Audi talks quietly but packs a punch
There were claims that Audi had lost the plot with the second generation TT because the design had been watered down too much. Several thousand sales later, hats, words and humble pie was being eaten by motoring journalists. Audi got it right with the TT Mk II. Heres how to track down a decent used example.
The cabin of the TT has high standards to live up to. Even today, the old TT's cabin feels anything but old. Yes, all-round visibility is woeful but that fascia still feels smart.
The latest car reprises the old models look and feel, with the chrome-ringed speedo and rev counter housed in their own cowl and the round air vents, but also adds a few contemporary design touches such as the flat-bottomed steering wheel, the angled centre console and a sportier seating position.
The chassis of the TT isn't enormously different in fundamental layout to something like a Volkswagen Golf but whereas the Golf uses steel for its suspension components, the TT uses expensive and lighter aluminium. Some 69 per cent of the body is aluminium with the other 31 per cent steel, which means that the 2.0-litre turbo model is 60kg lighter than the old 1.8-litre six-speed car. The S-tronic twin clutch gearbox option (the gearbox formerly known as DSG) adds 20kg to that figure while the 3.2-litre car tips the scales at 1,445kg.
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The Roadster's hood is a traditional fabric affair, one of the key reasons why the weight penalty has been kept to a mere 35kg over the Coupe. Electrohydraulically operated, it uses a steel and aluminium framework to pare further grammes from its bulk. Were it not for an additional layer of soundproofing, it would be even lighter. It's easy to see where weight could be saved. Instead of the heated glass rear window Audi could have used a vinyl item and rather than opting for a powered mesh wind deflector they could have opted for a pull-up screen. This being Audi, however, they didn't and you won't begrudge the extra few kilos these features add when driving the car.
A clever Z-fold system means that the rigid forward section of the roof folds down on top of the remainder, eliminating the need for a tonneau – so often the inelegant engineering solution on convertible cars. What's more, the roof operates in a mere 12 seconds and can be operated at speeds of up to 30mph. The TT Roadster requires no manual clipping or latching to the header rail either. Just fire and forget.
Book prices start at £16,250 for the first of the 06 plated 2.0 TFSI coupes with a manual gearbox, metallic paint and leather. The S Tronic twin-clutch sequential gearbox is a very desirable fitment to these cars and adds around £800 to the used valuation. Aim for a roadster and you'll need to stump up £16,500 for a manual and £17,300 for an S Tronic. The 3.2-litre car hasn't found quite so many takers as Audi may have wished and has suffered heavier depreciation. You'll be able to pick up an 06-plated Quattro coupe for £16,750 and a roadster for £17,400, both on an 06 plate. Again, you'll need to tack around £800 onto those prices if you want the paddle shift gear change and deduct about £1,000 from those figures if the car comes with an atlas on the parcel shelf instead of dealer-fit satellite navigation.
As you'd expect given such light weight, performance is strong. The 197bhp 2.0-litre turbo TT posts a sprint to 60mph in 6.6 seconds (6.4 with DSG) before running on to a top speed of 149mph. The 3.2-litre car makes 60 in 5.9 seconds (5.7 with DSG) and hits an electronic limiter at 155mph. It was slightly bizarre that the old TT Quattro Sport with 237bhp was, due to its lighter weight, quicker and more capable than the flagship 3.2-litre car.
The TT-S is quicker still. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and four wheel drive may not be original but its a template that has produced some iconic sports cars down the years. The 60mph benchmark is 5.0 seconds away in the manual TTS Coupe, with the top speed pegged at 155mph. Choose the S tronic dual clutch sequential transmission and that figure is shaved down to 4.8 seconds; serious pace by virtually any measure.
Many will ask will be whether the TT TDI diesel model is quick enough. Clearly this depends on your definition of fast, but a sprint to 60mph in just 7.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 140mph is a decent showing from this 169bhp engine. Quattro four wheel drive helps you get the power onto the tarmac too. Revving to 5,000rpm, this diesel engine is an impressive unit and the torque figure of 350Nm knocks the 2.0T petrol models 280Nm into next week. Even the 3.2-litre V6 quattro models only manage 320Nm.
Some used car buys are genuinely hard to fault and the TT is one of them. Demand has kept prices buoyant, so don't expect to scalp somebody for a big bargain. The pick of the range is probably the 2.0TFSI with the S tronic gearbox but whichever TT model you opt for, you're getting a car that talks more quietly but punches a whole lot harder than its predecessor.