by Aiden Eksteen
The Audi TT is like a jalapeno popper stuffed with feta cheese, a near-perfect balance of spicy sports car and sweet luxury-car flavor. There's a special sense of duality in its overall performance, distinctive aesthetic, and premium interior, all brought together by a generous sprinkle of modern features that have kept it sharp and relevant for so long as an everyday sports car. Delivering the heat is a 2.0-liter turbo four-pot mill with peppery outputs of 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, all of which are transferred to the TT's quattro all-wheel-drive system via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There are many flavorsome options on the platter that is the compact sports car segment though, with the fresh Toyota GR Supra and the finely-aged Nissan 370Z whetting the appetites of many enthusiasts as well, but with so many options this year - it's tough to tell just which sports car brings the most edge to the table.
There's not much new for the TT coming into the 2020 model year, although a vehicle immobilizer with an anti-theft alarm system and motion sensor is now standard-fit. The familiar Black optic package has been slightly updated too, now featuring 20-inch alloy wheels in a two-color high-gloss anthracite finish wrapped in summer tires. Finally, an additional hue has been added to the exterior color palette named Pulse Orange.
Audi has adapted the TT's design and style for a more contemporary aesthetic without stripping it completely of its classic elements, which are seen in its Bauhaus-inspired wheel arches - harking back to the beloved Mk1's iconic design. Now in its third adaptation, the TT is recognizable by its signature Singleframe grille, furrowed brows, sharp intersecting body lines, dual exhaust outlets, and an adaptive rear spoiler that complete its sporty undertone. All-LED exterior lighting is standard on the TT along with 18-inch five-double-spoke dynamic design alloy wheels.
Despite being based on the same MQB platform shared with the Audi Q3 crossover and the VW Golf hatchback, the Audi TT looks a lot more compact because of its coupe design, low-slung frame, and short front and rear overhangs. In this case, the Toyota GR Supra makes for a better class comparison. With the TT spanning 165 inches in overall length and a wheelbase of 98.6 inches - it's 7.5 inches shorter than the GR Supra, but with a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase. The TT stands 53.3 inches in height and is 72.1 inches wide making it 2.4 inches shorter than the GR Supra and only fractionally narrower. The TT is relatively lightweight weighing in with a curb weight of 3,197 lbs, which is 200 lbs lighter than the GR Supra.
For a pricey $3,900, Audi will hue the TT in any exterior color under the sun, otherwise, with the new addition of Pulse Orange, there are now two standard cost-inclusive color options available, Ibis White being the other. There are also six metallic colors available at an extra cost of $595 including Cosmos Blue, Florett Silver, Glacier White, Mythos Black, Nano Gray, and Tango Red. There are many eye-catching colors to choose from considering Audi's special paint color option, but it's pricey, and either the Cosmos Blue or Tango Red Metallics are just as neck-snapping as anything out there.
Though classified as a sports car, the Audi TT is actually some way off in comparison to Audi's true performance-based offerings, including the performance-focused TT RS and the R8 supercar. The TT is, nonetheless, still a capable coupe: with 228 turbocharged ponies and 258 lb-ft of torque at the helm, it shoots from 0-60 mph in an impressive 5.2 seconds. That's a little slower than other direct rivals in the class, with the Porsche 718 Cayman completing the sprint in 4.9 seconds and the Toyota GR Supra managing 4.1-second effort. Unfortunately, the TT isn't available with a manual gearbox, which sets it aside from the many rivals that do - the similarly performing Nissan 370Z gets a six-speed manual gearbox with which it darts from 0-60 in under five seconds in a more engaging manner.
While most sports cars in the class are typically equipped with performance-centric rear-wheel-drive systems, the Audi TT is sold solely with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. The TT's ride and handling dynamics benefit favorably from the AWD system and the all-weather advantages are a winning factor for the daily commuter, but the front-wheel bias of the system means you'll never feel as heroic as others might.
For the 2020 model year, the Audi TT continues to ride with the turbo 2.0-liter four-pot that it impressed us with last year and remains serviced by the familiar seven-speed automatic gearbox that we liked too. Acceleration from the TT is enthusiastically brisk, and surprisingly so considering its 3,000-plus pound curb weight. The powertrain's peak outputs of 228 hp and 258 lb-ft make for instantaneous responses off-the-line and quick highway merges and high-speed passing maneuvers. The engine's performance dynamics reach their pinnacle when the TT gets into its mid-range, however, where it delivers linear power and sharp responses and makes the most of its broad torque band.
Short-shifting works well in TT as power and torque drop off quickly once revs reach into the higher-range. The engine's soundtrack is incredible too, sounding better than even the 718 Cayman's. Audi's dual-clutch transmissions are renowned for their refined performance and the seven-speed automatic that the TT uses follows through on this: shifts are always intuitive, swift, and smooth, and in sportier modes, the accompanying flatulence is an aural delight.
Despite the many changes and improvements made over the last three generations, the TT is still not the most poised or most enjoyable sports car around - the Mazda MX-5 does a much better job of appeasing enthusiasts cravings on the budget end of the spectrum, while newcomers like the GR Supra strike a finer balance between power and poise. Nonetheless, the Audi TT is still a fun car to drive and offers a different flavor to the MX-5 with its own set of drive and handling ingredients. It feels pleasantly serene when driven casually, whether making a breakfast run on a lazy weekend morning or cruising down the interstate on a sporadic joy ride. The TT's variable steering is apt at refining inputs, responses are always exact and instantaneous, making the TT easy to place and control; however, feedback is rather limited, which makes pushing the limits a blind affair that usually ends in understeer. Body roll is kept to a fair minimum, and the TT always feels firmly planted to the tarmac thanks to a sturdy yet appropriately flexible chassis and Audi's polished quattro AWD system, but this can manifest in a ride that's too harsh for some, betraying the Audi TT's place as an everyday sports car.
As with most vehicles in the class, the Audi TT returns surprisingly frugal gas mileage figures for a sports car. When driven casually, the EPA returned estimates of 23/31/26 mpg from the TT, which is not so far off from the all-new Toyota Supra with its 24/31/26 mpg figures. The Porsche 718 Cayman comes through a little less fuel-efficient, with gas mileage returns of 22/29/25 mpg. The TT benefits from a 14.5-gallon gas tank which is relatively large for such a compact coupe and for the class; yielding a range of around 377 miles before running empty.
The Audi TT is a marvel of craftsmanship, from the exterior to the interior, its build and material quality look and feel utterly refined. Contour lines and panel gaps are even, and fixtures and fittings are all properly in place. The interior is clean, neat and clutter-free, with a definite aim at placing the driver at the top of the priority list. Positioned optimally behind the wheel, the driver is treated to the fully digital virtual cockpit, while outward visibility is prime - the A and B pillars are quite narrow and the windows are frameless, leaving rearward sightlines almost completely unhindered.
The Audi TT is equipped with seating for up to four passengers, but the rear seats are significantly tight, hence the 2+2 denomination. The two front passengers will find no shortage of comfort, but any size adult will dread the back seats - they're useful in the case of unexpected passengers that want a ride home after a few too many, but are generally better utilized as additional cargo room. The seats themselves are otherwise incredibly comfortable and supportive, the bottoms are well-cushioned for all-day comfort, and the bolstering provides ample support around the bends. Despite its low-slung nature, ingress and egress into and out of the TT are effortless by virtue of its narrow door sills and generally spacious cabin - the rear seats are obviously tougher to get into, though.
In standard guise, the sports seats in the TT are accoutred in combination leather/Alcantara upholstery with the headliner, dashboard, and carpets all hued in black, augmented by aluminum drift inlays in the dash, air vents, center console, and door panels. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and aluminum sport pedals are standard. For $2,200 the front seats can be upgraded with leather/Alcantara with contrast diamond stitching and S-Line embossing, and $1,250 upgrades all the seats S Sport seats to fine Nappa leather upholstery optionable in either black or Palomino brown with diamond stitching on the front seats.
The Audi TT's 12-cubic-foot trunk may be rather compact, but it's actually relatively sizable for the class. The Toyota Supra carries only a 10.2 cu-ft in the trunk, whereas the Porsche Cayman has less than ten cubes to offer. The 12 cubes in the TT are ample for a single set of golf clubs and some duffel bags, though folding down the 50/50 split-folding rear seats will allow for another golf bag, along with a small rucksack or two and make the TT more practical than traditional two-seat sports cars.
In-cabin storage solutions are limited, and the moderately-sized door side pockets are incapable of holding bottles. There's a small concealed center console cubby, a typically-sized passenger-side glovebox, and only a single cup holder.
The Audi TT, as a luxury sports car, has most of its cabin design and features focused around the driver. Audi's advanced keyless start, stop, and entry system is standard and at the driver's hands is a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with rear-mounted paddle shifters, and manual tilt and telescoping adjustability. An auto-dimming rearview mirror with a digital compass and a HomeLink universal garage door opener is also included. Front passengers are braced by heated, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with four-way lumbar support, while all are taken care of by dual-zone automatic climate control and LED ambient cabin lighting. Audi's parking system plus with front and rear parking sensors is standard, along with an integrated rearview camera. Side assist can be added on at a cost of $450.
A novel and visionary addition to the Audi TT, a 12.3-inch fully digital LCD instrument cluster has been intuitively and uniquely integrated to the driver's line of sight. This virtual cockpit displays all the vehicle's information and stats, while doubling as a complete infotainment display, with a dedicated navigation screen, media, and smartphone interface. There is a single DVD/CD-player in the center dash with MP3 playback capability and other media is supported by means of AM/FM/HD Radio connectivity, SiriusXM, and Bluetooth wireless functionality. The TT comes installed with Audi's MMI software, providing handwriting recognition technology for intuitive touch-command responses. A nine-speaker sound system is standard along with two USB-charge ports, a single auxiliary input jack, and dual 32G SDXC card slots. A wireless smartphone charging pad and signal booster are also standard. Unfortunately, neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay are stock, but both are available via an optional Technology Package which also contains a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI navigation upgrade.
There have been no recalls commissioned for the 2020 and 2019 Audi TT models. This is promising considering that J.D. Power has not rated the Coupe for reliability. Audi's standard coverage includes a typical four-year/50,000 mile basic and powertrain warranty, a one-year/10,000-mile maintenance warranty, a 12 year/unlimited mile corrosion warranty, and a four-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance package.
The Audi TT is a high-end vehicle with a relatively high price, and is subsequently sold in rather low volumes in the US; because of this, neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has evaluated any model of the Audi TT for its crashworthiness.
If there's one area where the TT could use some improvement, it's in its standard safety delegation which is considerably limited for a luxury vehicle. The standard consignment of eight airbags includes driver and front passenger knee airbags, dual front, front thorax, and side curtain airbags, and is impressive, but in the way of driver assists, there's only a front and rear parking system, cruise control, and an integrated rearview camera as standard. Furthermore, Audi's pre-collision warning technologies have not been made available for the TT at all, with only a blind-spot monitor and lane change alert system optional.
The third-gen Audi TT may never be as iconic as the original, but it is just as special and arguably even a little better as a more contemporary and capable rendition of the TT of old. It's not quite the consummate sports car for driving enthusiasts, but more of a well-balanced, poised-yet-capable luxury coupe for the casual driving enthusiast. It's a great all-rounder, barring its limited practicality, and it's a superb car to drive around town or cruise the highways in, and to punt through some back roads. The cabin of the TT is also a futuristic and luxurious place to be; Audi's virtual cockpit is an impressive element and a visionary facet of the Audi TT. The lack of full smartphone integration as standard is a downer though as something that has become standard in even the lowliest of budget cars.
The Audi TT didn't get many improvements for the 2020 model year either, and word has it that production of the legendary nameplate will soon come to a halt, nevertheless, the 2020 Audi TT is the best the TT has ever been, and would undoubtedly be a great purchase. But, if it's a true sports car experience you're after, the TT won't measure up to the likes of the new Toyota Supra.
The starting price of the TT has been increased by $600 this year, and the little Audi now boasts an MSRP of $45,500, which is still relatively competitive. This price excludes Audi's $995 processing, handling, and destination fee as well as any tax, registration, and licensing costs. There are numerous add-on packages and accessory options available for the standalone model, which can altogether lead a fully-loaded TT Coupe to a cost of over $50k.
The Audi TT is a standalone model that comes standard with a comprehensive level of equipment and features. On the outside, 18-inch five-double-spoke alloy wheels, all-LED exterior lighting, and a dynamic rear spoiler are all standard-fit, while the interior sees top-end features such as keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror featuring a digital compass and a HomeLink universal garage door opener. Infotainment comes by way of a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display that's installed with Audi's MMI software containing Bluetooth wireless capabilities, handwriting-recognition technology, and HD radio connectivity. A DVD/CD/MP3-capable player is standard along with a nine-speaker sound system, dual 32G SDXC card slots, two USB charging ports, and an auxiliary input jack. In the way of safety and driver-assist technologies, there's Audi's parking system plus with front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, and an integrated rearview camera.
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Barring the extensive color-customization available, there are various packages with which to kit out the TT Coupe. Some of the packages require the compulsory addition of others, meaning that costs could add up quicker than you may expect.
A $2,200 S-Line Competition Package is available, which upgrades the TT's virtual cockpit with a Sport drive mode, installs a three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom S line steering wheel with shift paddles and stitching, leather/Alcantara S Sport seats with S Line badging adds aluminum S Line door sills, brushed aluminum inlays, and leather armrests and center console. It equips the TT with 19-inch Anthracite Black Audi Sport wheels, red brake calipers, S Line Sport suspension, high-gloss black exterior trim, a fixed rear wing in high-gloss black, high-gloss black exterior mirror housings, and with black exhaust tips, too.
An S Sport Seat Package is also available for the TT at a cost of $1,250; this upgrades the TT with Nappa leather seating upholstery with diamond-stitching on the extra-bolstered S Sport seats and with extended leather interior surfaces.
For $2,800 the Technology Package throws in an Audi Smartphone Interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, MMI Navigation Plus, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, a blind-spot monitor, and Audi Connect on a six-month trial basis. Audi's side assist technology can be optioned in at a cost of $450.
With the 2020 Audi TT being a standalone model, there's only the option of what packages to include with your purchase. Considering the TT doesn't come with full smartphone integration as standard, we do recommend opting on the Technology Package, which, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, also adds a premium 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, and MMI Navigation plus. The S Line Competition Package is also a nice performance and aesthetic upgrade with the three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom S line steering wheel, added leather/Alcantara seating upholstery, Sport drive mode, and S Line sport-tuned suspension.
The BMW Z4 is sold solely as a drop-top roadster, and as such, it's quite a bit more expensive than the TT; around $4,000 more in standard guise. But, it's the newer, more capable, and more enjoyable sports car all-round. It's not much faster than the TT off-the-line but performs more admirably around the bends without any compromise in ride quality. Unlike the TT, which comes standard-fit with an AWD system, the Z4 comes standard with a more traditional RWD system, giving it the classic ride and handling dynamics that most sports car purists would appreciate, especially over the TT's front-wheel biased quattro system. Another facet to consider is that the TT is fitted solely with Audi's virtual cockpit to cover both drive information displays, as well as infotainment, which hinders passenger consideration utterly; the Z4 boasts a just-as-contemporary Live Cockpit as well as a 10.25-inch touchscreen, which is easily accessible to the front passenger. This could be less distracting to the driver and just seems a lot more tech-savvy and contemporary. The Z4 also comes standard with Apple CarPlay functionality, but has no option of Android Auto. The Z4 is ultimately the better vehicle to drive and have fun with, and more worth the high-end price.
If the TT isn't spicy enough for you, then the Porsche 718 Cayman with its 300-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four engine is sure to do the trick. It's in excess of $10,000 more expensive than the Audi TT, but its brand spanking new and straight-up delectable - the sports car connoisseur equivalent of Gordan Ramsey's signature scrambled eggs, the Cayman is an ideal enthusiasts car and by far the better meal on this menu. A 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.9 seconds knocks the TT right off the table by more than half a second; and that's with the manual shifter, it proves even quicker with the PDK dual-clutch automatic, cutting the time down to 4.2 seconds. It's, mid-engine configuration and stock six-speed manual gearbox underscore it's sports car DNA. In terms of ride and handling, the 718 Cayman is simply in a class of its own, from its telepathic steering to its corner-roasting aptitude. The Audi TT is a great vehicle, but it's more of a semi-capable, balanced daily driver, whereas the 718 Cayman is the traditionalist's ideal.