When the Audi TT first launched, it was an odd, quirky little car that had the automotive industry buzzing. But it’s changed so much since then, three generations and almost 20 years later. So Car and Driver took a look back at the TT through the years and how it’s changed into what it is today.
The first-gen Audi TT was an interesting car. It looked good, with styling that was sort of retro but also sort of futuristic. There were big, circular fenders and a bubble for a roof. It also had a cool interior, with circular air vents to match the gauges and an optional “baseball glove” stitched leather interior. So it was stylish and quirky but it had one major problem — it wasn’t actually very good. It was a fine mode of transportation but its dynamics, performance and handling never quite matched its looks.
So Audi debuted a second-gen car, which looked even sharper, while still keeping its bubbly design. It managed to be more modern and more stylish. And it was made from more aluminum than before, making it lighter and more dynamic. It handled better, was faster and was the first generation to spawn the Audi TT RS. While the first ever TT RS was a good car, it also failed to live up to its looks and its name. It was quick and decently fun but it was never the precision instrument its design made it out to be.
Now, though, this third-gen Audi TT is finally a really good car. Based off of VW Group’s MQB platform, it’s lighter than ever and more dynamic, too. It actually has sharp steering and is surprisingly fun to drive. But the real special bit about this new third-gen TT is the RS version. While the first one was a bit of a swing and a miss, this new Audi TT RS is a little fireball of a car. Its 400 hp 2.5 liter five-cylinder engine is one of the most thrilling on the market and its performance is better than the first-gen Audi R8 V8’s. It’s a seriously good performance machine.
This look back on the Audi TT is interesting and it shows how far the model has come. It went from being a quirky coupe alternative to something genuinely good to drive.