2021 Audi TT: What Is it Like to Have Grown in the Shadow of the Famous Quattro?

2021 Audi TT 40 photos
Photo: Audi
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It's likely that the Audi TT never got the appreciation it is really worthy of. Although a capable and good-looking German sportscar, the Audi TT is a mainstream product with shared technology and it is of the 'small Audis.' It doesn’t come cheap either – that’s another issue. At least any snobbish prejudices should go away if you drive it.
Undeniable, Audi is a prominent brand, whether it comes to its advanced-luxury sedans or its motorsport achievements over the years. However, following the triumphant years of the Audi Coupe Quattro and Audi Quattro Sport in the World Rally Championship, its international involvement in competitions has declined.

However, the fame of the 5-cylinder turbo engines that won countless rally stages and even the Pike’s Peak 'Race to the Clouds' is still alive. Well, the hood of the 2021 Audi TT RS still covers a 2.5 liters 5-cylinder turbo engine developing 394 hp. This car is equipped with all-wheel-drive, being able to accelerate from standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 s (or 0 to 100 kph in 3.7 s).


The Audi TT is one of those cars that weren’t born as a natural completion of the manufacturer’s range. Back in 1995, Audi adorned its stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show with something called the Audi TT Concept, a Peter Schreyer design. Unexpectedly, this coupe study generated a tsunami of enthusiasm, so things had to be taken further.

2021 Audi TT
Photo: Audi media
Consequence: Audi launched the first generation of the Audi TT three years later and its design was close enough to that of the 1995 concept. Shortcoming: to put the TT on wheels so fast and without spending like crazy, they used the technical platform of the VW Golf IV - yes, their famous PQ34, to be found underneath of a wide range of subcompact family hatchbacks made by Skoda, Seat, VW and Audi.

Connoisseurs never forgave them for doing so regarding the first generation. They were seeing the TT pretty much like a rebodied mainstream subcompact thing, having the engine in a transverse position and optional all-wheel-drive with a multiplate clutch coupling. This being said, the Audi TT can’t express any claim for the status of rightful successor of the Audi Coupe Quattro (longitudinal engine, Torsen differential for the interaxial coupling). This doesn’t mean it is not a capable and desirable sportscar…


…especially when referring to the current generation. In its case, the PQ35 platform is gone! Now, the Audi TT is based on an aluminum spaceframe, pretty much like the original Audi A8. Some steel made components of the body and structure helped optimizing the front/rear weight distribution. Marginally annoying: some parts of the axles and propulsion tech are still borrowed from the Golf-used MQB architecture, but this can’t be confirmed with the naked eye.

Inside, the styling elements and the functionality carry a profound message of sportiness. The dashboard was designed with a restrained kind of aspect in mind: there is no multimedia screen on the center console. The instruments cluster is digital, so there goes all the info media or car-related features. Original detail: the adjustment buttons of the heating/ventilation system are located in the core of the round airvents! TT RS: the red start button on the steering wheel will not remain unremarked.

2021 Audi TT
Photo: Audi media
There is enough space on the front seats and somebody with a somewhat sporty physique shouldn’t feel any inconvenience coming on board. Once you get in the sport seat, you feel like being one with the car. The Audi TT is considered to be a 2+2 seats coupe, yet the rear seats are hardly accessible.

Good news about the available luggage volume: the conventional rear trunk can take 305 liters (10.8 cu ft) of stuff. Because the car is, in fact, a hatchback and its rear seats can be folded, it is easy to extend the trunk up to 712 liters (25.1 cu ft). It is also easy enough to load it.

Thrust and money

No matter the engine version, the light and compact Audi TT is fast and lively. The basic version, named 40 TFSI S tronic (€37,700 in Germany), has front-wheel-drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 197 PS. Really impressive are its torque characteristics: 320 Nm available from 1500 to 4300 rpm! This car is capable to reach to 100 kph in only 6.6 s. Already a serious sportscar for the open roads. The all-wheel-drive system is not available for the 40 TFSI S tronic.

The same 2.0-liter engine, this time pushed up to 245 PS and 370 Nm, lies under the hood of the 45 TFSI S tronic (€42,750). In its case, quattro is optional (€2350) and we would take it.

Going up, the Audi TTS (€57,700 ) is a powerful temptation: 320 PS and 400 Nm are availbale even though its engine is still a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The all-wheel-drive system is standard and the 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) sprint can be solved in 4.5 s. And now, the pearl of the collection: the Audi TT RS (€69,000 in Germany), with 5 cylinders under its hood (2.5 liters, 400 PS, 480 Nm). How does accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in 3.7 seconds sound? Is the Porsche 911 Carrera still coming from behind?

2021 Audi TT
Photo: Audi media
In the U.S., they are asking $49,800 for a basic TT (the 45 TFSI, rated at 228 hp and 258 lb-ft - our favorite also in Europe), then $59,500 for the TTS and $72,500 for the lightning fast and technically exclusive TT RS. All of them are equipped with S tronic 7-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.

Informal conclusion

The Audi TT has everything you’d expect from a competitive sportscar, including a sharp and stable dynamic behavior. Also, it is quite practical (show us another compact sports coupe able to embark up to 721 liters of luggage). It is modern and expensive – everybody should understand that, even if paying a lot is nobody’s favorite thing to do.

The purists will object regarding its transverse engine, although this is not an explicit technical drawback. One last question: Do you want to drive a really good sportscar or to stick to some kind of prejudice?
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