Auto Reviews

2000 Audi TT

Audi blows its top in 2000 creating yet another roadster for the masses. You knew this was planned when the TT was first introduced last year. With the roadster market booming and more than two new models introduced every year, the TT was destined to be a convertible. It takes a huge effort to launch a new vehicle into production and Audi probably could not get both versions ready in time for the first year, so we will reference the coupe as new and improved and welcome the roadster in the spring of 2000. The coupe has already achieved great success because it is very attractive with unique styling. In 2000 you have the option of a high performance engine and drive train. That adds up to four different versions of the same model, an affordable version, a speedster version, and the option to go topless with either package. Most companies would have introduced the roadster first then the coupe but either way the TT will definitely be an even bigger success.

The TT's standard power train is a turbocharged 1.8-liter iron block with an aluminum head that features 5 valves per cylinder. The engine is rated at 180 bhp and 190 lb-ft of torque. The standard layout is front wheel drive. There is a power train upgrade available (one that I highly recommend). The same engine and block but Audi installed bigger turbochargers and more boost to push the output to 225 bhp and 207 lb-ft of torque. This powerhouse is coupled to the now famous Quattro AWD system with a six speed manual transaxle.

The exterior remains much the same with the exception of the chop top, why ruin a good thing, it has beautiful lines that flow smoothly beginning and ending with round curves. From front to rear the theme is smooth and slippery with effortless transition from one body panel to the next. Fit and finish is excellent and a big improvement for Audi and what you should expect from a German sports car. There are only a few subtle changes that reveal the identification of the high performance model. They are different emblems and dual exhaust outlets that distinguish the high performance Quattro upgrades. The interior is extremely appealing and very different in the roadster version. The roadster has no rear seat; it has been replaced with structural steel to compensate for the structural demands of a convertible. Audi does not even attempt to stuff in a rear seat and I believe it is the right move. The structural member in the rear seat area makes for a firm and functional mount for the twin brushed aluminum roll bars. The interior is finished with several-brushed aluminum trim pieces that give the interior a distinct and very attractive look. If you were able to make it to a major auto show this year, you probably saw the roadster on display with the baseball stitched leather interior, it has the look of hand sewn moccasins to give it a ruff but very distinctive look that I applaud. The body structure has been strengthened in several locations to increase torsional rigidity. Audi claims it is as strong as the Porsche Boxster. The front end is fully independent with a lower control arm and strut system. The rear is unfortunately a solid beam axle; this is disappointing because at this price it should be independent. The brakes are 4-wheel disc that include ABS as standard equipment.

The TT and the TT Roadster will soon be so popular that they will be seen all over southern California. The only thing unappealing is the price, I do not mean to say that it is overpriced, but it is about 10 thousand dollars more than some less expensive Japanese roadsters. I believe the extra 10 thousand dollars is worth it because you get a superior engine and drive train with a body style in no way similar to anything else on the road. There is one other important fact: "THE SAFETY RECALL". In mid October, Audi worldwide announced a voluntary recall of its TT. The move comes under criticism that the TT looses control during high-speed encounters. From what I have read, the so-called high-speed encounters are at or above 125 MPH. That is also why there have been no reports of such occurrences in the USA. The Germans are know for speed, that's why German cars are built for speed because they really do drive that fast. The autobahn, the worlds super highway, there are no speed limits and German cars are built to comfortably cruise above 100 MPH. So German cars, like the beer purity laws, are built to handle the daily German commute. It is because of the German high speed demands that forced Audi to announced a voluntary recall in mid October of its TT. The recall involves some component replacement such as front lower control arms, sway bars, shocks and the addition of a rear spoiler. If I were in the market for this car I would personally wait until the cars come fixed from the factory. I am not against a dealer-serviced recall, but with the addition of a rear spoiler, "a color coated body part", you have to worry about the paint and body panel fit. If you see one that has had the recall work performed and it looks fine to you, then buy it, but be sure you look at the fit and finish of the rear deck lid and spoiler. The recall involves what I call high performance upgrades that will only enhance the handling. Again,the only thing you should be concerned with is the addition of the spoiler because the rest is straightforward high performance upgrades. The rear spoiler does present with a different look. I have seen the retrofit and it looks good, in fact so good it looks like it is the same spoiler used on a Porsche 911, Audi sister company.