- Futuristic performance-car cabin layout
- Lean, nimble driving feel
- All-weather tractability
- Advanced infotainment system
- Passenger can't access infotainment
- Exterior design doesn't go anywhere new
- Noisier, busier ride without magnetic dampers
The 2017 Audi TT isn't quite a pure sports car, but its driver-centric interior design, leaner driving character, and everyday practicality provide an ideal sweet spot for the real world.
The fully redesigned, third-generation Audi TT and TTS coupe and convertible models that bowed last year could, more than ever, be mistaken for pure sports cars. They're convincing in many respects, with the right stance, styling, and driving position, plus excellent road manners.
But they're not quite that, as the lack of a manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive origins definitely send out warning signals to driving purists. Call it what you will, as the current TT lineup provides a lot of driving enjoyment.
We gave it a 7.4 overall score thanks to handsome styling and good features. The TT's performance, in base trim, leaves some room for improvement, and its fuel economy scores aren't hugely impressive. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
In profile, the TT hasn’t changed much. It's recognizable as the same pert coupe or roadster, but its overhangs have been tucked in a bit more and its corners a little more chiseled, which depending on the vantage point can make it appear either a bit wider than before (it's actually narrower). There's definitely some R8 influence in front, where LED matrix headlamps, the trapezoidal grille, and new hood creasing make the look a little more menacing.
Design-wise, the TT looks a bit more like a smaller version of the R8 supercar this time around, borrowing some of the cues from that mid-engine model but Audi says it's looked to the R8 supercar for design influences on the new TT, and then inward to the driver—with a more driver-centric, cockpit-like layout for the cabin, a lighter-and-leaner driving experience, and a raft of new tech.
The interior of the TT and TTS, on the other hand, get a radical redo, with a cabin layout that far more effectively channels some of the sports-car vibe that this model has been missing in its previous iterations. A new Audi Virtual Cockpit display uses a 12.3-inch high-contrast display, steering-wheel toggles, voice controls, and a capacitive touch pad down at the center console, and it replaces traditional climate and audio controls. Round vents have middle areas that control climate settings, and there's a racier look throughout in the materials and swoopy dash shape.
The 2017 TT is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, making 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet, while the high-performance TTS boosted up to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft. In this generation of the TT and TTS, with a lighter structure and some serious weight loss, the TT can get to 60 mph in as little as 5.3 seconds and the TTS at 4.6 seconds. Some may mourn the loss of a manual gearbox (it's all quick, satisfying S-tronic dual-clutch automatics now), but they are apparently in the very small minority.
An even higher-performance Audi TT RS, by the way, will arrive in 2018, with a new version of the turbocharged inline-5, plus various other performance upgrades.
The TT is offered only in all-wheel-drive quattro form in the U.S., and this version packs the latest, Audi-tuned Haldex clutch-pack system, which will send more power to the rear wheels when it’s needed, or preemptively to make the car more balanced in sporty driving (it responds not only to accelerator inputs, but steering too). A new progressive steering system brings a variable ratio rack with variable electric assist—amounting to a quick, nimble feeling on low-speed hairpins and a more relaxed, settled feel on the highway. Road feel is still a bit lacking, and that's a plus and a minus for the magnetic suspension included with TTS models (which, by the way, filters out some of the road noise that can be an issue in the TT Coupe).
The TT and TTS are light and nimble in driving feel, and electronic systems help supplement the experience with the right sounds and feedback—for the most part. For instance, a sound actuator feeds "sporty" sounds into the cabin when you drive enthusiastically, and on TTS models there are additional exhaust flaps. Audi Drive Select, a multi-mode system lets you tune a range of powertrain, steering, and stability behaviors.
A powered spoiler extends at 75 mph or retracts at 44 mph; and it generates about 110 pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It’s not something that’s going to make much of a difference at U.S. freeway speeds, but it’s a bragging right—as is a new launch control feature for the stability system.
Comfort, safety, and features
You might expect this model, with its more cockpit-like design approach, to be tighter inside than its predecessor; but that's not the case. As before, there's more legroom for those in front than in most other sports cars or sporty coupes, and there's adjustability here to accommodate a wide range of driver sizes. The 2017 Audi TT is a four-seater, although we wouldn't call it a true four-passenger model; it's closer to a 2+2 for the Coupe, or a two-seater plus a glorified parcel shelf for the Roadster.
Audi is ramping up active-safety features with this generation of the TT; and just as with the previous two generations of this sporty coupe or convertible, you can expect the same high standards of occupant protection here as in Audi’s sedans and crossovers. Secondary collision brake assist, which keeps the vehicle from continuing to roll when it’s been in an accident, is now standard on the entire model line. Audi Side Assist is also included in the TTS.
The 2017 Audi TT offers a lot more available in-cabin connectivity technology than before, as well as more standard comforts and features. Compared to other sports cars or roadsters it really isn't an either/or dilemma—you can have some of the top tech wizardry, in a way that doesn't detract from the sports-car flavor.
The star of the interior is the Audi Virtual Cockpit, a system that uses a wide high-contrast color screen that doubles as a gauge cluster. Add the MMI Navigation Plus package and you get some technology that's unrivaled in this class, including Google Earth and Street View displays, real-time traffic info, and integrated Facebook and Twitter feeds.
TT models include keyless ignition, remote locking, an alarm system, a garage-door opener, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and automatic wipers and headlamps—and Audi has for 2017 added a rearview camera system plus auto-dimming, power-folding side mirrors. TTS models add a magnetic ride suspension that quells road noise and harshness without cutting handling sharpness, plus wheel and brake upgrades, front and rear parking sensors, and Audi side assist.
2017 Audi TT
The 2017 Audi TT has evolved conservatively inside, but the interior incorporates a radical new racing-inspired look and advanced interface.
The original Audi TT from the late 1990s and early 2000s was a design icon—a piece of rolling Bauhaus art, if you will—but thankfully the TT has evolved in new directions and Audi hasn't penned itself into a design corner trying to reconstitute the original.
The TT has evolved and changed, but we still think the little roadster looks great. We gave it an 8 based on an exceptional interior and a very good interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Its influences have become, more directly, the R8 sports-car family rather than that original TT. Overhangs have been tucked in, and from overheard it's more squared-off overall. It's a little more hunkered-back, too. Given that, the impression is that the TT is a little wider before; it's actually slightly narrower. And all these changes add up to a profile and proportions that are more sports car than touring coupe.
The new TT looks a good deal more expressive than the former version, and up-close details are the key to that. In front, LED matrix headlamps, a trapezoidal "singleframe" grille, and new hood creasing add to a racy, R8-influenced look, while the chiseled corners and sheet metal sculpting help visually bring up the car's midline without getting too much in the way of visibility from inside.
Although you might say that the exterior of the TT is a continuation of existing styles, the cabin layout and interface of the TT is truly revolutionary. Audi's radical redo of the TT's interface delivers a sports-car vibe in a way that the TT never had before; the layout is low-set and enveloping around the driver, while the infotainment screen and center stack have been nixed completely—moved in front of the driver, into a new Audi Virtual Cockpit display, employing a 12.3-inch high-contrast display, voice controls, steering-wheel toggles, and a center-console capacitive touch pad.
Details abound, and they're well-coordinated and seemingly either aerospace or racing influenced. Round, nicely detailed vents have middle areas that display climate-control settings, and they press and twist. The dash hangs back at a slight angle over the passenger’s legs like an aircraft wing, with the array of round dash vents like engines. And distinctive trims and more interior colors add to a look that's performance-oriented and purposeful.
2017 Audi TT
There's quite the sensory experience from the driver's seat, as well as respectable performance numbers; but even the TTS still can't quite be called a true sports car.
2017 Audi TT and TTS models are quite similar in how they're packaged and presented, but TTS models offer considerably stronger performance.
We gave the TT a 7 out of 10 for good handling and a good ride, but stopped short of calling it a true sports car. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Audi TT is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 with turbocharging and direct injection, making 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. The engine in the high-performance TTS might have the same displacement—2.0 liters—but there’s more turbo boost, and all the core moving parts are stronger to suit, bringing its numbers up to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft.
The TT is offered only in all-wheel-drive quattro form for the U.S. It has the latest, Audi-tuned Haldex clutch-pack system, which will send more power to the rear wheels when it’s needed, or preemptively to make the car more balanced in sporty driving (it responds not only to accelerator inputs, but steering too). Audi's 6-speed S-tronic automated manual gearbox does the shifting, and while you're not rowing your own, the gear changes are quicker and just as satisfying.
These might not be full-fledged sports cars by some gauges, but they're sports-car quick. Audi TT models get to 60 mph in as little as 5.3 seconds, while the TTS does it in just 4.6 seconds. That's a big improvement over the previous version, thanks to a new aluminum-and-steel composite construction that builds both on the VW Group’s MQB platform and engineering expertise from the R8 sports car—resulting in a weight reduction of up to 110 pounds versus the outgoing model.
The 2017 TT indeed drives with a lighter-and-leaner feel in most ways—and it keeps with the promise of the sportier cockpit layout in delivering a more neutral, balanced feel that lets you take advantage of its baked-in handling abilities.
All TT and TTS models will come with a progressive steering system that matches a variable ratio with variable electric assist—adding to that nimble feeling in quick directional changes and mountain hairpins, but feeling settled and stable on the highway.
Keep in mind that TTS models include an Audi magnetic ride suspension that, while tauter than the TT's setup, actually helps do a better job of keeping road harshness out. The only thing we wish for, after having experienced this system several times, is a bit more feedback from the road—and that complaint becomes exaggerated in the TTS, as while its magnetic suspension filters out a lot of road din, it also cancels out some of the sensations at the wheels and the seat of your pants.
To help keep you inspired, there's some mood supplementation in the TT and TTS. In both models, a sound actuator feeds "sporty" sounds into the cabin when you drive enthusiastically. TTS models add to that with exhaust flaps to assist in the soundtrack. Audi Drive Select offers Dynamic, Auto, and Comfort modes that affect throttle response, transmission behavior, steering boost, and behavior of the stability and all-wheel-drive systems, and this all plays a role in making these cars where you can "tune in" the driving experience for your mood.
As in previous TT models, a powered spoiler extends at 75 mph or retracts at 44 mph; and it generates about 110 pounds of downforce at 155 mph. It’s not something that’s going to make much of a difference at U.S. freeway speeds, but it’s a bragging right—as is a new launch control feature.
2017 Audi TT
Comfort & Quality
For two, the TT and TTS make a lot of sense inside, with comfortable seats, well-laid-out controls, and decent ride comfort; go elsewhere if the small trunk and minuscule back seat get to you.
With last year's redesign, the Audi TT moved to a completely new cabin and instrument-panel concept—one that's far more cockpit-like and sports-car influenced.
Those design cues usually translate to less usable space throughout an interior, but that's not at all the case here. As with the previous-generation model, the TT is an astonishingly space-efficient car—just one that you'll mostly reserve for two.
We gave the TT a 6 out of 10 on our ratings scale thanks to good front seats and top-notch interior materials, but took away a point based on its useless back seat. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Well, technically the 2017 Audi TT is a four-seater; but whether or not you call it a true four-passenger model or a 2+2 depends very much on the size of your passengers. In coupe models, shorter-than-average adults will find just enough space for knees and legs when in back, but their heads will likely be mashed up against the top of the hatchback glass (yes, watch out when closing the hatch).
Convertible models have room for two—and that's it. The front seats of the roadster are the same story as the coupe, more leg room in front than in most other sports cars or sporty coupes, as well as a good driving position for a wide range of sizes.
The TT's front seats are generally above and beyond what you might expect for a sports car or a stylish little touring coupe. They offer plenty of lateral support for the thighs and back, as well as back support, and with the S line package you also get distinctive diamond patterning on nappa leather, and there are various grades of cloth, leather, and Alcantara (faux-suede) elsewhere in the lineup. Special accent lighting (and noteworthy change for the interior's ambience) comes with an available lighting package.
Interior trim and cabin materials are, on the whole, a lot more expressive than they've been in previous TT models. You'll find a padded, textured material for the upper dash, while there's a raised, honeycomb-patterned material on the TTS that looks more than a little retro. In addition to a flamboyant Express Red interior leather hue, there are black, Rock Gray, and Palomino Brown interior themes, and a second contrasting color available in some builds.
2017 Audi TT
A suite of active-safety features may help reassure given the lack of crash-test results for the TT and TTS.
The 2017 Audi TT manages to pair a robust set of active-safety gear—including several items that may help reduce your chances of being in an accident at all.
Although there's a complete lack of crash-test ratings (and even information) from either of the two U.S. safety agencies (the NHTSA for federal ratings, and the IIHS for insurance-funded ones), Audi claims to have put a lot of work into the TT's structure—and making it not just good for occupant protection but low in its center of mass.
We haven't rated the TT due to the lack of official data. We'll update this page once it becomes available. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
With its full redesign this past model year, the Audi TT lineup was built on a new body structure. And while it starts out in some places with the company's MQB architecture that is being phased in for a wide range of VW and Audi products (including the A3 lineup), the TT isn't really close enough to compare to any of those vehicles' safety results. That's because the TT includes far more aluminum—in everything from sheet metal to the body structure itself, supplemented with high-strength steel in areas like firewall and some of the floor structure.
For 2017, a rearview camera has become standard on the entire model line. Secondary collision brake assist, which keeps the vehicle from continuing to roll when it’s been in an accident, is included, too. Blind-spot monitors and an lane-keep assist system are both available—with the latter now offering a gentle pulse-warning through the steering wheel. If that's not enough, a higher-intervention mode actually helps steer the vehicle to keep it in the travel lane.
2017 Audi TT
The 2017 Audi TT and TTS go above and beyond in tech features, with the virtual cockpit, great data integration, and top-notch premium audio.
Feature-wise, there's one lead actor in the new TT: the so-called Audi virtual cockpit, and the latest version of the brand's Multi-Media Interface (MMI). Both come standard on all TT and TTS models, and think of it as a huge 12.3-inch widescreen display that replaces both the gauge cluster and the center stack. It can show navigation, trip info, audio functions, and more as well as two (or three, in the TTS) gauge layouts.
The new TT gets a 9 out of 10 on our feature scale for good base equipment, excellent options, good customization, a slick infotainment system, and a convertible version. The bad news? It's all pretty pricey. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
With it, you get three different unique layouts: Classic, Progressive, and Sport (TTS only). Classic has a traditional gauge layout, with speedometer and tachometer, while Progressive gives you a navigation/map visual in the areas between. Sport gives you a choice of several performance layouts.
So far we've found it to be mostly a step in the right direction, switching between layouts with a "view" button on the steering wheel, using the left toggle to navigate between main choices, and the right toggle for task-specific needs. The continued hesitation we have with this system is that it's driver-centric to such an extreme that it might require too much attention from the driver; it doesn't permit delegating DJ duties to a passenger, for instance.
With the MMI Navigation Plus package, you add the capability to display smooth-scrolling maps on the high-contrast color screen, as well gauge-cluster layouts—simultaneously. That package also adds Audi Connect, with an embedded LTE data connection and showy Google Earth and Google Street View displays, real-time traffic information, and Facebook- and Twitter-integrated interfaces. There's 10 GB for storing music files, and of course, and Bluetooth audio streaming.
Where the Audi's interface features really leap a step ahead of all the rest, as we see it, is in a new search function that lets you input free text, scanning everything from navigation destinations to songs, podcasts, or phone-book contacts. Now after several encounters, this system impresses as the closest fully-vehicle-integrated system to what Google offers in Android handsets or Apple with Siri. The only gripe remains that backing out of some functions, if they don't deliver what you need, should be more straightforward.
While it may be a startling level of tech to throw into a driver-focused car, this is actually in line with what Audi says: that today's sport-coupe and sports-car buyers have higher expectations when it comes to infotainment and connectivity. Compared to other sports cars it really isn't an either/or dilemma—you can have some of the top tech wizardry, in a way that doesn't detract from the sports-car flavor.
Otherwise, the feature content for these models is quite generous. The TT includes keyless ignition, remote locking, an alarm system, a garage-door opener, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and automatic wipers and headlamps; and for 2017, Audi has added a rearview camera plus auto-dimming, power-folding side mirrors. And on TTS models you add the more powerful engine, a magnetic ride suspension (which we have mixed feelings about, as you've likely read in other sections of this review), wheel and brake upgrades, front and rear parking sensors, and Audi side assist.
At the top of the lineup, Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio offers 12 speakers and 680 watts, with a processor that optimizes sound based on cabin noise.
New for 2017 is a Black Optic package, which is mainly an appearance package that brings a black grille surround, black side mirror housings. On TTS models with the package there's an additional black rear diffuser, while both models get special titanium-finish wheels (19-inch double-spokes for the TT and 20-inch V-spokes for the TTS).
2017 Audi TT
The Audi TT Roadster, at 26 mpg combined, gets one of the best mileage ratings of any convertible on the market.
With no manual transmission in the lineup anymore—only a 6-speed S-tronic dual-clutch (automatic) transmission—there aren't a lot of choices to make to get the most fuel-efficient powertrain.
The 2017 Audi TT isn't likely a model you'd home in on for its fuel efficiency in the first place. Yet it's quite good in this area, relatively speaking, with impressive ratings last year of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, 26 combined for coupe or convertible models.
Based on those numbers, we're giving the TT an efficiency score of 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
That rating makes the TT Roadster one of the most fuel-efficient models on the market with a convertible top.
Front-wheel-drive versions of the TT have been the ones with the best mileage ratings in the past, but the lineup has gone all-wheel drive, all the time. There are no plans to bring the diesel TDI inline-4 that's offered in Europe.
Otherwise, TTS models, with their higher-output engine, earn 23/27/25 mpg for 2017.
You might argue that these models aren't that competitive when you figure in passenger and cargo capacity; yet they are among relatively few models on the market where we've managed to meet or beat the EPA ratings in real-world driving. We averaged nearly 31 mpg in a TT Coupe over a 340-mile highway trip, for instance.