2016 Audi TT Review
Pros & Cons
- Sporty handling instills confidence in any situation
- standard all-wheel drive gives it all-weather capability
- performance doesn't sacrifice fuel economy
- innovative technology keeps you informed and safe
- No handy place to stash a cell phone
- the coupe's backseat is comically small
- small cargo capacity hurts practicality
- no manual transmission for those who prefer to shift for themselves.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Isn't it about time you treated yourself to something fun, stylish and modern? The redesigned 2016 Audi TT is all that and more. From its surprisingly powerful four-cylinder engine to the sophisticated cabin and cutting-edge technology, the TT coupe and soft-top convertible make you feel like going for a drive just for fun. See for yourself why we awarded it a coveted Edmunds "A" rating.
Remember when the original Audi TT was getting all the headlines back in the late 1990s? Here was an irresistibly sporty coupe or convertible with head-turning style, turbocharged acceleration and an exquisite interior that included creative options like baseball-glove leather upholstery. It was so cool that heartthrob Hugh Grant drove one in a movie. In the years that followed, however, the TT began to lose its mojo, relegated to also-ran status by its increasingly capable rivals.
That's where the all-new 2016 Audi TT comes in. The force is strong with this one. No, it doesn't offer baseball leather (though last year's TT still did), but it does give you chiseled, mini-R8 styling that hints at sharper driving performance. On the road, that's exactly what the all-wheel-drive TT delivers, gripping tenaciously thanks to its standard summer performance tires and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. It also lunges forward on an urgent wave of torque that makes the 220-horsepower four-cylinder engine seem seriously underrated. We're prepared to call the TT a real sports car now, even without the TT-S model's extra speed. It's a driver's car like no TT before it.
The 2016 Audi TT has been redesigned, but its new styling is still instantly familiar.
But this Audi shines in more sedate scenarios, too, thanks in large part to its truly cutting-edge cabin. The centerpiece is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster known as the "Audi virtual cockpit," which combines gauges and infotainment functions into one dynamic interface behind the steering wheel. There's no longer a central display screen as in previous TT models (or in any other car, for that matter); all of that stuff now shares virtual space with the speedometer and tachometer, which slide seamlessly from center stage to the periphery depending on how you're using the interface. The TT's pioneering use of this technology makes it feel like a car ahead of its time, as do other features like the rakishly styled center console, LED ambient cabin lighting and standard full LED headlights.
The 2016 TT's dramatic improvements are bound to shake things up for shoppers. We used to mention the Nissan 370Z as an appealing alternative, but now the Z just seems old and unrefined by comparison. The Ford Mustang and the redesigned 2016 Chevy Camaro are less expensive and faster (in basso-profondo V8 form) than the TT, but they're not as nimble around turns and they can't match the Audi's interior sophistication. Other alternatives can be found within German borders, including the BMW 2 Series and Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, but their fashion sense is far more subdued. Of course, the Porsche Boxster and Cayman siblings are great to drive, but they cost more and feel less contemporary inside.
In sum, there's nothing quite like the 2016 Audi TT, and we mean that in the very best way. It's hard to make a splash in today's saturated marketplace, but just like the original TT, this new one stands apart.
The Audi TT coupe comes up short in regard to practicality, but the convertible further compounds this issue with two fewer seats and an even smaller trunk. If you value convenience over open-air fun, get the coupe.
2016 Audi TT models
The 2016 Audi TT is offered as a 2+2 coupe or a two-seat convertible ("Roadster"). The latter features protective roll hoops, a power wind blocker and a power-folding soft top. Both body styles come in a single trim level with a handful of options.
The 2016 Audi TT convertible is known as the Roadster. A power-folding soft top is standard.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, LED taillights, automatic wipers, an adaptive rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, Audi Drive Select adjustable drive settings, the knob-based MMI infotainment controller with touchpad capability, cruise control, automatic climate control, LED ambient interior lighting, a tilt-and-telescoping sport steering wheel with shift paddles, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather and synthetic-suede upholstery, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), folding rear seatbacks (coupe only), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice controls (with a seatbelt microphone on the Roadster) and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD/DVD player, an SD-card reader, satellite radio, two USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack.
The optional Technology package adds auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, front parking sensors, a rearview camera, a navigation system and "Audi connect" telematics with online services. The Audi Design Selection package contributes upgraded leather upholstery, extended gray leather trim, sport front seats with contrast diamond stitching, different interior inlays and a convertible-only neck-level heating system. If you just want the upgraded leather and sport seats (plus the neck heating vents on the convertible), you can have them via the downsized S Sport Seat package.
Additional options include all-season tires for the standard 18-inch wheels (at no cost), 19-inch wheels with summer tires and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system that has more than four times the wattage of the standard setup.
Performance & mpg
Every 2016 Audi TT is motivated by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 220 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. Also standard are a six-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds performance testing, a 2016 TT coupe zipped from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, beating the base (manual-transmission) Porsche Cayman by 0.3 second but trailing the BMW 228i coupe by 0.4 second.
According to the EPA, the 2016 TT should return 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) in either coupe or roadster form. On the diverse 120-mile Edmunds evaluation loop, a TT coupe achieved a laudable 28.8 mpg.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Audi TT include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front knee airbags and front side airbags that protect occupants' heads and abdomens. The coupe also includes side curtain airbags for additional head protection.
Rear parking sensors are standard on every TT, while the optional Technology package brings front parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitor.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 2016 Audi TT stopped from 60 mph in 103 feet. Although this is the same as a base Cayman, it is still an extremely short distance for any car.
Effectively splitting the difference between a base Cayman and a BMW 228i in our acceleration tests, the 2016 Audi TT coupe proves it's worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as such luminaries. More proof can be found in our handling tests, where the TT coupe pulled an eye-popping 0.99g on the skid pad -- that's near-supercar grip -- and snaked through the slalom cones at 70.7 mph, quicker than both the Cayman and the 228i. Looking at the historical records, the TT also out-slalomed superstars like the 2013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Edition. This isn't just a "numbers car," either; on the contrary, it's quite rewarding to drive on a winding road, delivering its grip and thrust in a highly responsive, yet user-friendly manner that instills confidence at the helm.
In day-to-day driving, the TT is no less impressive. The turbo engine is ultra-smooth and nearly silent by default, though selecting the transmission's Sport mode (or the Drive Select system's Dynamic mode) produces an audibly louder engine note. Road noise is held to reasonable levels on most surfaces, while ride comfort is more than satisfactory given the TT's high-performance envelope.
The 2016 TT's cabin is a triumph of contemporary style and technology, lacking only an obvious place to put your contemporary smartphone (we used either the too-small cupholder or the deep covered bin ahead of the shift lever). As per Audi's norm, materials quality is exemplary, but that only begins to tell the story. The LED ambient lighting evokes a trendy cocktail lounge, while the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system (very much worth the extra cost) pumps vividly clear sound until your ears cry uncle. Delightful details are everywhere, such as the rotary bezel that controls each vent's airflow direction, rotating around the vent itself with what feels like machine-grade precision.
Note the lack of a center display screen for the 2016 Audi TT. The configurable gauge cluster display takes its place.
On the electronics front, the headline news is clearly the standard 12.3-inch "virtual cockpit" digital gauge cluster that doubles as the infotainment screen, obviating the need for a separate central screen on the dashboard. When you're accessing infotainment functions, the middle area of the display dynamically expands, while the speedometer and tachometer shrink to the margins (though they never disappear). If you're worried about obsolescence down the road, don't be; the graphics are video-game crisp, and for that matter, the processing times and frame rates are video-game quick. There's a learning curve, to be sure, even though Audi still includes the familiar MMI control knob (and puts it on the center console this time, trumping the previous TT's annoying dash-mounted knob). But we got the hang of it before too long, and in case you suddenly need to bring the speedometer and tachometer back to full size, there's a handy "VIEW" button on the steering wheel that does just that. One downside, however, is that the driver is now responsible for everything regarding infotainment. If you have a passenger along with you, he or she can do little more than fiddle with the volume.
In terms of comfort, the TT's cabin feels surprisingly airy and spacious, with plenty of room in all dimensions for taller folks. Well, in the front row, at least; the coupe's backseat is strictly for personal items, or perhaps very small children in a very tight pinch. If it were our TT coupe, we'd likely leave the rear seatbacks folded flat, which opens up significantly more cargo space than the standard 12.0 cubic feet. To wit, we couldn't fit a golf bag behind the rear seats unless we removed the driver and put it up front, and the bag had to be wedged in diagonally at that. But with the seatbacks folded, the bag fit without issue, driver and all.
As for the convertible, we've yet to subject its trunk to real-world testing, but Audi says it measures a modest 7.5 cubic feet.