The Audi TT is an uncommonly versatile sports car, to say the least. It can be a coupe or roadster, two- or four-seater, fun toy or small supercar.
For 2019 it’s unchanged except for small tweaks to the front and rear end.
The original 1999 Audi TT pioneered a sort of Art Deco styling theme, but the current one is more contemporary. It’s handsome, with sharp lines, a wide trapezoidal grille and big wheels.
The base TT is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4, here making 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque with standard all-wheel drive. The TTS boosts that engine to 288 hp and 280 lb-ft, which takes nearly a second off the 0-60 mph acceleration; the TT does it in an exciting 5.2 seconds, but the TTS does it in a breathtaking 4.4 seconds. They both use a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
If breathtaking isn’t fast enough, there is the TT RS coupe, which drops a 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine under the hood. It uses its 400 hp and 354 lb-ft to burst from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Its top speed is nearly 20 mph higher, at 174 mph. Its dual-clutch transmission gets a seventh gear to carry that speed.
The TT is EPA-rated at 23 mpg city, 31 highway, and 26 combined, on regular fuel. The TTS gets just 1 less mpg but demands premium fuel.
The TT hasn’t been crash-tested. Blind-spot monitors are optional. Automatic emergency braking isn’t available.
The Audi TT comes as a coupe or roadster with a 220-horsepower engine, with standard equipment including automatic climate control, ambient lighting, power features, leather upholstery, heated seats, a digital gauge cluster display, Bluetooth audio and phone, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and front and rear parking sensors. Options include a navigation and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The TTS coupe or roadster comes with a 288-horsepower engine, and adds Alcantara-trimmed leather seats, magnetic ride suspension, bigger brakes, and 19-inch wheels.
The technology package adds Bang & Olufsen sound with 12 speakers, navigation, blind-spot monitors, and WiFi hotspot capability. The interior package adds Nappa leather seats with diamond stitching and extended leather throughout.
The TT RS coupe, with a price that exceeds $70,000, has the big engine making 400 horsepower, with a suspension that’s lower and stiffer with downforce tweaks, and a new all-wheel-drive system; inside, there’s Alcantara upholstery. A Dynamic Plus package for another $7,000 adds an even more aggressive suspension, carbon-ceramic front brakes, and a carbon-fiber engine cover.
Because the Audi TT is low and wide and has big wheels, it looks bigger than it actually is. It looks more like the Audi R8 supercar than it does the original rounded TT. But the roofline of the current TT is retains a graceful arc to maintain the heritage.
Its short overhangs are the only suggestion that there is a modest hatchback platform under the sheetmetal.
The TTS and TT RS look good with sharp creases, angular headlights, big vents and bigger wheels.
The Audi TT cabin is the best, as far as the quality of materials and thoughtful touches. We like the attention to detailâ€”for example, the climate controls integrated into the three vents. The TTS and TT RS get carbon-fiber trim.
The TT commits full-on to Audi’s digital Virtual Cockpit, which foregoes an infotainment screen and puts a screen in place of the gauge cluster. The driver’s digital instrument display is among the best of its kind, and the virtual cockpit is easy to use.
Since the TT is low there’s limited outward vision, especially from the rear. The front bucket seats are supportive, there’s good front headroom despite the roof, and good legroom for the front passenger.
Audi fits real rear seats into the TT sports car. There’s actually room for two small people, if not four adult legs. The cargo space behind the back seat is excellent, and easily accessed via the big rear hatch.
The roadster stores its folding top in the space where the coupe fits its rear seats, and without a hatchback its cargo capacity is a very small 7.5 cubic feet.
The base TT takes a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque mated to a paddle-shifting, quick-responding, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with full-time all-wheel drive. It can accelerate from zero to sixty in a brisk 5.2 seconds.
The TTS uses turbocharger boost on the same engine to make 288 hp and 280 lb-ft, which drops the 0-60 mph time to 4.6 seconds. The TTS also gets a magnetic ride suspension that is far superior in ride control.
The TT RS is hardcore, with its 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine (which has racing and rally heritage), bringing an impressive 400 hp and 354 lb-ft. Its raspy exhaust note is unique, as it’s the only 5-cylinder engine (also in the Audi RS3) in any North American car. And it’s one of the very few cars that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
The handling of the base TT is fine. Steering is on the light side, but understeer is gone. The magnetic suspension in the TTS improves both cornering and comfort. The TT RS is very stiff; it really the car belongs on the track, not only to make the most of its suspension, but also the optional carbon-ceramic brakes, active rear spoiler, and sport tires.
The 2019 Audi TT packs sports-car bona fides in a stylish hatchback body. The digital gauge cluster is a jazzy touch, but handling and escalating levels of power are what draw more attention. The TTS coupe with its boosted horsepower and magnetic suspension is our choice.
by Sam Moses, with driving impressions from TheCarConnection.com