What's New for 2001
For 2001 Audi introduces the TT Roadster, which retains the same interior and chassis as the coupe. Makes sense, as the coupe was designed with the roadster version in mind. There's also a 225-horsepower quattro version for both the coupe and convertible.
The Audi TT concept car was introduced in 1995, and we hated it. Subsequently, we've had numerous visual encounters and chances to get behind the wheel. You could say we've developed an acquired taste.
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 ride ain't too shabby, either.
Audi's entry-level 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 five-speed manual transmission, achieving zero to 60 in 7.4 seconds. Also available is a massaged 225-horsepower engine that shaves nearly a second off of that time. With standard all-wheel drive, it can reach a top speed of 143 mph. The torque is increased as well, from 173 to 207 foot-pounds, but we still feel that both are lacking in low-range take off. Once you overcome that, though, hang on to your toupees!
The TT Coupe has a sparse interior and a nearly useless rear seat. 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 for the coupe, 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. The numbers go down for the quattro and convertible versions; but hey, this isn't a minivan.
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 CD player is optional. Power seats, a sunroof and a full-size spare tire are not available on this car. The front-wheel drive convertible comes with a manually operated top, while the Quattro comes with a power top, both with glass rear window with defrost.
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. Audi contends that through marvelous feats of engineering and dual roll-bar hoops, the protection level for the convertible in a rollover is equal to that of the coupe.
The TT's styling will make it popular with people who like to impress. Whether in coupe or roadster form, the car makes a bold statement you won't soon forget.