The Audi TTS Is A 265-Horsepower Bargain Pocket Rocket

Smart Buy / Comments

Audi's fast TT can now be bought for less than $20,000.

In the realm of convertible sports cars and coupes, enthusiasts tend to favor RWD cars such as the BMW Z4, Mazda Miata, and Nissan 370Z. In the realm of hot hatchbacks, the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R rule the roost. But what if we told you that there was a car that most people tend to forget, that actually satisfies the itch for a convertible sports car and a hot hatchback all for a reasonable price? The car in question is the Audi TT - specifically the hotter TTS, which shares its engine and drivetrain with the VW Golf R.

Of course, we aren't referring to the latest third generation TTS, which possesses 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The new TTS is a very good car, but it starts at just under $52,950. For over $53,000, there are plenty of cars sports cars and hot hatchbacks that offer more power, more usability, and better value than the TTS - which is why the car is often forgotten. Instead, we think the best value is the second generation TTS, which, thanks to German car depreciation, can now be purchased starting at less than $20,000. In fact, the cheapest 2009 model we found with 105,000 miles on the odometer is for sale for just $15,000.

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As good as that deal appears to be, it would be tough to trust an old German car with over 100,000 miles. Luckily, there are plenty of other options on the market right now. We found plenty of examples, as new as 2015, for less than $25,000 with fairly low mileage. If you are willing to spend over $25,000, you can scoop up an extremely well-kept example with less than 30,000 miles. Of course, buying an older generation TT does come with a few concessions. First, the second generation TTS produces 265 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the same as the sixth generation VW Golf R. This is 27 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque less than a new TTS. Concessions must also be made on the interior.


The newest TTS features Audi's advanced Virtual Cockpit display, which replaces a traditional center display for a screen in the gauge cluster. The latest TTS also benefits from Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity, whereas the second generation car is much more archaic. Buyers could opt for a navigation system, but it used old school controls dating back to models like the B7 A4. Technophobes will likely prefer the base head unit with simple radio controls. In Europe, the TTS was available with a six-speed manual transmission, but US cars were only sold with the six-speed S tronic dual-clutch sending power to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Aside from a more powerful engine, other additions to the TTS over the standard car include: a lower ride height, Audi Magnetic Ride suspension, ventilated front brakes, and unique styling changes. The TTS was offered as a coupe and convertible, both of which were easy to find in our search. The convertible offers open air fun, but the coupe adds two small back seats and a hatchback-style trunk. In the coupe, 0-60 mph takes just 5.4 seconds, and the convertible is just two-tenths slower. Like most German cars, both are electronically limited to 155 mph. For this price, it's hard to go wrong with a good looking, semi-practical car that is also very fast.

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