Audi TT: a design history

A design history of Audi's TT sports car from the man who designed the new model

With the first two incarnations of the Audi TT selling more than 500,000 between them, the pressure is on the latest third-generation model – and, as ever, the design will 
be crucial to its success.

So Auto Express brought together all three TT generations, with Dany Garand – Audi exterior project designer – to talk us through the evolution.

Such was the radical look and immediate success of the TT when it was launched back in 1998, this new model was never going to stray too far from its foundations, despite being 157mm longer and 150kg lighter than the original.

Garand showed a clear appreciation of the first-generation TT, and he was quick to defend the latest model amid accusations that its design hasn’t changed enough.

“I wouldn’t say the design is evolutionary,” he told us. “I’d say it’s a respect of the icon, a revival of the icon.

“There was a very clear intention of readdressing the styling strength and architectural clarity of the first generation. We looked at different styling, but the perception of the car was no longer as a TT. You change a few elements and people lose the link to the TT.”


Garand wanted the car to remain very much its own model, explaining: “There are a few design features on the TT that’ll never appear on another Audi. You don’t see this styling approach anywhere else in the line-up today, and we feel it should stay that way.”

Lines on the flanks and rear haunches are sharper, the creases are more prominent and Garand told us putting tension in the body was a vital part in creating a legitimate sports car. “The way the car looks must translate into its dynamic potential,” he said.“You can see similar lines from the first model. Because it was such a design statement, people understood it. We wanted to bring the TT back to life as a modern interpretation.”

But with Audi promising to add 11 new models to its range by 2020, can we expect an extended TT family? “We are probing many different variations, but the TT is very specific."A true TT will be the TT Coupé,” claimed Garand. “To make a business case with more variations, I guess time will tell.

“If people want to see something 
like the TT Shooting Brake, I’d say why not? It’s a very interesting mix of sportiness and off-road, but as far as I’m concerned the TT is a sports coupé.”

Exciting times ahead, then, but it’s clear from speaking with Audi’s designers that the TT remains sacred. The technology that goes into it will keep improving, yet the design itself will continue to be influenced by the original, introduced 16 years ago.

It’s a formula that works for Porsche, and it looks like a formula that’s set 
to work for Audi, too, with the brand having already taken 3,500 pre-orders ahead of the car’s launch in the fourth quarter of the year.


Audi TT review
Audi TT Coupe - front tracking
Audi TT

Audi TT review

The Audi TT backs up its head-turning looks with an engaging drive and plenty of tech
23 Mar 2020
Audi TT set to morph into all-electric crossover
Audi eTTron render - front
Audi TT

Audi TT set to morph into all-electric crossover

Poor selling Audi TT prepares to transform into a new all-electric SUV. Our exclusive images preview how it could look
11 Oct 2019

Most Popular

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed
BMW 3 Series Touring

New 2022 BMW M3 Touring officially confirmed

New hot BMW M3 Touring estate on the way and it’ll feature the same 503bhp straight-six engine as the saloon. Our exclusive image previews how it coul…
12 Aug 2020
Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021

Entire Volkswagen line-up updated for 2021

Volkswagen has revised its complete range of vehicles for 2021, adding new engines, fresh tech and its latest MIB3 infotainment system
11 Aug 2020
New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp
Audi S3

New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp

Audi’s latest hot hatch keeps four-cylinder power but turns up the wick and level of standard tech
11 Aug 2020