being uncomfortable and the steering has a nice weight to it. The TT has balance and dexterity at any speed, and there’s hardly any body-roll through the corners.

Interior space

As a 2+2, the Audi TT Coupé is a sports car that’s suitable for everyday use. My five-year-old son sat in the back, but in reality you’ll probably use the rear seats as a place to keep extra shopping or to lay your suit jacket. However, the hatch tailgate lifts up to expose a surprisingly decent 290-litre boot. Better still, fold the tiny rear chairs and this expands to 700 litres.

Interior of Audi TT

What to know before you buy

The Audi TT MkII has been recalled three times. The first was in March 2008 for models made in January and February 2007. This was for a minor issue concerning out of place trim. However, more potent TT RS models, built from May to July 2009, were called back over possible brake failure.

The third concern was in December 2009 for TTs made between September 2008 and August 2009 with direct-shift gearbox (DSG) transmissions. This call back involved gearbox reprogramming.

Other issues to look out for are signs of previous accident damage. A ripple-like finish in any of the panels or a disparity in paint colour from one section to the other are pretty easy to pinpoint. If there is the smallest doubt over crash repairs, either get a full professional assessment, or kick that car to the kerb and find another used example.

Also, examine at the floor of a roadster for signs of water stains. If there is evidence of water seepage, get the vendor to peel back the carpets. Additionally, check the TT Roadster’s roof seals when closed and that it doesn’t have any tears or small holes in the fabric.

On the mechanical side, ensure the engine starts straightaway, even when it’s cold. If there is any suspicion that the Audi has been pre-warmed, come back first thing the next day and insist on starting it thoroughly cold.

Engine for Audi TT

Alternative cars

The BMW Z4 is a major competitor, which has a foldaway hard-top. Elegant and superlatively built, the Z4 provides coupé-cum-cabriolet finesse. However, the Porsche Boxster is the TT’s arch rival – albeit more of an expensive choice. It is one of the ultimate driver’s cars with a superb build quality and it holds its price for those reasons.

A slightly lesser car in terms of dynamism is the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Nonetheless, there are many decent 2004 MkII-onwards examples and these are worth checking out.

Alternative car to Audi TT - BMW Z4

Overall verdict

The Audi TT still sells well on the secondhand car market for a reason. It has striking good looks and you can be assured of a thrilling drive. Indeed, the TT will take on most so-called driver’s cars. That alone should be reason enough for the Audi to be high up on your list if you’re on the hunt for a sports coupé or open-top roadster.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall