Full 2009 Audi TT Review
What's New for 2009
After a redesign last year, the Audi TT receives minor changes for 2009. All trim levels get standard hill-hold assist, steering-wheel-mounted controls, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The 2.0 T models are now available with Quattro all-wheel drive. For the convertible TT, a manual top is now standard on the 2.0 T; a power top is optional. Lastly, a high-performance TTS coupe and roadster will debut midway through the model year.
Coming off of a full redesign last year, the latest-generation Audi TT is now sleeker and more aggressive-looking, and in some ways defies classification. The TT has the low-slung look and feel of a sports car, but its dynamic personality is closer to that of a luxury sport coupe. And although the coupe has a pair of seats in the back, they're only suitable for kids, packages or perhaps anorexic D-listers. Still, the 2009 Audi TT has a distinctive blend of good looks, able performance and impeccable build quality.
Besides styling, last year's redesign ushered in a more sophisticated chassis as well as a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This year, the Audi TT is mostly unchanged. Notably, all 2.0 T models with the S Tronic automatic transmission are now available with Quattro all-wheel drive. However, later in the year, Audi will introduce the TTS coupe and roadster, which will use a souped-up version of the inline-4 turbo that will supposedly be good for an impressive 272 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 2009 TTS will also be lighter than the other TT models. With the added power and reduced weight, Audi estimates the TTS will go from zero to 60 mph somewhere between 5.2 and 5.4 seconds.
However, shoppers interested mainly in performance will find the TT's price off-putting; cars like the Ford Mustang GT, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX STI all offer better bang-buck ratios. Meanwhile, for more sophisticated ride and handling, the BMW 135i or Z4, as well as Porsche's Boxster or Cayman, can outdo the regular TT models and should be tough competition for the forthcoming TTS. Still, for someone wanting a broad combination of performance, sophistication and style, the TT comes recommended.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Audi TT is available as a 2+2 coupe-styled hatchback or as a two-seater convertible. Trim levels are related to engine size; the 2.0 T is available in three levels and the 3.2 Quattro is available in two. The base Premium TT 2.0 T comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, an automatic retractable spoiler, heated side mirrors and windshield washer nozzles, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping multifunction steering wheel, leather seats, full power accessories and a nine-speaker audio system that includes a single-disc CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Premium Plus trim adds automatic xenon headlights, daytime running lamps, power front seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with a compass, rain-sensing wipers and a trunk pass-through slot with a ski bag. The Prestige trim includes everything on the other trims, plus a navigation system, rear park assist and a Bose premium sound system with a six-CD changer.
Models equipped with the 3.2-liter engine come in the Premium Plus or Prestige trims only. On roadster models, the base 2.0 T trim comes standard with a manually operated soft top; a power top comes standard on all other trim levels.
Packages include an S line sport package that bumps the wheel size to 19 inches and adds special front and rear bumpers, headlight washers, napa leather sport seats and a sport steering wheel. Stand-alone options, depending on the trim level, include 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires, xenon headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, adjustable suspension dampers, satellite radio and upgraded leather upholstery.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2.0 T model comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, paired to Audi's six-speed dual-clutch S tronic automated manual transmission. (A traditional manual gearbox is not available.) Quattro AWD is optional. The Audi TT 3.2 comes standard with AWD and a 3.2-liter V6 that makes 250 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It is available with either the S tronic transmission or a conventional six-speed manual.
Fuel economy ratings for a base 2009 Audi TT coupe are 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Ordering Quattro drops the highway mileage by 2 mpg. A 3.2 coupe has a 17/25/20 rating.
Every Audi TT comes with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front chest-and-head-protecting side airbags and front knee airbags. For 2009, all Audi TTs come equipped with a hill-hold feature, which prevents the car from rolling back when stopped on a hill.
Interior Design and Special Features
True to Audi tradition, the interior of the 2009 TT is beautifully built. The flat-bottomed wheel and supportive front seats give the interior a sporty feel, while the coupe's hatchback design and fold-down rear seats offer practicality and ample luggage space. The two-seat roadster has a lightweight fabric-trimmed top that folds down flush with the rear bodywork, which enables the car to retain clean lines with the top down. Also, the drop top's multilayer headliner and glass rear window help keep the car quiet and well-insulated.
Ride quality in the 2009 Audi TT is much improved over the last generation. Steering is precise, although some drivers might find the rack devoid of feel. For most drivers, the 3.2 Quattro is a better choice, since it's faster and its standard AWD can effectively handle wet weather. But the 2.0 T is still surprisingly enjoyable, especially since it's now available with Quattro. The 2.0's torquey engine puts less weight over the front wheels and allows the car to steer nimbly around corners.