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Used Audi TT review: 1999-2012

Straight-line performance is pretty good in even the smaller engined models.

Introduced to Australia in May 1999 about a year after it first created a huge stir in Europe, the Audi TT was a hit from day one. Originally sold as a fixed-roof coupe, a TT roadster was added to the local range just 12 months later, in May 2000.

The dome-shaped styling is not only radical on the outside, but also the cabin, with its circular dial and vent theme works very well. It uses a lot of aluminium highlights as Audi is a big fan of this high-tech material.

The overall look is great and even those who have no intention of ever driving hard love the sporting ambience created within the TT. Audi TT is great fun to drive but, at least in the front-drive models, feels more like a hot-hatch than a true sports car. 

Which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because underneath that gorgeous Audi skin there lurks a Volkswagen Golf GTI. While the Golf is a fine little hatch it’s not really a pure-bred sports model. There were several tragic cases of high-speed Audi TT crashes in Europe, principally in Germany, of the earliest models. 

These were blamed on aerodynamic flaws that were exacerbated by the very short wheelbase of the Audi TT. Later models were modified in their suspension and have a rear wing to push the tail to the road at speed. The wing takes away some of the purity of the original shape of the TT. 

There had been calls for it to be a lift-up wing in the manner of a Porsche unit. But Audi says this could have been too expensive. The all-new gen-two Audi TT of November 2006 sorted out the problem of the controversial addition of the rear wing, being hidden at lower speeds and raised at moderate speeds - that is at over 120 km/h, which is regarded as a moderate speed in more enlightened countries.

This second generation Audi TT had the company’s trademark single-frame grille. A sleeker bonnet line carries into the car’s shoulders and tapers out towards the distinctive rear lights. Naturally, the domed roof, the most prominent feature of the first TT, has been retained. There are some that feel the TT lost its originality in the gen-two model, saying it had become generic rather than radical. Your call...

The original Audi TT was offered with 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines, in either light-pressure or high-pressure turbocharged format, the latter coming with the traction advantage of quattro all-wheel drive. The capacity of the four-cylinder unit was increased to 2.0 litres using a turbocharged with the second generation TT.

In December 2004, a 3.2-litre V6 was shoehorned under the bonnet of the Audi TT coupe, but not the roadster. With all the torque that entailed, the TT 3.2 has also needed Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive. A five-cylinder 2.5-litre RS engine with quattro was added to the range just in time for Christmas 2009.

Straight-line performance is pretty good in even the smaller engined models due to the TT’s relatively light weight, so don’t automatically go for the higher powered units unless you are a full-on revhead. A six-speed was used in TT quattros from their introduction in October 1999. Front-drive cars had five-speed manual gearboxes until August 2005, when a six-speed manual was introduced.

Because Audi saw the TT as being a pure sports car no automatic transmission was offered until March 2003, when a six-speed torque-converter auto was offered with the low-pressure engines. Good as it was this transmission has been somewhat upstaged in the technology stakes by the six-speed double-clutch - tagged the S tronic - used in the Audi TT 3.2 quattro.

The automated double-clutch automated-manual transmission has all the labour-saving advantages of a conventional automatic, and none of the disadvantages of power loss and higher fuel consumption. However, its characteristics at very low speeds can be variable and irritating at times. Test drive one to see what you think.

These are complex cars that should really only be worked on by professionals. However, good amateurs can tackle some of the routine maintenance work should they be so inclined. Spare parts prices aren't cheap, but are in keeping with others in this class. It’s much the same story with the cost of servicing and repairs.

Check on insurance premiums before falling too deeply in love with one of these stunningly styled German cars as premiums vary quite a bit. Your local Audi dealer may be able to offer advice. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Look for signs of previous crash repairs. A ripply finish in any of the panels, or a mismatch in paint colour from one section to the other are fairly easy to spot. If there's the slightest concern over crash repairs either get a full professional inspection, or skip that car and try to find another one.

Look at the floor of a roadster for signs of water entry. If there's the slightest cause for concern get permission from the seller to lift the carpets. Check the roadster’s roof seals correctly when it is closed and that it doesn’t have any tears or cuts, especially around the stitching.

Make sure the engine starts promptly, even when it’s stone cold. If there are any doubts try to arrange to come back first thing in the morning to have it completely cold. Gear changes should be reasonably light, but remember the gearbox is a long way from the shift lever, with a multitude of links connecting the two. This can give it a slightly spongy feel.

CAR BUYING TIP

We hear of too many people buying used cars without even going for a test drive. Crazy if you ask us, but it’s their choice...
 

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2012 $14,400 $54,670
2011 $10,800 $49,060
2010 $10,600 $33,770
2009 $9,300 $30,140
2008 $8,400 $24,090
2007 $8,300 $20,680
2006 $7,400 $17,160
2005 $7,200 $16,830
2004 $7,800 $15,620
2003 $7,800 $15,620
2002 $8,000 $15,620
2001 $8,000 $15,620
2000 $8,000 $15,620
1999 $8,000 $14,300

View all Audi TT pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$11,150
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$8,000
Highest Price
$14,300

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $8,000 – 12,430 1999 Audi TT 1999 (base) Pricing and Specs
Quattro 1.8L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $9,500 – 14,300 1999 Audi TT 1999 Quattro Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$8,000

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.