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What Car? says

5 out of 5 stars

For The TT has stunning looks inside and out - it's a design icon now - and a drive to match

Against Reliability has been a real issue, and it's more of a tourer than a sports car

Verdict The TT still looks as fresh as the day it first appeared, and it remains a real head-turner

Go for… 225bhp cars

Avoid… Sport models

Audi TT Coupe
  • 1. Listen for knocking from the suspension on a test drive
  • 2. Check the full ESP package is fitted - ask questions if the ESP button on the dash is missing
  • 3. The coupe does have seats in the back, but they're extremely cramped
  • 4. Dash console can give lots of problems and it costs several hundred pounds to replace; if it doesn't all work, walk away
  • 5. Engine air mass meter can fail - sluggish, erratic performance is a symptom
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Audi TT Coupe full review with expert trade views

Stunning is the only word to describe the TT's looks. Even though it's been on sale since 1999, there's still nothing else that looks quite like it. Best of all, the cabin is as stylish as the exterior, with all sorts of beautiful design touches.

It's comfortable, too, for a coupe, with plenty of room in the front for all but the tallest. Unlike the TT roadster, the coupe does have seats in the back, but they're extremely cramped, and best used as extra stowage to add to the decent boot space.

Best of all, the TT drive almost well as it looks, with good performance from even the least powerful versions. Most have four-wheel drive - and excellent traction as a result - while the firm suspension gives sharp handling, although the low-speed ride is rather firm.

That said, the TT's not quite as exciting as a Porsche Boxster to drive, and you're better off thinking of it as a high-speed tourer rather than an outright sports car.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Less demand for the coupe and lots around now, 225 best on forecourt

James Ruppert
Used car guru

If you fancy a TT, but are torn between the hard-top coupe and soft-top roadster, the deciding factor may well be what sort of a driver you are. The coupe's roof makes the body stiffer and improves the handling, so it's the only choice for a keen driver, whereas the roadster is better for those who are happy to take things more gently.

As far as the trim is concerned, things are easy, as there's no choice - just a single, generous trim for each engine. However, picking which engine is not easy and your choice depends largely on how much money you have.

The earliest models, and therefore the cheapest used buys, have a choice of 180 and 225bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre engines, and we reeckon the more powerful is the best buy in the range.

That said, the 3.2 V6 that arrived in 2003 is a great engine, particularly with the optional semi-auto DSG gearbox, and even the front-wheel drive models with 180bhp won't leave you feeling short-changed.

There was a face-lift in 2002, but the revised front grille (the only major difference) is almost impossible to spot, so the best advice is to buy the newest car you can afford.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Poor reliability, high average repair bills - older cars have needed new dash pods

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Having been around since 1999, TTs are now becoming relatively cheap, and cheapest of all are the early left-hand drive imports from Europe. However, even the earliest right-hand drive models are now quite affordable. There's a good selection of older models in the trade, but for nearly new, Approved Used is the best route.

Running a TT, though, is another matter. All models sit in at least group 17 insurance, with most in 18 or 19. That may be on a par with the Porsche Boxster, but it's dear next to a BMW 3 Series coupe.

Repairs, too, will set you back a fair bit. Figures from Warranty Direct show that Audi dealers and independent specialists are among the most expensive, although on a par with BMW dealers and cheaper than Mercedes.

The one bit of good news is fuel economy, which can top 30mpg. The V6 is the heaviest on fuel, but even that should return about 25mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Less demand for the coupe and lots around now, 225 best on forecourt

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The big problem with the TT is that it has some big problems.

First on the list is the dash pod, which houses the instruments. If the fuel or temperature gauges don't work properly, or there are no lights on the dash, that's a sure sign of problems, so steer clear. Replacements cost several hundred pounds.

The front and rear anti-roll bars are also a problem area, so listen for knocking from the suspension on a test drive. Likewise, on early models, check the full ESP package is fitted - ask questions if the ESP button on the dash is missing.

Generally, the engines are pretty sound, but experts warn that the air mass meter can go wrong - poor performance, particularly hesitation under heavy load, is a sure sign of possible trouble ahead.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Poor reliability, high average repair bills - older cars have needed new dash pods

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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