Twenty years after its debut, the 1999 Audi TT hasn’t acquired a place in the Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) permanent collection, but that coupe’s circles, curves, and concision – as well as the roadster's baseball glove leather stitching – still make an emphatic case for a MOMA retirement. On top of that, contemporaneous reviewers appreciated a driving experience that stood up to the coupe’s looks, even if it never won a comparison test. The third-generation, 2019 Audi TT attempts to summon that original aura, and visually, it succeeds. Its aluminum bodywork is cut down to zero-percent fat, clamped over two emphatic wheel arches and educing a Pointer’s energetic forward thrust. The limited-edition 2019 Audi TT 20 Years edition goes even further. Capped at 999 units in the United States, this celebratory model is created with an optional $4,500 package for both the coupe and roadster. Two exterior colors time travel from the original TT’s palette: Nimbus Grey Metallic, or our tester’s hue, Aviator Grey Pearl Metallic. Extras include gloss black exterior trim, Matrix OLED taillights, matte gray Audi rings ahead of the rear wheels, trumpet-shaped stainless steel exhaust tips, 19-inch Gloss Metal Gray wheels on summer tires, and TT 20 Years fender badges. The cabin is a cocoon of Moccasin Brown Nappa leather accented by the same baseball-glove leather stitching first seen on the TTS Roadster concept at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show. More TT 20 Years badges decorate the steering wheel and shift lever. Because designers pared every unnecessary line, it’s easy to miss choice detailing. The air vents that double as climate controls still impress. Soft-touch material wraps around the belt buckle clasps. Every stitch lines up, everywhere. And it’s possible that only Audi could design a 22-inch expanse of bare plastic atop the instrument panel and not cause affront. Outside, the layered elements and TT logos in the OLED taillights hint at horologic care. The TT’s distinction in form endures. Function is where things break down, as there are no shortage of nits to pick. The Virtual Cockpit dazzles in full-screen format, but its functionality with Android Auto was a constant source of frustration. The rear seats taunt with their uselessness. When in reverse, the right-side exterior mirror doesn’t angle down far enough to be useful when backing up. The 680-watt, 14-channel Bang & Olufsen stereo – part of the $3,500 Technology Package that adds MMI Navigation plus – has strange acoustics effects, like the early days of Surround Sound. At best, it sounds OK. Among the various 20-year-old reviews we sampled in preparation for this trip down memory lane, a teenaged-looking Richard Hammond said of the original, 180-hp model on Men & Motors, “This is a very, very good looking car that also happens to drive rather well, too.” Even if it fell a bit flat when compared directly to its fellow German sports cars (Porsche Boxster, BMW Z3 and Mercedes SLK), the general consensus was that the TT drove appreciably well for a car …
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|MPG||23 City / 31 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||220 @ 4500 rpm|
|Drivetrain||quattro all wheel|
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