While Audi's sports cars may not have the same appeal as one from BMW or Mercedes Benz, it is undeniable--they make a fine automobile. The TT is one such example of how Audi has cemented its place as a solid contender to the two other German manufacturing giants. Coming in either a spacious 2+2 coupe or a classy two-seat Roadster, the TT is a gorgeous car. The Quattro variant adds an extra layer of appeal, giving drivers excellent handling, performance, and control in the form of on-demand four-wheel drive.
1998-2006: The car named after a motorcycle race
The TT is named after the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle race, although some attribute the name to Audi's aim of merging technology and tradition. The TT first came out as a coupe in 1998, followed by the Roadster variant in August of 1999. Unlike cars made by its contemporaries, Audi managed to create a vehicle of sleek, rounded curves--all the while managing to still look really tough and manly.
Interestingly, the powertrain layout of the Audi TT was closest to that released on the Volkswagen. In the case of the Quattro, the engine was a 1.8-L, inline-4, 20-valve turbocharged internal combustion model tied to an on-demand four-wheel drivetrain. The combination resulted in horsepower output between 178 and 222, making the TT Quattro as fast as it was maneuverable. In 2003, the engine range was complimented with a 3.2-L VR6 for a boost up to 247 hp. Additionally, a new six-speed dual clutch transmission was installed, improving acceleration while reducing time required to shift gears.
The year 2005 saw the introduction of the Sport variant that had its power increased via its 1.8-liter turbocharged engine--resulting in an output of 237 horsepower. Additionally, weight was reduced by 165 pounds. That reduction, in turn, allowed it to 0 to 62.1 mph in a quick 5.9 seconds.
2006-present: The TT comes into its own
The second generation was revealed on April 6, 2006 and was a beautiful evolution from its predecessor. This TT exemplifies the typical German mindset of constantly improving upon what already works. Weight distribution was one big area of improvement--aluminum was used in the front body panels while steel was used in the rear to offset the engine's weight. Speaking of the engine, the latest TT got an all-new 1.8-liter, EA888 Turbocharged Fuel-Stratified Injection engine.
This new engine was derived from the Audi's Le Mans endurance race experience, and offered fuel efficiency, increased power output, and cleaner emissions than ever before. The six-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox was retained, and naturally, the Quattro four-wheel drive system was retained. The TT Clubsport concept was featured specifically for the Quattro in 2008. It was an open-topped speedster variant with a 2.0-liter TFSI engine tuned for a whopping 296 horsepower.
At present, this Quattro is still primarily a show car. Audi, however, has not ruled out the possibility of small-scale, limited-run production.