What's New for 2000
Audi introduces the funky-looking TT Coupe for the 2000 model year. A turbocharged, 1.8-liter engine squeezes out 180 horsepower for this avant-garde sports car.
The 2000 Audi TT Coupe concept car was introduced in 1995, and we hated it. When Audi announced they would build the TT, we scoffed, calling it the automotive equivalent of Miss Piggy. Then, we got up close and personal with the TT at various motor shows and driving evaluations. You could say we've developed an acquired taste for the design.
In person, the car just looks right, appearing aggressive and graceful at the same time. The rear boasts rounded flanks and a cleanly arced roofline. Purposeful styling details are executed with ice-cold precision; it is an instant classic -- a shape that will be a topic of discussion for years.
The base Audi TT comes with a front-engine, front-drive powertrain layout. Its turbocharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine makes 180 horsepower and is connected to a standard five-speed manual transmission. Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system is optional, and there is currently no automatic transmission available.
Inside, Audi has created a "visual and tactile feast" of aluminum, leather and stainless steel. The effect is successful, appearing to be expensively outfitted, but not luxurious in the traditional sense. And, thanks to the hatchback design, the TT offers owners some utility, carrying 13.8 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat up and 24.2 cubic feet if the rear seat is folded down. Owners might want to keep the rear seats lowered permanently, as they are otherwise useless for hauling people.
Standard equipment includes leather sport seats, cruise control, a tachometer, alloy wheels, a split folding rear seat, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette and speed-sensitive volume control. A six-disc CD changer is optional. Power seats, a sunroof and a full-size spare tire are not available on this car.
To keep passengers safe, Audi installed ABS, traction control and a first-aid kit in the TT. Head and thorax side airbags are also standard. Pre-tensioners and force limiters make seatbelts even more effective than conventional systems and next-generation front airbags deploy at lower speeds.
The TT's styling will make it popular with people who like to impress. However, the horsepower coming from the turbo engine seems to be lacking given the base $30,500 MSRP. True sporting enthusiasts will want to wait until a more powerful version of the TT arrives sometime next year.