REMOVE the roof from a coupé to make it a cabriolet and you immediately add weight and reduce body rigidity, both sworn enemies of the sports car. But in the case of the Audi TT it detracted little from the driving fun and the car proved a big hit, says wheelworldreview editor DAVID HOOPER.
LAUNCHED in February 1999, it was the TT Coupé that hit the market first, the cabriolet Roadster following six months later. Both were powered by a 1.8 litre turbocharged engine and drivers had the choice of 180bhp or 225bhp sent to all four wheels via the Audi quattro drive train.
Despite the relatively small engine the addition of a turbocharger ensures good performance and even in 180bhp guise the car is capable of nearly twice the national speed limit. But if your budget will allow, then the 225bhp model is a better bet — 0-62mph in 6.9sec and a top speed of nearly 150mph giving the car real performance credentials.
If the outside of the TT looks good then the inside will not disappoint. The soft blue lighting contrasts with the orange of the dials to make the cabin feel distinctly special. Faultless build quality banishes rattles and used buyers should accept nothing less, regardless of the age or mileage.
Early TTs were hit by concerns about high-speed handling but a factory recall that involved the fitting of a rear spoiler and ESP (stability control system), solved the problem. If you are worried about whether the car you are looking to buy has had the corrective treatment then a call to Audi will provide the answer.
Standard equipment on both the TT Coupé and Roadster is good with leather upholstery, alloy wheels and climate control on all models. Roadsters come with a fully electric roof operation. Used examples of the 225bhp cars will cost you an extra £2,500 but as well as more power buyers also get larger alloys and excellent xenon headlights.