What's New for 2002
Two new colors join the 2002 Audi TT palette, Brilliant White and Moro Blue. HomeLink is available as an option, and the navigation system gets an upgrade, as does the stereo. A blue top is available for the roadster, and the trunk gets an interior release. In the spring of 2002, Audi will appeal to collectors and offer the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) Commemorative Edition TT Coupe in a limited run of 1,000 cars. This special TT Coupe will come in two configurations -- a Misano Red exterior with a Silver Silk napa leather interior or an Avus Silver exterior with a Brilliant Red interior. Although the ALMS is essentially a more exquisitely trimmed version of the 225-hp coupe, Audi will fit it with 18-inch wheels and Z-rated 225/40 high-performance tires.
Available as either a coupe or a roadster, the Audi TT is one of the most distinctive cars on the road. In person, the car looks just 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.
Based on the same platform as the VW Golf and New Beetle, Audi's entry-level TT comes with a turbocharged 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque from 1,950 to 4,700 rpm. This engine is available for the both the coupe and roadster with front-wheel drive or -- for the coupe only -- the quattro all-wheel-drive system. A five-speed manual transmission is standard.
Those who seek more serious performance can opt for a high-output version of the 1.8-liter that churns out 225 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque from 2,500 to 5,500 rpm. Only quattro-equipped coupes and roadsters may partake in the high-output engine; a six-speed manual is standard on these TTs. Though beautiful, Audi's sports car caters only to those who can shift their own gears; an automatic is not available for any TT. At the same time, acceleration, while certainly swift, generally lags behind other premium sports cars like the Honda S2000 and BMW M Roadster.
One look inside the lusciously tailored cabin may convince even hardcore performance nuts to forego at-the-limit dynamics for the high style found inside this squat Audi. Aluminum and leather dominate a decidedly industrial theme that blends retro and modern design elements into one enticing package. Some of the switchgear is low-grade and fussy to operate, but otherwise you could sit inside an Audi TT for hours marveling over the attention to detail, quality of construction and thoughtful amenities. Want a more exclusive version of TT style? Opt for the limited-edition with ALMS coupe, which gives you the choice of two distinctive exterior paint/cabin treatments for your 225-hp coupe -- Misano Red exterior paint with a silver Silk Nappa leather interior or Avus Silver exterior paint with a Brilliant Red leather interior -- not to mention 18-inch wheels and Z-rated performance rubber.
In terms of functionality, the coupe has a nearly useless rear seat, though it will hold up to 24.2 cubic feet of cargo with the seats folded flat. The front-drive roadster can hold 7.8 cubic feet inside its trunk. Lower the top and the TT's cockpit provides an enjoyable open-air experience with minimal buffeting. All roadsters come with a heated glass rear window; a power-operated top is standard for 225-hp roadsters and optional for the 180-horse droptop.
To keep passengers safe, all TTs are equipped with four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control (ESP) and Electronic Differential Lock (allows side-to-side transfers of power to combat wheel slippage). Front-wheel-drive models also get traction control; this system isn't necessary on all-wheel-drive models since the quattro system continually redistributes power between the front and rear axles for optimum traction. In the event of an accident, side and head airbags are available to cushion the impact. Audi contends that through marvelous feats of engineering and dual rollbar hoops, the protection level for the convertible in a rollover is equal to that of the coupe.
Benefits of TT ownership include foul-weather drivability, turbocharged power, individualistic styling inside and out, a full load of luxury-style amenities and a smooth highway ride. But style comes before grace in the house of Audi, and the TT suffers a few ergonomic flaws and, particularly in roadster form, instills indifference rather than thrills when driven hard.