The Audi TT was a style icon of the late nineties and early 2000s, but despite having come along two decades ago, today's model has remained stylish and fresh while retaining its unmistakable shape. It's become one of the best small luxury sports cars out there, and its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is more than capable of providing fun and refinement. With 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, it's not the fastest car out there, while its $50,000 price tag can also scare away some. However, it's built superbly, looks and feels properly premium, and handles beautifully. Is that enough to keep it at the front of the pack, or are rear-wheel-drive rivals like the Toyota GR Supra and BMW Z4 better alternatives?
There aren't many changes for the TT going into the 2021 model year, but the ones that have been made will please buyers. The sports car now comes with S sport seats trimmed in Fine Nappa leather, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system and all-season tires as standard. 19-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires are now a standalone option instead of a part of a package deal. Finally, two new paint options have been added to the palette.
|45 TFSI quattro||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
That classic, handsome, inimitable design of the exterior has been tweaked and sharpened over the years, evolving with the times as Audi's design language has. As such, it gets LED headlights and taillights, a large Singleframe grille, muscular wheel arches, and a pert rear end. That back view features a full-length brake light and a faux diffuser housing a pair of single-exit exhaust tips on either end. The wheels are 18-inch units as standard with 19s available, while the signature aluminum-look fuel cap throws just enough retro in with the modern adaptive rear spoiler.
The Audi TT coupe has managed to retain its compact proportions despite putting on a little weight as it's progressed. It's just 165 inches in length and has a wheelbase of 98.6 inches. Height is rather low for this sort of car at 53.3 inches. Width is about average, though, measuring 72.1 inches without the side mirrors, while curb weight is rated at 3,197 pounds. That's around 200 pounds lighter than the 3.0-liter Supra, despite this car featuring all-wheel-drive.
This year, Navarra Blue and Chronos Grey join the TT's available paint options. You still get no-cost colors like Ibis White and Pulse Orange while $595 metallic finishes like Cosmos Blue, Florett Silver, Glacier White, Mythos Black, Nano Gray, and Tango Red also return. If none of these are to your liking, a custom color can be mixed up through Audi's exclusive special paint program. This isn't cheap, however, and will add $3,900 to the price of the Audi TT. To play it safe, we'd opt for one of the gray options, but that fiery red is difficult to ignore too.
The Audi TT is not the quickest car in its class, with just a 2.0-liter turbo-four propelling all four wheels with the aid of a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. Compared to six-cylinder rivals from BMW and Toyota, it's below average, recording a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.2 seconds when its rivals achieve the sprint in the high to low four-second bracket. This is due to the fact that the TT only produces 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It's by no means lethargic or slow, but those who want to be really thrilled can opt for the more powerful TTS and TT RS alternatives that we review separately. Despite largely average performance on paper, a top speed of 130 mph is more than enough to get you in trouble, and the TT's great handling and compact dimensions make it plenty of fun. Still, for those who want a hairy-chested sports car experience, an RWD car with 50 percent more power is always going to outdo the plucky TT. Essentially, the TT is great - it's just that others are more exciting.
The regular TT may be a base model so to speak, but its performance is not to be sniffed at. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with its IS20 turbocharger responds to the inputs of your right foot very well for a forced induction engine. The vehicle is nippy and can be quite an enjoyable companion when you're looking to jump ahead of the car next to you in traffic and steal a gap. It's great on the highway, too, with a decent power band that allows you to overtake others with ease. However, this engine is limited by the small turbocharger and doesn't reward you for hanging on to revs. Leave it in Dynamic and let the gearbox decide when to change to which of its seven cogs it needs, and you'll have a bit of a noise fest as it aims for 7,000 rpm each time. But take manual control via the paddles and shift up at 5,500, and you'll find this little coupe is plenty of fun. The gearbox itself isn't bad if you leave it to its own automatic devices, it's just that the management of the power band could be better utilized.
Before you let earlier comments about this car's handling lead you to believe that it sticks like it's on rails, let's just clarify: the TT has its limits, and they are easily found. However, they are also higher up than you may expect. There's no doubt that this car's RWD rivals are better balanced and feel more lively in all the right ways, but the all-wheel grip of the TT combines with its short wheelbase very nicely. As a Haldex system and not a proper quattro AWD setup, the front wheels will always get favored and the result can be a bit of understeer. The other side of the coin is that when the car is coaxed into a slide intentionally, all it takes is a little faith, a flat right foot, and a pair of hands that can keep the front wheels aimed straight along the road and the TT will do a great job of pulling itself straight. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to tell when the front tires are giving up despite the sharp steering setup's lack of true feel. In all other respects, from body roll to ride comfort and braking, the TT is well rounded and holds its own.
At the time of writing, official EPA estimates for the Audi TT's gas mileage had not yet been published. However, since the 2020 model is almost identical, we don't expect any changes for the new model. The new Audi TT should therefore achieve figures of 23/31/26 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Thanks to a 14.5-gallon gas tank, you can expect an average range of around 377 miles with mixed driving. Interestingly, the 3.0-liter version of the Supra is only one mpg worse on each cycle. With a smaller, 13.7-gallon gas tank, you'll stop more often in the fastest Supra and get further in the slowest one.
The interior of the 2021 Audi TT goes a long way to helping justify its cost. As always with Audi, it's beautifully designed and mixes modernity with class. Leather and soft-touch plastics are finished to perfection and perfectly balanced while a digital driver info display screen, which handles everything including infotainment images, makes sure that the driver feels in control. Dual-zone climate control keeps your shotgun passenger happy and the TT feels great overall, but the back seats are incredibly useless. These seats make the rear of a Porsche 911 feel like a business class lounge at a top tourist destination.
The TT is a car that claims to be a 2+2, and in typical fashion, that means cramped rear seats. However, these rear seats are so claustrophobic that we aren't even sure a child seat would be safe in them. It's just so small, and, assuming you have very skinny legs, that aggressively sloped roof will guarantee an uncomfortable trip, even if you're just spending a few minutes there. In front, things are much better. Even six-footers can get properly comfortable here and the low driving position coupled with the excellent outward visibility means that a first-time driver will feel at home on any road. In addition, the seats balance comfort with support in a way that doesn't require you to have a cushion on long trips or an excessively lean frame to feel secure.
As standard, the TT features black Fine Nappa leather contrasted by Alcantara and smatterings of aluminum. If you want a more luxurious feel in the cabin, diamond-stitched black leather with black stitching can be equipped for $1,250, while the same design with Palomino Brown leather and stitching is also on offer for the same price. Rock Gray stitching with black leather is also available with the quilted look, but this costs $2,200. Fortunately, the 2021 TT offers more leather throughout the cabin as standard than before, so any option will look fantastic. In terms of the decorative inlays on offer, it's more aluminum here, with a carbon-weave design called Aluminum Drift provided as standard while brushed aluminum costs the same as the top upholstery option.
The Audi TT isn't too bad a luggage hauler if you pack light, boasting a 12 cubic-foot trunk. It's easy to load thanks to a large rear hatch, but the angle of the hatch does mean that you can't double-stack much. Fortunately, the rear seats do fold in a 50/50 split if you want to go away for a long weekend.
In the cabin, you get averagely sized door pockets with recesses for water bottles, a small storage bin in the center armrest, an acceptable glovebox, and just one cupholder.
As standard, the Audi TT follows the rest of the brand's example by providing the driver with a 12.3-inch configurable full-color display behind the steering wheel. You also get keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a digital compass, heated eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with very nifty controls on the vents for the aforementioned seats, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and ambient LED lighting. An adaptive rear spoiler is also standard and is now joined by the formerly optional feature of blind-spot monitoring.
The aforementioned 12.3-inch digital driver info display doubles as an infotainment screen and has a specific mode to make fiddling with music and other media while on the go easier. That other media includes output from the standard MMI Navigation Plus system, as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto - none of which were standard for the 2020 version - and Bluetooth. You also get a CD player, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, two USB ports, an aux port, two SD card slots, wireless charging, and a central rotary dial with handwriting recognition. The old nine-speaker audio setup has also been given the boot with a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system now standard. With so many new standard features thrown in, we can't help but wonder if Audi produced too many fully specced 2020 models and now needs to flog them.
Reliability is something that would never have been associated with any new sports car 10-15 years ago, but these days, quality control is more stringent than ever and German automakers almost always perform well here. The TT is no exception, and neither the 2020 variant nor the 2021 model has been subject to a single recall in the USA, although there is also no dependability review of the Audi TT from J.D. Power.
If something should go wrong, you can take advantage of limited and powertrain warranties for the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership, whichever comes first. A year or 10,000 miles of complimentary maintenance is thrown in too, along with four years of roadside assistance and 12 years of peace of mind from corrosion.
Due to its relatively high price and sports car billing, neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has conducted crash-test reviews or provided a safety rating for the Audi TT.
If you're worried about the TT's lack of a US safety score, it's worth remembering that Audi once had a safety issue with the first-generation TT and had to work hard and fast to save the model from public condemnation. Those days are a thing of the past, but the TT still isn't loaded with specs in this department. You get front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with lane change alert, and airbags. Fortunately, there are a lot of airbags: eight to be exact. These include dual frontal and side-impact airbags, knee airbags, and thorax airbags. The next generation of the TT, should there be one, will undoubtedly offer more driver aids.
The Audi TT is neither ruled by its competitors nor is it ahead of the competition. It's rather low on safety tech, has tiny rear seats, and doesn't offer a long list of convenience features. It's also not the most engaging thing on the planet, with a dull exhaust note, an overworked turbocharger that runs out of puff at high revs, and a tendency to understeer when you don't know what you're doing and going a little too fast. Nevertheless, direct rivals are few and far between, and for those that fear RWD cars or care little for all the finer nuances of a well-sorted chassis, the TT is brilliant. Sure, others may handle better, but the TT is no slouch and is a lot of fun to drive. Furthermore, it's now standard with all the features you could really want and still looks absolutely stunning. If you're on the fence, a test drive may sway you either way, but as noncommittal as our answer to the above question may sound, the TT is anything but average and is indeed a great car.
There aren't many configurations to choose from here as there's just one trim, but that makes it easy to decide if you can afford the cost of the Audi TT. The base price of the car is now $49,800 before a $995 destination charge. With all the added standard features for the latest model, an increase from the 2020 version's $45,500 MSRP was to be expected. Fortunately, that means that a fully loaded model is more affordable now, although you can still expect to spend over $50k depending on how much customization you like.
For 2021, there's still just one Audi TT price and trim with hotter Audi TT models being considered separately. The singular trim on offer is called the TT Coupe 45 TFSI quattro S tronic and comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder sending 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This helps the AWD sports coupe complete the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph. LED headlights with auto high beams are complemented by a full-length brake light and LED taillights at the rear. 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-season tires are standard, encouraging you to choose 19-inch wheels in summer rubber. Standard features include a 12.3-inch driver info and multimedia display, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, navigation, blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front sport seats with eight-way power adjustability, and an ambient lighting system.
With so much standard equipment offered, the Audi TT doesn't have a lot that you can enhance it with. Still, you can spec 19-inch tires in a new design. These are part of the S line Competition package, which also includes red brake calipers, sport suspension, a number of gloss black exterior accents, a fixed rear wing, a D-shaped steering wheel, and a bunch of S line badges. Besides this package and a standalone 19-inch wheel alternative, no other packages or options are offered for 2021.
Since the 2021 edition of the TT is better equipped than ever, we wouldn't change a thing. Sure, the S line package with its sporty accents and accessories would be a nice-to-have, but bigger wheels and a less subtle exterior appearance won't necessarily enhance a car like this. If anything, you want as little attention from Supra and Z4 drivers as possible, unless you're lucky enough to line up next to someone with a 2.0-liter motor under the hood. No, we like the standard TT and its long list of standard features. If anything, we'd splash out on some fancy paint, but that's nothing more than another attention-seeking option.
Like the TT, the base version of the Munich-influenced Toyota Supra is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger and isn't available with a manual gearbox. However, the Supra is far more affordable with a base price of just $40,000. In addition, the RWD sportster has higher outputs, producing 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed auto in this car is also one of the best around, and this engine will happily sing a little higher without making you feel like you've lost acceleration. In the Audi's favor is its cabin, which, despite its age, is still incredibly beautiful, whereas the Supra's use of BMW bits (although clean) looks very bland by contrast. Naturally, the Supra is far more fun to drive and can be exploited by even the novice without an expensive phone call to the insurance company following shortly after. As a sports car, the Supra is better, but as a style icon and a car that just does what you expect without any fuss, the TT has its merits too.
For just ten grand more, you can upgrade to the Audi TTS. It's also got a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with just four cylinders, but this one comes with the IS38 turbo found in the Golf R and S3. As a result, the TTS produces 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque while offering only slightly worse fuel economy in comparison. In addition, the TTS stands out a little more thanks to aluminum-look mirror caps, a quad-exit exhaust system, a more aggressive front fascia, and unique interior upgrades. These include a suede steering wheel, red accents, and splashes of carbon fiber. It also gets 12-way front seats, although other features are largely identical to those of the regular TT. The TTS is a standard TT, but more so, and the ability to get to 60 mph in under four and a half seconds makes it properly exciting. Given the choice, we'd rather have the TTS.