Price range: $64,500 – $136,900
Good: Great styling, impeccable build quality, light body, nimble handling, sweet manual gear change and communicative steering. The entry level 1.8 TFSI is an honest quality, fun to drive sports car.
Not so Good: Small rear seats, more road noise than ideal and lower priced grades lack serious oomph.
Design and Engineering
Good : This 2nd generation model arrived in Australia in September 2006 with the mid life facelift following in October 2010.
Whilst it is almost 14cm longer and 8cm wider than the 1st gen model (available 1998 to 2006), weight is virtually the same. This is mainly due to the fact that the TT’s body is 69 per cent aluminium construction, with the remaining 31 per cent steel.
The exterior styling remains a real highlight. We love the swoopy roofline, high waist and classic Bauhaus lines over a distinctively squat stance. Yes, this TT remains one sexy looking automobile.
A wide range of engines with a wild spectrum of horsepower is on offer – all fitted with clever technology.
Not so good : One of our testers thinks the TT looks stumpy but the overall consensus was a big thumbs up from our design department.
Much of the TT’s platform originates from the Volkswagen Golf platform, although with so many components unique to the TT this really is a mute point. It’s definitely so much more than a Golf with unique styling.
Interior and Styling
Good : The brilliant interior styling is super classy. The quality fit and finish of the soft-to-touch plastics on the dash is significantly more premium than the competition. All the switchgear is logically arranged, the driver’s dials are clear and legible, and the brushed aluminium trim inserts look great. Interior colour treatments include Nougat brown, Garnet red and Titanium grey alongside the usual blacks.
There’s plenty of room up front for two. The driving position is fantastic, with comfortable yet supportive seats across all grades. The seats can be set nice and low, offering plenty of rearwards adjustability and the square bottom steering wheel feels great. The extended cabin width over the 1st generation TT means you won’t knock elbows with your companion in the front.
The boot is a surprisingly roomy 290L with the seats up, and with the back seats folded down a full sized bicycle with the front wheel taken off can fit in the rear, the cargo space growing to 700 litres. The rear hatch is more practical than booted sports coupes.
Not so good : A high waist body, shallow glass profile and low set seats equate to less outwards visibility than average, however it is by no means poor, and also gives the impression of a tight-fitting cabin.
Small rear seats, with cramped amounts of head and legroom are strictly for small children or short trips only if you’re above 150cm tall.
Boot is shallower than most and the loading lip is higher than ideal.
Good : Buyers may choose from a range varying from a super economical diesel 2.0 TDI Quattro with 125kW of power, 350Nm of torque and an official combined fuel economy of only 5.3L per 100kms, to the entry level 1.8 TFSI (118kW, 250Nm and 6.4L per 100kms), the 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI Quattro with155kW, 350Nm and 7.1 or 7.2L per 100kms, to the 2.0L S Quattro with 200kW, 350Nm and 7.9 or 8.0L per 100kms and the barnstorming 2.5L RS Quattro offering 250kW, 450Nm and 9.2L per 100kms.
After a week with the 1.8 TFSI, which can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds, we came away most impressed. This little four cylinder engine sounds excellent and is a joy to rev throughout its range.
Not so good : For the price, the 1.8 TFSI can’t match the oomph of a number of competitors however it is by no means slow. If you’re after more oomph we recommend looking north to the 2.0 TFSI for approximately $10k more.
Ride and Handling
Good : This model TT is so much more of a driver’s car than the 1st generation. The suspension has MacPherson struts with aluminium lower wishbones up front and a four-link rear end, while the steering is an electromechanical rack and pinion set-up.
The extensive use of lightweight aluminium for the TT’s body equates to the 1.8 TFSI weighing in at an impressively low 1240kg. On the road this variant fells nicely balanced, a number of our testers went as far as saying it had ‘real dynamic ability’.
The 1.8 TFSI is free of the dreaded torque steer that affects a number of front wheel drive sports cars. Road handling is impressive, the steering is sharp and responds well to mid corner adjustments and the ride is comfortable on the standard 17 inch wheels.
Not so good : Enter too fast into a tight corner and of course the front drive 1.8 TFSI will understeer and the steering feel isn’t quite class leading, lacking the feelsome communication and meatiness of the best systems. It isn’t a Lotus Elise beater dynamically, but it’s so much more of an easy car to live with on a day to day basis. Whilst impressive in isolation, the TT is still not the very best ‘driver’s car’. In its defence, how often can or should you drive like you are on a race track in this day and age? Road noise is a little higher than ideal.
Buying and Owning
Good : Overall the TT Coupe has taken a noteworthy step forward since the classic 1998 to 2006 1st generation model.
Standard features include climate control air-conditioning, a high-output audio system, a multi-function steering wheel, leather-trimmed upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels and an electronically retractable rear spoiler.
The entry level 1.8 TFSI doesn’t look or feel like a ‘cheaper car’ in comparison with the rest of the range and ticks the safety box with twin front and head-protecting side/thorax airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control as standard fare.
Not so good : The 1.8 TFSI grade is by no means lavishly equipped with features and is the sole variant not available with an auto transmission.
There is no spare tyre so owners must make do with a compressor and sealant, and the extensive options list is mighty tempting, making it hard not to get carried away.