Audi TT Coupe an Exotic Bargain
, Sun, 21 Feb 2010 03:31:50 PST
DETROIT - At less than $40K, Audi's TT coupe is one of the most exotic looking cars on the road today.
Specifically, I had the 2009 Audi TT Coupe 2.0 quattro S tronic. All those numbers and letters require some translation. My test vehicle was a hard top, versus the rag top TT roadster. It was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. The car made 200 horsepower and 207 pounds-feet of torque.
Quattro is Audi-speak for all-wheel-drive. The S stood for the appearance package which was comprised of 19-inch alloy wheels that were very slick, S line bumpers, an S line steering wheel, headlight washers and black nappa leather. This added $3,000 to the $37,300 base price.
But first let's talk about S tronic. That's the transmission. It was a six speed automatic and featured paddle shifters on the steering column and it could be put into sports mode and manually shifted from the console mounted stalk. I tried both and they're an acquired test. I've always felt that if you want to shift gears, buy a car with a manual transmission they're a lot more fun to drive.
However, I do like Audis' dual clutch automatic that I first encountered on the A3. Shifts are quick, precise and seamless. The TT Coupe had a dual clutch transmission, thus, I refrained from pining for a manual gearbox. For those who don't like shifting themselves, this dual clutch automatic doesn't take away from the fun to drive characteristics of the TT Coupe.
The car looked real good, sorta like a lopsided clam shell in motion. It was short, aerodynamic but stubby and it handled like a go-cart. With Quattro, the wheels stuck to the pavement like dust to fly paper. Cornering, handling and the suspension which could be set on sport or normal ride were great. I drove around with the suspension in sport mode.
The TT Coupe is quick rather than fast. After all, it has a mere 200 horsepower. But its rather light 3,000 lbs enables the engine to put out a respectable horsepower to weight ratio. And that's where the quickness comes from. There is a 3.2-liter 250 horsepower V6 but I don't know that it makes a distinct improvement in the TT's speed.
The interior was all black except for vents and instrument pods that were ringed with aluminum. Audi has a kind of inverted teardrop shape to the odometer and tachometer. That's accentuated by the round vents. And by the time you get to control/navigation screen, its rounded corners fit the interior design theme.
My test vehicle was chock full of controls. From the driver's seat, it had the feeling of a cockpit. But Audi has managed to simplify the instruments with straightforward tags and icons. I never really had to guess what did what.
My TT Coupe was also loaded with options. The prestige model was $5,300 extra and for that cash there was a navigation system, rear parking assist, Xenon headlamps, daytime running lights, a premium sound system, interior LED lighting, Bluetooth that turns compatible cell phones into hands free car phones and more.
I thought it a nice touch that the rear seat platforms, nobody can seat back there, folded creating an even larger cargo space. Audi never uses the phrase but the TT Coupe technically is a hatch back. But in this package it doesn't matter. Two people could store clothes and other stuff for road trip that lasted weeks.
About the only thing I didn't like about my test vehicle was that it started without my foot on the brake pedal. It was not supposed to do that. But that miscue didn't keep me from loving the TT Coupe.
Add on $1,400 for an Audi magnetic suspension, $450 for heated front seats and an $825 freight charge and the sticker on my test vehicle came to $48,750.