2008 Audi TT Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 18, 2008

The TT is a little more engaging to drive than before, but it doesn’t stand out in the crowd quite like the original one did when it was new.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors read through the available reviews on the new 2008 Audi TT to arrange this conclusive review of the new Audi TT. TheCarConnection.com’s car experts have also driven it to be able to give you an expert opinion, and to help offer insight where other car reviews might differ.

For the original Audi TT coupe and roadster, which made their debut for 2000, their upside-down-bathtub profile, which brought unique Bauhaus and Art Deco-inspired styling, stole the show from the driving experience itself, which was respectable but not class-leading, and the Roadster version looked a little odd in profile with its roof up. For 2008, Audi gives the TT a new look, with more crisply styled sheetmetal for a more masculine outer stance (including the Roadster), a redesigned interior, and dialed-up performance that no longer takes second stage to its fashion statement.

The new TT coupe and roadster come in two different models: a turbocharged four-cylinder model with front-wheel drive, and a V-6 model with quattro all-wheel drive. Between the two, TheCarConnection.com gives our nod to the 2.0T (four-cylinder) model, which has plenty of power for a peppy roadster feel; the V-6 is just a little bit faster and a lot more expensive. Those trapped in traffic-clogged commutes will love the S tronic gearbox that's available with either engine; it functions fine as an automatic, or on a sporty drive, it revs the engine for improved control on downshifts. An available magnetic ride suspension is recommended for driving enthusiasts, as it helps provide even sharper handling responses without sacrificing the ride. Great fuel efficiency is another bonus of the four-cylinder, with figures of 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. As is true across the Audi lineup, the interior upstages most of the competition, with a subdued but very upscale feel. An excellent navigation system is available; some might think, however, that Audi's MMI (MultiMedia Interface) screen-driven interface detracts from the back-to-basics feel that many shoppers look for in a roadster.

While many four-seat convertibles and some two-seat roadsters are instead offering retractable hardtop arrangements, the TT remains a soft top. The top used in the Audi TT Roadster is exceptionally tight and shuts out most road and wind noise, and a new wind deflector helps curb turbulence at speed with the top down. Also, the top doesn't cut into trunk space as much as most folding hardtops.

Review continues below

The 2008 Audi TT has not yet been tested by the federal government or by the insurance industry, but the TT comes with anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, plus roll hoops behind the front seats and side airbags that include head-protection extensions.

8

2008 Audi TT

Styling

The 2008 Audi TT gets a little tougher and meaner in its second generation, losing some of its high-art influences.

The 2008 Audi TT has all the hallmarks of a sportscar in terms of styling. Car and Driver's description of Bauhaus styling is a common refrain, but the Audi TT has changed its shape significantly this year; it’s more sportscarlike than cute. Almost six inches longer, the new Audi TT has “gone from cute to sinister, with furrowed brows and a large mouth that evoke Audi's newest phenomenon, the R8 supercoupe,” Cars.com notes. The edges are a little crisper, while the front end is a little taller, Car and Driver remarks. And the rear end has a "three-dimensional effect" in the design of the taillights, the Detroit News reports.

The Bauhaus influence is again discernible when it comes to the TT Audi's interior: its "functional simplicity," as interpreted by The Auto Channel. According to the New York Times, “inside, the TT feels sports-car intimate without being crowded, and Audi’s tradition of handsome accommodations continues.” Car and Driver notes that the “overall interior effect isn't as dramatic a statement as that of the original TT,” while Edmunds.com reports that the "handsomely executed interior" makes the observer forget the Audi TT's "rather humble VW Golf roots.”

8

2008 Audi TT

Performance

The 2008 Audi TT isn’t a pure sportscar, but it has good acceleration, a trick transmission, sharp handling, and a good ride—plus good four-cylinder fuel economy.

TheCarConnection.com notes that the 2008 Audi TT's performance pleases almost everyone who gets behind the wheel.

The Audi TT’s base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 200 hp and, according to Car and Driver, the capability of taking the car from 0-60 in a little over 6 seconds when matched to the S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Interestingly, the optional V-6, while adding 50 horses under the hood, only gains a second in the 0-60 sprint--but is substantially thirstier, getting only about 21-24 mpg on the open highway compared to the four cylinder's 28-31 mpg--and costs more as well. The four-cylinder powerplant was preferred by Forbes Auto, which says that in "most real-world situations, it feels nearly as quick as the V-6."

The 2008 Audi TT is available with either a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission or on the V-6, a six-speed manual. Kelley Blue Book said that the more time they spend with the latter, the "more archaic the old pedal-and-lever system feels." The S tronic system—which is effectively two transmissions in one and produces quick, smooth shifts—is a favorite of the editors at TheCarConnection.com.
Four-cylinder cars come with front-wheel drive, while V-6 cars offer Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive.

Automobile describes the Audi TT for 2008 as an "Atari Car"--an auto that feels like a video game to the driver. It is among those cars that "are just as fun to drive at 15 mph through a school zone as they are to blast down back roads." They add that the Audi's capabilities "become more profound the harder you push it." Cars.com also likes the Audi TT’s handling, with a catch: “When driven aggressively on the track, the TT feels like the same car in good ways…the steering feedback is improved, but there's still something missing compared to its rear-drive competitors.” And the New York Times points out the weakness of the Audi’s nose-heavy weight distribution: “on the tight turns, like hairpins, that the TT becomes less fun and shows its weak point. It begins feeling nose-heavy and less willing to change direction, reminding the driver that about 59 percent of its weight is up front, far from the ideal 50-50 balance.”

The 2008 Audi TT is helped along by a new electromagnetic suspension that’s available as an option. By using electrical currents to change the stiffness of shocks through magnetism, the Audi TT can adapt its rides to the conditions of the road. According to Motor Week, the Audi TT's adjustable suspension allows the occupants to have both a smooth ride and good reflexes; its "handling prowess does not come at the expense of ride quality." That softer ride makes the 2008 Audi TT perfect for a long road trip, remaining comfortable over rough road surfaces according to the New York Times: "It is not one of those rough-riding, tiring sports cars no good for anything more than an afternoon romp.”

Motor Week reports that the brakes of the Audi TT are solid; the anti-lock system brings the vehicle to a complete stop from 60 mph in an average of 123 feet on a dry road surface.

8

2008 Audi TT

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Audi TT reveals its sporty intentions with a teensy backseat, but the lush interior makes up for it.

Reviewers from around the Web had compliments for the 2008 Audi TT’s comfort and quality—except when it came to the small backseats.

The Detroit News gushes that “inside the coupe, every appointment feels, looks and smells luxurious.” The Auto Channel adds, “There's plenty of room in there as well--a distinct improvement over earlier model years.” However, the Audi TT is still a small sports coupe, and its thick roof pillars cut down on the view outside. “Sightlines, or pure claustrophobia, may be the real issue for some,” Cars.com reports. “The roofline is low and the doors rise high. The rear view isn't bad, partly because the car is low enough that you can see other vehicles.”

The backseats met with near-universal dismissal. “In the coupe, the back seats are barely big enough to hold a child's winter coat, much less another person,” the Detroit News points out. “They're cute in that useless kind of way.” Cars.com says the backseats are “often mistaken for cupholders,” but notes that the seats fold forward to create “almost 25 cubic feet of pretty versatile cargo volume”—big enough for a couple of golf bags.

Lastly, the 2008 Audi TT’s body structure in roadster form took home honors. The new structure is wonderfully solid, the New York Times reports, and will impress anyone who’s witnessed “the tiresome shake and wiggle of a poorly done convertible.”

8

2008 Audi TT

Safety

The 2008 Audi TT appears to have all safety bases covered, but no official test results are available.

The 2008 Audi TT has a long list of standard safety equipment, but no official crash tests have been performed on it.

Cars.com states that because the Audi TT is a "low-volume seller," chances are that it won't undergo any testing by the private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is generally more stringent than the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As of this writing, neither has conducted any tests on the TT.

The Audi TT does come with standard front, side, and knee protection airbags as well as "adaptive" headlights that actually follow the front wheels for better visibility on dark roads, according to Kelley Blue Book. Stability control is also standard equipment.

The Auto Channel reports that the 2008 Audi TT's chassis structure is specially designed in a way that will channel the force of a frontal impact around the passenger compartment, which has been structurally reinforced.

TheCarConnection.com will revisit this rating if the Audi TT is crash-tested.

9

2008 Audi TT

Features

Unless you want a completely stripped-down 2008 Audi TT, be prepared to pay a fair amount more for those useful options.

The features available for the 2008 Audi TT are practical and entertaining, but expensive.

The chief option is a convertible roof. The top used in the Audi TT Roadster is exceptionally tight and shuts out most road and wind noise, and a new wind deflector helps curb turbulence at speed with the top down. Also, the top doesn't cut into trunk space as much as most folding hardtops.

The Auto Channel reports that the Audi TT has standard height-adjustable seats and a tilt/telescope steering wheel, which helps drivers find a good driving position in this low-riding sports coupe.

Like other Audi models, the TT employs the MMI controls for most functions. While this is not as frustratingly complex as rival BMW's iDrive system, there is a learning curve involved according to Forbes Autos, which states that "technophobes may want to stay clear and forgo the navigation system" (not included without the MMI option).

Options like Bluetooth, the Magnetic Ride Suspension, and a navigation system are all desirable options, but the charges can add up quickly, Automotive.com says. The cost of a "fully loaded" Audi TT 2008 can go as much as $12,000 above the regular sticker price once you add features like the Premium Package, which includes heated, 10-way adjustable seats, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, and--for the roadster--a power-operated top costing over $3,000. The Enhanced Package, which offers leather seats and a trunk pass-through ski sack for the roadster, runs over $1,200. The Magnetic Ride Suspension, which adds safety as well as comfort, and the much-touted S tronic six-speed transmission are a cool $1,400 each. The adaptive headlights, another safety feature, will cost you an extra $800, and a Bluetooth wireless system for your cell phone is around $450.

Making matters worse, many of these features are unavailable on the base Audi TT.

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8.2
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 8.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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