2019 Audi TT Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

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March 20, 2019

Buying tip

The sportier TTS’s magnetic ride suspension actually improves the comfort of the TT over the standard car, and may be worth the money, especially

The 2019 Audi TT isn’t the most exciting sports car, but with impressive tech, performance models, and all-wheel-drive, it’s very well-rounded.

The 2019 Audi TT is a style statement in coupe or convertible form that ranges from comfortable toy to rip-roaring mini-supercar. With four seats, a hatchback, and a humble VW platform, the TT may seem practical on paper, but its specs can be deceiving.

For its style, tech, and driving fun, we give it 6.2 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2019, the TT is treated to a few minor tweaks and a special 20th Anniversary Edition to commemorate the original’s 1999 launch with a brown leather interior, unique wheels, and a limited production run.

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Though not as distinctive as the original—which brought Bauhaus back in a big way—the third-generation TT is still a handsome car in either coupe or convertible form. Sharp lines, a big trapezoidal grille, the hood-mounted badge, and big wheels round out the look nicely, but this car is deceptively small for how low and wide it seems. A soft-top convertible spoils the coupe’s sleek lines slightly, but as far as roadsters go, it’s a looker.

Inside, the driver-centric cockpit eschews a central infotainment screen in favor of the all-digital Virtual Cockpit display, passengers be damned. Thoughtful touches like the vent-mounted climate controls and excellent material quality are hallmarks of Audi design, and make for one of our favorite sports car cabins.

The base TT is powered by Audi parent VW’s 2.0-liter turbo-4, which starts with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and standard all-wheel-drive. The hotter TTS model boosts the same engine to 288 hp and 280 lb-ft and drops the 0-60 mph time from 5.2 to 4.4 seconds. Hardcore performance fans will want the TT RS, which shoehorns a rip-snorting 2.5-liter turbo 5-cylinder under the hood for 400 hp and 354 lb-ft, rocketing this little coupe to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. All TTs are capable handlers with somewhat light steering, and as letters are added to the name, grip, braking performance, and suspension firmness all increase. TT and TTS models get a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic as standard, while the RS model has one extra cog.

Space is plentiful for two occupants—though visibility is limited—and while the TT technically has rear seats, they’re for children on rare occasions or best left folded flat to increase the size of the easily accessible cargo area. Roadsters predictably offer a smaller trunk and no back seats, but the TT roadster isn’t meant to be a daily driver while the coupe could pass for one.

Standard equipment is generous, but the TT gets significantly better as you spend more on extras like Bang and Olufsen sound, navigation, and more. Unfortunately, safety tech is lacking, with no automatic emergency braking available and blind-spot monitors as optional extras. Fuel economy is strong for base models at 26 mpg combined but gets worse as power and cylinder counts increase.

 
8

2019 Audi TT

Styling

The 2019 Audi TT is undoubtedly sharp but unremarkable. Luckily, its cockpit is among the best in the business.

The Audi TT is handsome and sports a top-notch cockpit, even if it lacks some of the original’s magic. We give it 8 out of 10 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The current TT echoes the R8 supercar more than the rounded shapes of the original. Short overhangs and a rounded roofline on this relatively small sports car remind onlookers that a hatchback platform lies underneath, but as a sports car, it checks most of the right boxes. Sharp creases, angular headlights, and big vents and wheels on the TTS and TT RS are used in just the right way.

Only the biggest Audi fans will spot the changes for 2019, which include a few visual tweaks to the front fascia as well as new taillights. A 20th Anniversary Edition adds a unique paint color and brown leather interior as well as different wheels to commemorate the TT’s ascension to its third decade of existence, but time has made the TT less exciting and unexpected than the original 20 years ago.

Inside, however, the TT has aged like a fine wine, blending the latest and greatest tech with some thoughtful touches for a top-notch cabin. Though passengers are unable to use it, all infotainment controls are funneled through the digital instrument cluster display, which is among the best of its kind. The rest of the interior features high-quality materials, fine leather, and neat details like the climate controls integrated into the triple vents. Altogether, this is a driver-focused car from the inside, and after some lackluster performance in previous generations, it finally feels like one too.

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7

2019 Audi TT

Performance

The 2019 Audi TT offers performance in many flavors, but like buffalo wings or chicken curry, hottest is best.

The 2019 Audi TT comes in mild, medium, and spicy, with discernable differences between the three. We give it 7 out of 10, basing our rating on the base model. Hotter versions might rate 8 or even 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Base TT models use a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque routed as standard to all four wheels via a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Shift paddles come standard as well, and you’ll want to use them in spirited driving for the quick response of the transmission. Sixty mph comes in 5.3 seconds in the standard car, plenty quick for a small coupe or roadster, but Audi wasn’t content to leave quick enough alone.

The hotter TTS adds 60 more horsepower for a total of 288 hp and 280 lb-ft from the same engine using more boost. This also cuts the bulk of a second off the 0-60 time, dropping it to 4.6 seconds. Importantly, the TTS gets a magnetic ride suspension that’s far superior to that of the standard car, not just for comfort but for performance as well.

Finally, the top-tier TT RS is for hardcore performance fans only, sporting a 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder that makes a whopping 400 hp and 354 lb-ft. Its raspy exhaust note is unique, as this is the last five-cylinder car for sale in the U.S. (minus the Audi RS3 with the same engine) and harkens back to the original Quattro rally car of the 1980s with a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds.

The base TT is an apt handler, and though steering is on the light side, many of the understeer issues that plagued earlier models are all but eliminated. The TTS is sharper and more comfortable with its improved suspension, and the though the TT RS can be harsh on rough roads, taking to a track is the best way to get the most of this car with its optional carbon ceramic brakes, active rear spoiler, and sport tires.

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4

2019 Audi TT

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Audi TT is best for one person but can fit up to four in a pinch. Material quality is top-notch.

The 2019 Audi TT may have four seats and a hatchback in coupe form, but it’s a sports car through and through with no rear-seat utility and subpar outward vision. Quality is good as you’d expect from an Audi though, so we give it 4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The driver’s seat is the best place to be in the TT, with supportive buckets and an interior design that’s tailored to you. Passengers in the front fare well too, with plenty of legroom and decent headroom, though outward vision can be poor.

Coupe versions get two rear seats, though they’re best used for very small children or bags and other items. Better yet, stow them flat most times for increased cargo space, which is surprisingly good already and easy to access via the rear hatch.

TT convertibles get two seats only, making room for the folding soft top behind the front seats, and cargo space is predictably limited with just 7.5 cubic feet.

Like all Audis, material quality is superb and features plenty of soft-touch plastics, leather and metal accents, and even carbon fiber on The TTS and RS models.

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2019 Audi TT

Safety

The 2019 Audi TT lacks both crash-test results and active safety features.

For its low sales volume, the 2019 Audi TT is not crash-tested by the federal government or the independent IIHS, so no score can be given here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Unfortunately, active safety technology is lacking, too, and while blind-spot monitors and active lane control are optional extras, automatic emergency braking is not. Dual knee airbags, a backup camera, and front and rear parking sensors do come standard, but that’s about it.

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2019 Audi TT

Features

The 2019 Audi TT comes well-equipped but naturally gets better as you spend more.

The 2019 Audi TT is well-equipped out of the box, as it should be for the price, but sportier models are predictably better, and worth the extra cost if you can spare it. We give it 7 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The TT and TTS are offered in coupe or roadster form, while the TT RS is offered as a coupe only, but base models come with automatic climate control, ambient lighting, power features, leather upholstery, heated seats, a digital gauge cluster display, Bluetooth audio and phone, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, LED taillights, an adaptive rear spoiler, and 18-inch wheels. That’s a laundry list of standard kit, but options like premium audio, bigger wheels, and more tech are all available.

The TTS adds Alcantara-trimmed leather seats, magnetic ride suspension, bigger brakes, and 19-inch wheels, while the technology package adds Bang & Olufsen sound with 12 speakers, satellite navigation, blind spot monitors, and available wi-fi hotspot capability. TTS models can also be had with an interior package that adds nappa leather seats with diamond stitching and extended leather throughout.

The top-tier TT RS has stiffer springs with a lower ride height, leather and Alcantara upholstery, and a new all-wheel-drive system. A Dynamic Plus package carries a hefty $7,000 price tag, but adds even more aggressive suspension, carbon ceramic front brakes, a carbon fiber engine cover, and a top speed increase from 155 to 174 mph.

While navigation is an option, the Virtual Cockpit display is one of this car’s best features and is both easy to use and gorgeous to look at with Google Earth map displays full-width across the gauge cluster.

The new 20th Anniversary Edition adds unique wheels, a brown leather interior, special decals, and a limited production run for true fans of the TT’s two decades of existence.

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2019 Audi TT

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Audi TT is thrifty for a sports car but gets thirstier with more performance.

The 2019 Audi TT makes use of its turbocharged powertrains for decent efficiency, but up to a point. We give it 5 out of 10 for fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Standard coupe and roadster models manage 23 mpg city, 31 highway, and 26 combined, and only regular fuel is required. TTS models drop slightly to 23/29/25 mpg and require premium fuel, and the TT RS is not tested but expect the additional power, cylinder, and downforce-inducing bodywork to drop those numbers even further.

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$44,900
MSRP based on 2.0 TFSI
 
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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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