Made by Audi since 1998 and currently in its third generation is the two-seater Audi sport car – the TT. Audi Hungaria Motor Kft., an Audi subsidiary, in Győr, Hungary, assembled the first two generations. The Hungarian company used body shells that were manufactured at Audi's Ingolstadt plant. For the third generation, the car is now made entirely by the Hungarian subsidiary. Since its introduction, there have been numerous, but minor, styling and performance upgrades. Today, the car remains as eye-catching and fun to drive as it was when it first rolled off the Audi assembly line twenty-four years ago.
The TT is available as either a coupe or a convertible. For this review, we tested the coupe as it’s more practical in Singapore with our inclement weather. The Audi “TT” actually gets its name from the NSU motor racing in the British Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race. It is strange that a cool looking car like the TT should be named after motorcycle race, but there you have it.
The TT comes with a 4-cylinder turbocharged inline petrol engine with direct fuel injection. Other sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman beat the Audi in terms of outright performance, but don’t underestimate this well-built sport car. It’s small and light, a joy to drive and a marvel of German engineering. Road hugging Audi Quattro all-wheel drive is standard equipment, as is a smooth seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission. Audi doesn’t offer the car with a manual transmission, which is not necessary as the electronically controlled automatic makes better gear changes than a manual ever could. Besides, this car is all about the drive and not changing gears.
For 2023, the base model TT gets new 18-inch wheels. Sadly, the more powerful five-cylinder TT RS was dropped after the 2022 model year. The extra horsepower of that engine made the TT slightly more attractive in terms of acceleration and muscle. Still, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder transverse mounted engine that resides under the bonnet of the TT generates a hardy 258 lb-ft of torque.
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Drivers are sure to enjoy the TT’s responsive handling. It can easily manage the 100-kp/h sprint in the four-second range, which isn’t bad at all. It’s not as fast as a Porsche, but it is quick and nimble, giving the car its charm and excitement. In our tests, we found the acceleration nippy and the handling superb. It hugs the road like Velcro and has an incredible agility and balance to its ride. This balance is due in no small part to the car’s multi-link fully independent rear suspension, which works in tandem with the front independent suspension.
The 2023 TT also features a new modified rear spoiler, which preserves the clean lines of the TT when not in its raised position. To increase rear down-force, the revised spoiler will automatically deploy at speeds greater than 125 km/h and will retract when the speed goes below 80 km/h. Just in case you want to manually deploy the spoiler, you can do so by flipping a switch on the center console.
Inside the TT cabin you’ll find the embodiment of chic minimalism. The design is elegant and modern, and only first-class materials are used throughout. You get a luxurious high tech yet old school feel. The build and finish are impeccable. The front seats offer more comfort than you'd expect from a small sports car, enveloping your body like a snug cocoon.
Like many of its counterparts, the coupe model is considered a four-seater, but the confined rear seats are best left for grocery bags, golf clubs, and small luggage. If you do put your children, they won’t like it as the sloping roof and lack of legroom will make for a very uncomfortable journey. There's also a lack of storage nooks within the cabin. Cargo space isn’t too bad as the coupe offers 12 cubic feet or .3 cubic meters.
Like most automobiles for 2023, you’ll find the usual bells and whistles, such as navigation, an excellent audio system, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay as standard equipment. In bucking the latest trend, however, the Audi TT does not come with the ubiquitous central touchscreen or display screen. It instead opts to display infotainment information in the dashboard’s digital gauge cluster in front of the driver.
When it comes to safety Audi had other ideas, too. Oddly enough, TTs do not come with standard forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, or drowsy-driver monitoring. These features, however, are standard on many of the TT's closest competitors, which make us wonder what was Audi thinking? Many safety features on the TT are left as options and not available as standard equipment. Maybe the lads in Hungry aren’t tooled up for this equipment? The standard safety equipment that does come with the car is front and rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
All in all, this third generation TT coupe is a very sporty and fun car to drive. It has great looks along with a fine pedigree. While it isn’t the cat’s meow of roaring power, it does get along the byways and highways quite nicely and in style. The car is extremely well made – you might even say it’s the pinnacle of a petrol driven all-wheel-drive sports car. At slightly over S$300,000 the car isn’t cheap, but still about 100 grand lower than a Porsche Cayman. Also, rumor has it that after more than two decades on sale, the Audi TT is set to undergo a huge transformation into an electric vehicle. Instead of a small, affordable sports car, the TT moniker will be used as the badge for a luxurious four-door coupe that will sit beneath the flagship Audi e-tron GT. So, sadly it seems this may be the last two-door, two-seater, and petrol-powered TT to be built by Audi.