Full 2005 Audi TT Review
What's New for 2005
Satellite radio is now available on the 2005 Audi TT coupe and roadster.
Audi's TT was introduced for the 2000 model year as a coupe, followed by a roadster in 2001; both cars are based on Volkswagen's versatile Golf platform. Now several years into its model cycle, the TT is no longer among the hottest draws on the market, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it remains 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, in coupe form, 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 our experience, the TT has never been an exceptional performance car, but last year's introduction of the 250-hp 3.2 model and its innovative Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) helped to change that perception somewhat. With more power coming from a 3.2-liter V6, standard 17-inch wheels and larger brakes, the 3.2 has more of the ingredients you would expect in a luxury performance coupe. The DSG provides an excellent accompaniment to the V6, as it provides the convenience and smoothness of an automatic, along with near-instantaneous downshifts (complete with rev matching) in its manual mode. Handling for the standard coupe is on the soft side, and in roadster form, the car feels a bit heavy for a two-seater. Certainly, it has more real-world practicality than some competitors, not to mention fantastic interior trimmings and a full load of features that we find desirable in a high-dollar roadster. Driving enthusiasts should zero in on the 3.2 version, since the standard four-cylinders tend to disappoint when pushed hard. Even with the addition of the 250-hp 3.2 model, the TT coupe and roadster have a decidedly more relaxed personality than cars like the BMW Z4, Infiniti G35, Honda S2000 or Nissan 350Z. Will this be a disappointment to you? So long as you're not of the pedal-to-the-metal ilk, probably not. If carefree days on coastal highways and year-round use are in your forecast and you dream of driving a car that's as fashionable as you are, a 2005 Audi TT could be a nice addition to your garage.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Coupe and roadster body styles are offered in three levels of trim based on engine output. Base 180-horsepower models come standard with a long list of features that includes automatic climate control, leather seats, a CD player, 16-inch wheels, xenon headlights and a manual top on roadster versions. Midgrade 225-hp models add 17-inch wheels and a power-operated top on roadsters. Top-of-the-line 250-hp versions add a firmer suspension, minor exterior enhancements, a modified exhaust system and an aluminum shifter cover. Options include a Bose sound system, heated seats, a navigation system and 18-inch wheels and tires.
Powertrains and Performance
Three engines are available on the 2005 Audi TT. Front-wheel-drive coupes and roadsters get a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four that generates 180 hp and 173 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard; a six-speed manual is optional. Quattro all-wheel-drive models come with one of two engines. The first is a 225-hp version of the 1.8-liter four; it comes with a standard six-speed manual but a six-speed automatic is optional. The other choice is a 3.2-liter V6 that delivers 250 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque; it's coupled to Audi's six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). This electronically controlled manual transmission provides the smoothness and convenience of an automatic along with the ability to perform quick manual shifts via steering wheel-mounted paddles.
All TTs come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and electronic stability control. Side and head airbags are standard, and Audi contends that the protection level of the roadster in a rollover is equal to that of the coupe. In government side-impact crash testing, the TT received a perfect five stars for protection of front occupants.
Interior Design and Special Features
Aluminum and leather dominate a decidedly industrial theme that blends retro and modern design elements into one enticing package. A standard power glass windblocker ensures that chilly nights along the beach are pleasant for roadster owners. Trunk capacity ranges from 6.4 cubic feet in quattro roadsters to 13.8 cubes in front-drive coupes.
Driven back-to-back with its competitors, the TT's hefty curb weight and soft suspension are immediately evident, though the added horsepower and advanced transmission of the 250-hp, 3.2-liter model help the 2005 Audi TT keep up with peers like the Infiniti G35 and BMW Z4 when it comes to straight-line acceleration. The compliant suspension yields a blissfully secure ride, but pick up the pace and the TT tends to wallow through dips and turns. Overall, Audi has engineered an excellent compromise between comfort and performance, but for the most part, this is a cruiser not a bruiser.