2013 Audi TT Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
May 30, 2012

The 2013 Audi TT RS is the star on track, but all TT models offer fun and efficiency, plus a welcome dash of style.

Straddling the gap between a sporty car and a true sports car, the Audi TT shirks simple classification in favor of a combination of design, practicality, and fun-driving spirit underpinned with solid Audi engineering.

The 2013 Audi TT carries forward the 2012 model's features and designs unchanged. Nonetheless, the current TT continues to offer a competitive, luxurious package with the most sporting credibility of any TT thus far.

With the V-6 engine option absent since 2011, the main choice to be had under the hood is between a pair of 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged engines. The standard version in the TT rates 211 horsepower, while the TTS gets a more aggressive 265-hp tune. Even the base TT is fairly quick, getting to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, while the TTS does the same run in 4.9 seconds.

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A third model is also available, in the form of the (coupe-only) raw and rowdy TT RS, which gets a turbocharged five-cylinder engine rated at 360 hp. The TT and TTS both come exclusively with a dual-clutch automatic six-speed transmission, though it's available in either coupe or roadster body styles. The TT RS is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. All models of the TT are all-wheel-drive only, though the TTS and TT RS get an upgraded Haldex AWD system.

While the TT Roadster models are heavier than their Coupe counterparts, the 2013 Audi TT is nimbler and more eager than the original, with a low-slung, grippy feel that feels as sporty as it looks. Sharp, responsive handling, strong throttle response from torquey turbo engines, and the quattro all-wheel drive system make for a quick, competent package.

Inside, the 2013 TT is comfy up front, with enough cabin and cargo space for a weekend getaway for two. The rear seats, however, are mostly there for looks--or lower insurance rates--as the minimal leg room leaves practicality at the door sill. Quality, fit, and finish is very good, with low cabin noise, solid-feeling materials, and rich finishes.

The 2013 Audi TT hasn't been safety tested yet, but Audi's reputation for safety through engineering, plus a full complement of modern safety equipment should inspire confidence.

On the gas mileage front, the TT isn't as efficient as its small footprint might make you believe, but it's still quite green for a sport coupe, rating 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in Coupe form.

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2013 Audi TT

Styling

With a sporty exterior that looks at home next to the R8, the 2013 Audi TT is a looker--despite less-than-fresh interior design.

Though the lineal design heritage of the Audi TT is obvious from the original to the 2013 model, it's clear that the stylists have changed their tack with the latest generation, penning a more squat, low-slung sport coupe and convertible with contemporary Audi cues.

The wide, low stance looks like it's squatted on its haunches, ready to spring into action, even at a stop. Bright, modern headlight enclosures with LED accents, large air inlets, and sleek, flowing curves give the TT an aggressive, yet cultured look.

Inside, it's a bit of a different story, as the TT's interior isn't fully in line with the rest of the Audi range in terms of design, owing mostly to its greater age. Nevertheless, its simple approach to aesthetics and good materials and finish selections give a refined, masculine appeal.

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2013 Audi TT

Performance

From base to TT RS, the entire 2013 Audi TT lineup is quick and fun to drive, but the rabid and rowdy TT RS is a breed apart.

Available in two body styles (Coupe and Roadster) and three performance flavors (TT, TTS, and TT RS) the Audi TT range spans a wide spectrum of tastes.

The base TT Coupe and Roadster come with a 211-horsepower 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged engine paired to a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox. Whether letting the computer handle the shifts or using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, the result is smooth, quick gear changes executed flawlessly--every time. TT Coupe models manage the 0-60 mph run in just 5.3 seconds, while the Roadsters require 5.6 seconds due to their extra weight.

The TTS Coupe and Roadster share a hotter version of the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, rated at 265 hp. Both are also available exclusively with the DSG six-speed transmission. With the extra power, the TTS Coupe can get to 60 mph in as little as 4.9 seconds. Handling is very good in the TTS, thanks in part to its standard magnetic ride suspension system, which includes a Sport setting that lowers the car by 0.39 inches and stiffens the ride for better responsiveness. In comfort mode, the magnetic ride system smooths bumps and improves comfort just as well. The TTS also benefits from larger brakes and a tuned exhaust system for a little more bark.

New last year, the exclusive (and more expensive) TT RS adds serious bite to the TT range, with a 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder rated at 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. Unlike the more common TT and TTS, the TT RS is only available with a six-speed manual transmission--for maximum driving enjoyment. An upgraded Haldex version of the quattro all-wheel-drive system, shared with the TTS, helps better handle the extra power. When really stepping on the throttle in Sport mode, an exhaust bypass valve opens, releasing a raspy, rabid sound. The TT RS is only available in coupe form.

While all 2013 Audi TT models handle well, moving up the range in power also moves up considerably in sharpness, precision, and driver feel--but at the expense of a larger hole in your bank account.

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2013 Audi TT

Comfort & Quality

The 2013 Audi TT makes the most of its small cabin, with well-made materials and a comfortable ride.

As its compact exterior might hint, the 2013 Audi TT is, practically speaking, a two-seat sports car with fairly tight cargo and cabin space. There's room enough for a two-person weekend getaway, but it lacks the more expansive comfort of a grand tourer.

The back seats are little more than package shelves--or perhaps technicalities for slightly better insurance rates--but the front seats are very comfortable. Leg and head room are both adequate even for adults over 6'6". The cabin even manages to feel wide, thanks to the broad dash and open instrument panel design. In Roadster models, the soft top keeps nearly the same ample headroom as the Coupe, though it does sacrifice the arched, sleek roofline.

The console and glove box are small, and storage space in general is less than abundant. In the Coupe, a stowage space beneath the hatch is fairly generous, however, with room for a weekend's luggage for two, and folding the rear seats forward opens up even more space. In the Roadster, the folding soft top doesn't impinge on the trunk space, so it too offers adequate, if not ample, cargo space.

Despite its rabid performance and racy looks, the TT RS is essentially the same as the more pedestrian TTs in terms of space and comfort, though the stiffer suspension and larger tires mean a rougher ride and more cabin noise. The TT RS is only available as a coupe.

Whichever TT you choose, the available magnetic ride suspension improves ride comfort and noise as well as handling, and is well worth the money in our eyes.

Material quality, construction, and trim appearance are typically Audi--meaning very good all around. The overall effect is one of luxurious appearance and sumptuous feel.

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2013 Audi TT

Safety

There's no crash-test data on the 2013 Audi TT, but it does offer a full set of safety equipment, agile handling, and a strong, lightweight structure.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2013 Audi TT. Nevertheless, Audi has engineered the TT with a strong, lightweight body structure and fitted it with most of the modern safety equipment you'd expect.

All TT Coupe and Roadster models offers standard anti-lock brakes, side airbags, electronic stability control, and hill-hold assist. The active safety assists you'll find on some other luxury coupes are missing, however--you won't find features like blind-spot alert, lane-departure warning, or a backup camera.

Rear parking sensors are offered, however, and can be especially handy in the Roadster, which can make rearward visibility difficult with the soft top raised.

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2013 Audi TT

Features

Well-equipped even in base form, the 2013 Audi TT isn't likely to be considered a bargain, but the premium price brings a premium feel.

As you'd expect from any Audi, the 2013 TT is well-equipped even in base trim, but many will want to tick some of the extra options boxes to meet their personal level of comfort and convenience.

Piling on the options can quickly drive the price above $50,000, but in this segment, that's par for the course--and you do get what you pay for. Upgrades like the Silk Nappa leather and Alcantara upholstery with aluminum trim, and 10-way power front seats give the TT a much more premium feel.

On the Roadster, option for the power-operated soft top makes it much more convenient to go topless, and the Bose premium sound system is much better suited to top-down driving.

Some of the standard features on all TT models include: cruise control, power locks/windows/mirrors, leather upholstery, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection, satellite radio, and auxiliary input jacks. Audi's MMI Navigation and infotainment interface is available as an extra on all models.

The TT RS, in addition to its extra power and handling, adds a lap timer, power-adjustable sport seats in either Silk Nappa leather or Alcantara, and a range of interior trim options. Several choices of wheel design, plus eight color options for exterior paint are also available. A la carte options available include: carbon fiber mirror covers, heated seats, gloss-black wheels, a power-retractable spoiler that deletes the rear wing, and "aluminum optic" exterior trim.

Audi's Tech Package wraps together some of the best options, including: Bose premium sound, MMI Navigation, adaptive headlights, rear parking sensors, and ambient LED lighting in the cabin.

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2013 Audi TT

Fuel Economy

For its performance and luxury class, the 2013 Audi TT is impressively efficient.

The standard 2013 Audi TT and TTS, with their turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, are among the most efficient sports cars in their performance class.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the 2013 TT and TTS Coupe and Roadster at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, for 26 mpg combined.

The higher-performance TT RS uses a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that generates significantly more horsepower, but is proportionally thirstier, too, rating 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for 20 mpg combined per the EPA.

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Styling 8
Performance 8
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