Made for fast, fun driving, the luxe Audi TT Coupe is a speedster that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.
By Colin Bertram
The Big Picture
A two-door coupe that’s more urban rocket than pleasant runabout, the Audi TT Coupe has power on tap and that understated style German luxury car makers do so well. It’s low and sleek with just the right amount of muscle. The first generation TT had a profile that was more bubble-cute than sexy-roadster. Thankfully the TT maintains the second-generation shape — a lower profile and sleeker curves.
Full disclosure: One of my best girlfriends in New York City is an Audi TT devotee. She’s currently driving a black 2011 sport model after trading in her cherry red first generation TT that she had for five years. Why does she love this snub-nosed speedster so much? Well, let’s let her explain it. “I always have enough power to get out of any situation — be it dodging a tractor-trailer on the Long Island Expressway or a taxi mash up on the F.D.R. Drive. Plus, it’s comfortable and the all wheel [Quattro] drive means I can tackle rain and snow without fear. I just love this car!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Not that I had to tackle ice or pouring rain when driving the Audi TT Coupe. The worst conditions confronting the test vehicle I had was a little fog early one morning when I left San Diego to return home to Los Angeles. But as my friend attests, the TT never left me wanting for more — either on the highway or running errands around town.
Less is more in Audi cars and that’s certainly true of the TT. Slipping into the cabin you’re surrounded by tactile surface treatments: leather sport seats (ten-way power driver and front passenger seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment comes standard), beveled rubber and plastic on the dash surrounds with accents of brushed aluminum, and a three-spoke, flat bottom, leather-wrapped adjustable steering wheel with shift paddles.
Ergonomics are fantastic with everything right where you want on it on the dash. While the large, round air vents offer a retro-roadster appeal to the cabin, the black, white and red backlit driving gauges are pure 21st century tech. Easy to use steering wheel dials and buttons allow for easy operation of the sound system or Bluetooth connectivity without taking your eyes off the road. The best description for the driver’s cockpit is spare, but I use that word in the wonderfully Teutonic sense.
One complaint. Why the designers at Audi thought it a good idea to tuck the window up/down buttons behind a handgrip halfway up the door armrest is baffling. A small inconvenience to be truthful, but made all the more annoying by how seamlessly everything else is to hand.
For both driver and passenger there’s full-sized standard airbags, seat-mounted head-thorax side airbags and knee airbags. There are LATCH tethers for children in rear (I dare you to try and get a kid’s seat in the back!) and an anti-theft alarm system. The Audi TT Coupe has not been rated in crash tests.
Seriously? Take a look at this car! It’s made for singles or couples. The 2+2 seating arrangement only works if the 2 sitting in the back are tiny of stature. Even kids of 10 or older will find the legroom anything but a squeeze — especially over any distance. Plus, there are a total of two cup-holders, sending the message loud and clear that this car will never win in the carpool stakes.
The 50/50 split folding rear seat comes in handy if you decide to stock up while at the supermarket or throw a set of golf clubs in the back. But the trunk had surprisingly ample space for car of this size. It could easily hold a cart-full of groceries or enough luggage for a weekend getaway. And the four cargo rings and mesh netting keep your goods in place as you vroom around the city.
Gizmos and Tech
The Audi TT Coupe’s driver information system will cough up whatever statistics you need — be it MPG or how far your fuel reserve can take you. Audi Hill Hold assist is standard as is electronic stabilization (ESP), anti-lock brakes, a groovy automatic rear spoiler that can be manually operated or will pop up if your speed goes above 75 mph (it makes you grin when it does!), tire pressure monitoring system, 9 speaker 140-watt sound system, Bluetooth, a light sensor that will turn the Xenon headlights on if needed, rain sensor for automatic windshield wipers and okay, okay… you get the picture. There’s also a three-month trial of Sirius XM satellite radio and optional MMI navigation system ($2,070) and heated seats ($450).
Around town the Audi TT Coupe’s firm, sport-suspension can be a tad jarring, but the wide body and Quattro all-wheel drive system allows you to throw this car into corners without fear of body roll or loss of control.
It’s fast. Really fast. And you get the feeling it wants to go faster with all that power on tap. The vehicle I tested had a 2-liter, turbo-charged, direct-injection engine that delivers 211 horsepower and enough torque to launch you forward in any given situation. No matter how hard I drove the Audi TT Coupe it never struggled. There’s a competence to the vehicle that makes it an easy car to drive city and highway. Steering is light yet responsive, and if you choose the optional magnetic ride with S package ($1,900), a simple button press tightens the suspension (avoid potholes at all costs!) and reduces play in the steering wheel.
Fast and furiously fun, the Audi TT isn't designed for carpooling or lugging cargo. This car is all about good times, and as my best girlfriend always says, “You can’t help but smile every time you get behind the wheel.”
The engine will never leave you wanting for more power.
More understated than flashy in the looks department.
Seats are firm for any long distance travel.