2003 TT New Car Test Drive
Inspired by the original 'bathtub' Porsche and the famed Auto Union Grand Prix cars of the 1930s, the Audi TT Coupe made its first appearance as a concept at the 1995 German Motor Show in Frankfurt. The international automotive press whipped up quite a frenzy then, and American autojournos went wild when it arrived in the U.S. as a 2000 production model. It was an extremely daring design, achieved through purity and simplicity of form.
It seems like such a long time ago, but also like only yesterday. Remember way back then, when a car like the Audi TT was considered a pipe dream? Suddenly the roads are filling with such pipe dreams. With apologies to the Dodge Viper, the Audi TT Coupe's legacy might be as the car that opened the floodgates of creativity, by breaking down the barriers of manufacturers' fear.
The first choice is simple: TT Coupe with two-plus-two seating, or two-seat TT Roadster. After that, the options multiply.
The standard engine is the 180-horsepower version of the turbocharged 1.8-liter, DOHC, four-cylinder, five-valve engine, with a manual five-speed gearbox and 16-inch wheels.
Or, you could get the 225-horsepower version with a six-speed manual and 17-inch wheels with lower-profile tires.
Then there is the choice between front-wheel drive or quattro (all-wheel drive). The 180-horsepower TT Coupe comes with or without quattro; the 180-horsepower Roadster comes only with front-wheel drive; and the 225-horsepower Coupe or Roadster comes only with quattro.
The range of standard equipment includes everything from a first aid kit to an array of computer driver assistance systems. You've got your Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), your Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), your Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), and your Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), which is the magic one, the system that corrects the car's sideways slides. The front-wheel-drive versions have all-speed traction control, a.k.a. Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR).
New for 2002 on both the TT Coupe and TT Roadster is the Audi concert radio with in-dash CD changer, an 80-watt sound system with six speakers (120 watts and seven speakers for the Roadster). Also standard are a tilt/telescopic leather-covered steering wheel, foglights, power windows and heated mirrors.
The optional Performance Package ($1450) includes xenon high-intensity self-leveling headlights, heated front seats, and either six-spoke cast alloy wheels or five-spoke forged alloys, depending on whether it's the 180- or 225-horsepower version. The Audio Package ($1200) for the Coupe includes a 175-watt Bose sound system with a six-disc CD changer and seven speakers; for the Roadster it includes another sub-woofer and 225-watt amplifier. Separate options include a choice between cloth and leather for the Coupe or baseball-glove stitching on the Roadster's leather; Audi Navigation system; and hands-free cellphone.