Timeless appeal makes the Audi TT a winner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 August, 2009, 12:00am

The Audi TT Coupe and Roadster exceeded all expectations. The Coupe was launched in October 1998, the open-top version which has been just as successful, followed in September 1999. The 250,000th TT left the production line in autumn 2004. The most popular engine version at the time was the 180bhp 1.8T.

Based on the same platform as the hatchback A3, the TT Coupe has an excellent safety equipment package, including the electronic stability programme (ESP), two front airbags and pyrotechnic belt tensioners for the front seats. Head and thorax airbags in the front seatbacks protect the upper body and head in a side impact. The standard automatic air conditioning ensures the occupants feel comfortable, even at the height of summer.

The soft top on the Roadster, with its large heated glass rear window, can be opened and folded in a single action. An electro-hydraulic hood (standard on the TT Roadster 1.8T and 3.2 quattro) and an electrically retractable wind deflector made of safety glass were also available. The wind deflector's rounded surface follows the outline of the two rollover bars and prevents unwelcome turbulence.

Active safety plays a central role in the Roadster. Standard equipment included ESP with electronic differential lock, electronic brake-force distribution and traction control.

'The TT is a great icon of the coup? and this first-generation TT made a remarkable breakthrough in design. It does not look outdated even now,' said Andy Lau, product manager for Audi Hong Kong. 'Even used car prices are very attractive.'

The TT is available with a choice of two engines: a high-torque 3.2 litre with 250bhp and the 1.8T four-cylinder engine with a power output of 180bhp. The 3.2V6 is mated to a DSG (dual clutch gearbox) six-speed gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. The smaller engine has front-wheel drive and a six-speed Tiptronic transmission.

'The quattro is great driving fun. The combination of four-wheel drive and DSG is great in terms of performance and handling. But the car's price and running costs are higher,' Mr Lau said, adding that a buyer should carefully check the vehicle's body and electrical equipment before buying.

'A 2005 TT Coupe 3.2 DSG quattro would be around HK$240,000 to HK$260,000, while a 1.8T Coupe would be about HK$180,000 to HK$200,000,' Mr Lau said.

He said the asking price for the Roadster was about HK$10,000 to HK$15,000 higher.

The TT is a unique proposition in that it is a fairly conventional sports model, but with a distinct design style, both inside and out. Extensive use of aluminium for the interior emphasises the sporting heritage of the little two-seater Audi.

Before buying, a prospective purchaser should have the car looked at by experts. 'Buyers may arrange an inspection service of a used TT at one of the Audi Service Centres before proceeding with the purchase of the car. The service charge is HK$1,500 and includes engine diagnosis, checking of suspension, transmission, steering and the electrical system,' Mr Lau said.