Audi TT Sport

The lighter, tuned TT Sport turned the already great TT into a proper drivers' car

The Audi TT revolutionised the coupé market when it was launched in 1999, setting new standards for design, quality and desirability. But it was the styling and wonderful interior, rather than its abilities on the road, that won all the attention. Put simply, the pretty two-seater didn’t get enthusiastic motorists excited.

The TT Sport was designed to change that when it arrived in 2005. Only 1,000 examples were sold in the UK, and with its two-tone paintwork and unique dished 18-inch alloy wheels, there was no mistaking it.

Inside, supportive race-style Recaro seats and an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel make the TT Sport feel very special. To save weight, the rear seats were removed and a strut brace was fitted across the empty space. This helped the Sport to shed 49kg over the standard car. In mainland Europe, the maker took this diet even more seriously, as left-hand-drive models miss out on a radio and air-conditioning, too.

All TT Sports use the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine as its lesser stablemate, but it was tweaked to provide an extra 16bhp. Its torque output rose from 280Nm to 320Nm, too. With 237bhp at its disposal, the Sport certainly feels punchier behind the wheel. On the road, a lovely turbo whistle accompanies the excellent mid-range acceleration, while in the corners it has tighter body control. It isn’t as fast as the flagship 3.2-litre V6, but it is a better sports car.

Limpet-like grip combined with quattro traction to make it the sharpest-handling version of the first-generation TT. Harsh critics will complain about the unforgiving ride, but unique looks and thelimited production run make this one of the most desirable examples of Audi’s groundbreaking coupé. The original TT is already accepted as an automotive great, and in years to come the limited-edition Sport is sure to become a rare and sought-after classic.

Details

WHY: Lightweight, performance-focused TT ensnared drivers

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