What Car? says...
The silhouette of the Audi TT has become very familiar since its launch, but whoever said familiarity breeds contempt has obviously never spent time with a TT. This is a car that's become more and more appealing over time.
You could argue that this third-generation TT is a kind of greatest hits album, mixing the best elements from the two previous generations. Why do we say that? Well, in the past, the Audi sports car has been a bit frustrating: the original was eye-catching but not great to drive, while the second generation was good to drive but not that special to look at.
This latest version, though, manages to nail both disciplines, combining arresting looks and an engaging driving experience in one package. It’s so good, in fact, that it has taken multiple titles in the What Car? Awards over the years and has a habit of outselling rivals including the BMW 2 Series and the Ford Mustang (in the UK, at least).
Making things even better, there’s a version of the Audi TT to suit most buyers. The range includes the TT Coupé we’re reviewing here, the Audi TT Roadster convertible for those who want some top-down thrills, and the powerful Audi TT RS for those who crave supercar-worrying 0-60mph times. We’ve reviewed both those versions separately.
Of course, it can’t all be great news, and while the best coupés have been refreshed in recent years, the third-generation TT has remained largely unchanged for a while now. So, does it have what it takes to remain ahead of its rivals and take on competitors such as the excellent Porsche 718 Cayman?
Over the next few pages of this review, we’ll put the Audi TT to the test to see how good it is in all the important areas, including practicality, running costs and, of course, performance and handling. We'll also tell you how it compares with rival cars and which version we'd buy.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Audi TT's 2.0-litre petrol engine is offered in three power outputs, and our pick is the entry-level 40 TFSI. It produces 194bhp and pulls strongly from low revs, with more than enough mid-range grunt for quick overtakes. With 0-62mph in 6.6sec, it's fast enough to worry smaller hot hatches such as the Ford Fiesta ST.
The extra power of the 242bhp 45 TFSI is mostly found at the top of the rev range, so it doesn’t feel that much faster than the 40 TFSI in most driving situations. However, while the 40 TFSI is front-wheel drive only, the 45 TFSI has quattro four-wheel drive, which brings extra traction for cleaner launches, even in slippery conditions.
The 316bhp TTS is quick enough to pip the Porsche 718 Cayman S from 0-62mph (4.5sec for the TTS) and has four-wheel drive as standard so none of its power is squandered. You simply point the car in the direction you want to go and give it as much gas as you see fit. Dynamic mode sharpens the throttle response and makes the S tronic automatic gearbox hold on to gears for longer. The exhaust even adds a satisfying (but manufactured) burble to the soundtrack on your back-road blast. If you want even more performance, check out our Audi TT RS review.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Sport and Sport Edition versions of the TT have a suspension setup that delivers a firm but generally comfortable ride, and even the sports suspension that comes on S Line trim and above isn’t too bumpy.
Both setups can be a little jarring over motorway expansion joints or particularly intrusive drain covers, but then this is a sporty coupé, not a luxury limo, after all. Add big wheels (up to 20in are available), though, and you’ll feel every imperfection in the road, so it’s worth resisting the temptation to opt for these if you value comfort over sporty looks.
The TTS comes with adaptive suspension (Magnetic Ride in Audi speak) as standard. That allows you to stiffen or soften the ride to taste. It’s an effective system, and in Comfort mode, the TTS's ride is surprisingly agreeable.
When you turn in to a corner, the TT’s light, accurate steering allows you to place it on the road with pinpoint accuracy. Grip levels are good and there’s hardly any body lean – especially in versions equipped with the stiffer sports suspension.
In wet conditions, front-wheel-drive TTs can struggle to transfer all their power to the road when accelerating out of corners. The four-wheel-drive (quattro) versions, on the other hand, are virtually unflappable.
Noise and vibration
The TT is a sports coupé, so it was never likely to be as hushed as more luxurious and less performance-focused cars. There is noticeable wind noise around the frameless windows, and some road noise, but it's still a pretty quiet car to cover big miles in – certainly when compared with the Mustang.
The seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox is generally quite slick, but you’ll find that it tends to be quite jerky at slow speeds, especially in the car's more aggressive Dynamic mode.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The first thing that strikes you about the Audi TT's interior is how simple the dashboard is. There's just a handful of clearly labelled buttons, which are all set neatly into the fascia. This minimalist approach is continues with the absence of a central infotainment screen (rather unusual these days).
That’s not to say you don’t get any infotainment, though. It’s all handled by a 12.3in digital instrument panel, which sits behind the steering wheel. Like the system in many new Audi models, it has a Virtual Cockpit screen that can show sat-nav maps (provided you go for the optional Technology Pack), your music collection and more, and replicates traditional analogue dials.
Drivers of most shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable thanks to the standard front centre armrest and plentiful adjustment to the steering wheel and driver's seat. The standard, figure-hugging sport seats in S Line are manually adjustable, with four-way lumbar adjustment on the driver’s side. Range-topping Vorsprung trim adds an electrically adjustable driver's seat.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The TT’s sleek styling and high waistline restrict your view out a bit, but visibility isn’t too bad by coupé standards, especially out of the front.
Pulling out of junctions requires a bit of neck craning, though, and while you get rear parking sensors as standard, front sensors and a reversing camera are part of the pricey Comfort and Sound pack on all but top-rung Vorsprung trim.
S Line trim gets bright LED headlights as standard, while Vorsprung versions go even further, with matrix LED headlights that can remain on main beam virtually all the time, constantly shaping their light field to avoid dazzling the cars in front.
Sat nav and infotainment
The TT's infotainment screen is directly behind the steering wheel, which is good news in theory as it means you don’t have to divert your eyes far from the road to see it. On the minus side, your passenger can’t help out with the sat-nav or manage the music.
The setup also takes a little getting used to because the menus are condensed to fit into a fairly restricted screen space. Once you are familiar with it, the interface (a rotary controller between the front seats) is much less distracting to use while you're driving than a touchscreen would be.
A DAB radio and a USB socket come as standard, but sat-nav costs extra as part of the relatively pricey Technology Pack on all but the range-topping Vorsprung trim and the TTS. Audi smartphone interface is standard across the range, allowing you to connect your phone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The TT’s interior really is something to behold, with solid-feeling, high-quality materials throughout. The buttons and switches all feel reassuringly weighty, operating with the precision of a Swiss watch.
What’s even better is that you get to enjoy that quality regardless of which trim you go for; because you get smart Alcantara and leather upholstery across the seats, and plenty of aluminium trim highlights.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Considering the Audi TT's sports car looks, there’s a generous amount of space up front for a pair of adults. Only those with very long legs will find themselves wishing the seats slid back a bit further, and the wide cabin helps prevent any claustrophobia.
There’s also a good amount of headroom. Again, those measuring north of six feet might find themselves struggling slightly but it shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re very tall. If you want unlimited headroom, there's always the convertible Audi TT Roadster.
The door bins are fairly small, but there’s a little cubby in front of the gearlever too to keep valuables out of sight, plus a decent-sized glovebox. The cupholder between the front seats is deep enough to hold a tall cup of coffee upright when you’re cornering or braking.
The TT’s two rear seats are pretty confined and better left for a couple of shopping bags, rather than a pair of humans – even teenagers will find themselves feeling cramped on anything more than a very short journey.
Both back seats have Isofix mounts, so they can take child seats, although doing this will require you to slide the front seat forwards quite a long way, limiting front leg room.
Seat folding and flexibility
The rear seats split 50/50 or can be folded down together. It’s easy to do this when you’re standing by the boot – simply pull a lever on top of the seatback and push the seat forward.
The front passenger seat has lumbar adjustment as standard in S line trim, and is electrically adjustable on the top-spec Vorsprung trim. That’s about it for seating flexibility, though.
Surprisingly, the TT’s boot has more space in terms of litres of volume than that of a Ford Fiesta. While the TT's boot is technically bigger, it’s also rather shallow.
The weekly shopping shouldn’t present any problems, but carrying taller items is more of a challenge and will usually require folding down the rear seats. Thankfully, doing so leaves no annoying step in the extended boot floor, plus there’s only a small lip to negotiate at the boot's entrance.
The TT has a large hatchback tailgate rather than the saloon-style opening of many coupés. That means you can fit a bicycle in if you remove its front wheel.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
We reckon the entry-level Audi TT engine – the 40 TFSI – makes the most sense. It keeps the price and running costs reasonable (officially it'll do up to 42.2mpg and emit 154g/km of CO2), yet is still pretty nippy. The more powerful 45 TFSI won't break the bank either, but if you add quattro four-wheel drive the fuel economy drops and the CO2 emissions rise a bit more.
Then again, it's all relative: next to a V8 Ford Mustang even the TTS is cheap to run considering the pace it delivers. No matter which TT you go for, depreciation is likely to be slightly faster than the Mustang and the Porsche 718 Cayman.
See our full Audi TT RS review to find out how expensive that version is to run.
Equipment, options and extras
Due to the Sport and Sport Edition trims being phased out, we’d recommend you go with S Line. It gives you LED headlights, 19in alloy wheels, and sports seats with four-way lumbar adjustment. We'd also recommend adding the Plus Package to get climate control and privacy glass.
Black Edition mostly adds black styling details, including the wheels, front grille and door mirror casings. The Final Edition and Vorsprung trims are very expensive for both the TT and TTS, and only worth a look if you're a real hedonist.
Audi as a brand finished in the bottom third of the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey – claiming 21st place out of 32 manufacturers. That puts it above Mercedes in the standings, but below BMW and Porsche.
The TT as a model found much more success in the coupés, convertibles and sports cars section of our survey, coming in second out of a class of 15, ceding the top spot to the Mini Convertible.
Audi’s three-year warranty is valid for unlimited mileage in the first two years (a 60,000 mile limit applies in the third), and includes three years of UK roadside assistance and recovery. A four or five-year warranty can also be added from the options list for extra peace of mind.
Safety and security
The TT received four stars out of five when safety tested by Euro NCAP back in 2015 – a result that has now expired due to how much more stringent today’s tests are. Even then, that was a relatively disappointing showing and came largely because the TT isn’t available with automatic emergency braking (AEB).
Every TT comes with four airbags as standard, along with a secondary collision assist system that helps to stop the car as soon as possible after a crash. Optional kit (standard on range-topping Vorsprung trim) includes a blind-spot warning system and traffic-sign recognition.
Security experts at Thatcham awarded the car five out of five for its resistance to being stolen and four out of five for its resistance to being broken into. Every version comes with an alarm.
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Audi isn’t directly replacing the TT with a new model when it comes to the end of its product cycle in 2023. It’s been around since 2014, which is an impressively long run for a modern car.
Previous-generation TTs had a few issues, but the latest version seems to be one of the least troublesome coupés out there, managing to secure second-place in the coupés, convertibles and sports cars section of our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey.