Audi TT (2008-2014) review
The stylish Audi TT is good to drive and even better to look at, with a great choice of models
The Audi TT may be closely related to the design of the original 1998 model, but there are still few cars on the road that can match it for visual appeal. It looks fresh, stylish, sporty and it has been a unique design for many years now. The Audi TT might be based on the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf, but it certainly doesn't feel like either of those cars - it's something much more specialised. The TT is available with either front or four-wheel drive and uses a range of petrol and diesel engines, so buyers can choose between performance and economy. Audi's revolutionary Magnetic Ride system can also be added to the car, and the Comfort and Sport settings mean the car can be set up to ride comfortably or corner sharply at the touch of a button. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel version will be the top choice for buyers watching the pennies, as it returns 53.3mpg. Meanwhile, the top of the range 355bhp TT RS Plus offers buyers the option of incredible performance. It even caters for those looking for open-top thrills with the Audi TT Roadster models.
Our choice: TT Coupe 2.0 TFSI
The new Audi TT came out in 2008 as the second-generation model, and thanks to its sharp styling it still looks just as good today. A pop-up rear wing that helps stabilise the car at speeds over 80mph is standard on all models, and the high-spec S line and Black Edition models get a more aggressive-looking bodykit to make them look a bit sportier. The Audi TT RS Plus gets a fixed rear wing and very aggressive styling, but it's not exactly subtle. Even the entry-level Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels and a part leather interior as standard. The Audi TT Roadster offers drop-top motoring, but it lacks the folding hardtop of rivals such as the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK. Whichever model you go for, however, the build quality is very high and the materials are great quality.
Aside from the incredibly fast Audi TT RS and TT RS Plus, there are three engines on offer in the TT. A 1.8-litre turbo petrol is offered in entry-level cars, and the 2.0 TFSI petrol sits above that in the range. Even the 2.0-litre engine will return 39mpg, and both engines are punchy and smooth. A 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel is also available, which promises fuel consumption of 53.3mpg - not bad for a sports car. The optional Magnetic Ride dampers - which offer Comfort and Sport settings to adapt to the road conditions - are well worth the extra money when you buy an Audi TT. But, with or without them, all models are agile and hold the road well. The S tronic automatic gearbox should also be considered, as it is one of the slickest, smoothest and fastest-shifting automatics on the market. Audi's renowned quattro four-wheel-drive system is available on all models in the TT range, but the petrol versions get the option of front-wheel drive as well. The four-wheel drive system is excellent, with loads of grip and superb handling. You might even consider the Audi TT to be a very stylish and good-to-drive hot hatch.
The Audi TT might be a sports car, but it's just as well equipped on the safety front as any other Audi. It gets two-stage driver and passenger airbags, ESP and Isofix child seat mountings as standard, and it got the full five stars from Euro NCAP's crash safety tests. The Audi TT slipped some way down the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey rankings in 2013, going from 50th place in 2012 down to 96th out of 150 cars. For a car that's been around for so long, however, that's a decent score. However, glitches have been reported with the automatic gearbox and electrics - particularly on cars that have been retrofitted with iPod docks.
It's style first and practicality very much second with the Audi TT, but most buyers will probably know that already. There's plenty of room for those in the front seats, but the rear seats are extremely tight, and even small children will find conditions cramped. The rear seats do fold down, however, which means you can increase boot space from 290 litres (which is already pretty good for a coupe) to 700 litres. Think of the TT as a two-seater with lots of boot space rather than a four-seater and you'll be happier with the space on offer. Due to chunky pillars and a narrow windscreen, visibility isn't the best, but the driving position is great.
It's not cheap to buy, but the Audi TT should hold its value very well - so depreciation shouldn't be too much of a worry. Even today, the coupe retains 60 per cent of its value after three years, meaning total ownership costs are low. The S tronic double clutch gearbox mated to the 2.0-litre TDI diesel manages 51.4mpg, so it's the best option for company car buyers (as well as those who just want to save money). It costs more to buy than the manual, but offers an involving driving experience. The entry-level 1.8 petrol model gets economy of 44mpg and emissions of 149g/km, meaning tax costs £135 a year.