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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Audi TT


2012 Audi TT RS - First Drive - Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch

The Audi TT is a two-plus-two coupe or two-seat convertible with the brand's unique take on luxury and style. Even in base trim, the Audi TT is fun to drive, but those seeking more sport will want to look at the TTS or TT RS versions. The TT has been around for more than a decade, but it maintains the original model's essence. Its primary competitors are the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK, but the... 


The Audi TT is a two-plus-two coupe or two-seat convertible with the brand's unique take on luxury and style. Even in base trim, the Audi TT is fun to drive, but those seeking more sport will want to look at the TTS or TT RS versions. The TT has been around for more than a decade, but it maintains the original model's essence. Its primary competitors are the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK, but the Infiniti G37, Nissan 370Z and even the JCW versions of the MINI Cooper and Coupe could be considered as alternatives.

For more information, including pricing with options, see our full review of the 2013 Audi TT.

The Audi TT is a two-door convertible or coupe with seating for two in front, and nominally, two more passengers in back. Offered in standard, TTS and TT RS trim, it's a sporty derivative of the VW Group's small front-drive cars, one that's evolved significantly since it was introduced in 2000.

The TT's rivals range from the likes of the MINI Cooper and the turbocharged VW Beetle to the German roadsters--models like the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK.

In its first generation, the TT was more style than substance--a lavish Deco-tinged tribute to sportscars of the past without truly sporty handling. In its second take, the TT's reflexes sharpened considerably, though its looks were tucked and toned into a more traditional shape. Both generations of the Audi TT have been offered in two different body styles and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. All models have been built at a factory in Hungary.

The TT was originally based on Volkswagen/Audi running gear shared by the Audi A4. It struck a fresh styling chord when it first arrived. Audi's prior coupes, from the 1980s Coupe GT to the unloved Audi 90 Coupe, had been more characteristically German. The Audi TT brought a lovingly detailed, Art Deco-influenced look to the sporty realm. The lovely lines--especially effective in flat grey paint--were met with an interior that could be fitted with beautiful swatches of baseball-glove leather and stitching, and aluminum trim. The TT was less convincing as a sports car in that first edition, which was sold through the 2006 model year. Safe but unexciting handling combined with somewhat lively turbocharged four-cylinder power in the best quattro all-wheel-drive versions; V-6 cars felt heavier and less responsive despite their extra power, while front-drive versions suffered some torque steer.

With the 2008 redesign, Audi turned the tables; the TT's exterior style was muted to match more of the cues found on its other cars. The latest TT fits more with the new R8 thanks to its side sculpting, low nose, and LED detailing. The cockpit loses its grabby circular theme, and now faces the driver and passenger with a flight-inspired set of knobs, switches, and LCD screens bearing a distinctly masculine appeal. It's sleeker for sure, though less distinctive. Either as a TT or a TTS, there are two body style choices: coupe and roadster.

Powertrains for the current generation include a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, which comes only with a fantastic six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The high-performance, 265-hp turbo TTS comes only with the dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. All models with the old 250-hp V-6 version were given the axe for 2010. The TT complements good fuel economy with nimble handling and more of an authentic sportscar feel, flat and eager to hook up with the pavement. Interior room isn't the TT's strongest suit, though the seats are wide and the cabin spacious enough for adults. The roadster models have a nicely executed power fabric top. Trunk and interior storage is somewhat limited, though, so weekend trips are best reserved for two.

For 2012, the Audi brings the top-performance TT RS to the U.S. for the first time. With a 360-horsepower, 2.5-liter high-boost-turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine, a lowered magnetic suspension system, and upgraded performance trim and hardware, the limited-production TT RS has serious sports-car appeal for enthusiasts who plan on weekend track outings.

The 2013 Audi TT is a carryover model with no major changes from the 2012 model year, but a completely redesigned TT is likely due in 2014.

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