It may have been around since God was a child, but the Audi TT is still a real force to be reckoned with, especially if you’re talking used cars.
Take the latest version, the Mk3, thrilling us skinny since 2014. You can expect lively performance and eager handling, of course, but you will recoil in pleasure at the modest sticker price. Where else can you get something so suave and premium in feel for a smidgen over £10,000?
The all-turbocharged engine range is pretty straightforward. Initially, the Audi TT came with a 178bhp 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol, a 227bhp 2.0- litre four-cylinder petrol (or 306bhp in the extra-sporty TTS), a 395bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol (exclusive to the super-sporty TT RS) or a 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel, with either front or four-wheel drive.
In 2019, the TT was updated, with the diesel being dropped, the petrols revised and new nomenclature introduced. Now the line-up consists of three 2.0-litre petrols: one with 194bhp, badged the 40 TFSI, and another with 241bhp, called the 45 TFSI. The TTS remained but had its output dropped to 302bhp, while the TT RS carried on much as before.
The trim levels on standard TTs are Sport and S Line. Sport gets you xenon headlights, air conditioning, Alcantara seats, DAB radio and Bluetooth; S Line adds LED headlights.
Whichever trim you find, try to find a car that has climate control, front parking sensors and sat-nav, as these were optional when new.
The third-generation TT simply builds on the sound foundations laid by the first two, meaning it’s amazingly agile, offers some strong engines and is fast in a straight line and quick in corners. It’s easy to drive, too, and refined at low speeds, and the whole thing feels solid and durable. Indeed, it’s this classy feel that really separates it from its rivals.
Of the earlier engine options, even the smallest 1.8 TFSI has very lively performance and is great value for money. The 2.0 TFSI then provides a fine blend of effortless performance, refinement and economy, being able to crack 0-60mph in less than 6.0sec. The higher-powered 2.0 TFSI in the TTS is a belter, but it’s pricey to buy and run. The TT RS gives sensational performance (0-60mph in 3.7sec) but is actually very heavy for what it is and isn’t much fun in the corners. Alternatively, the 2.0 TDI engine is punchy, economical and surprisingly refined, so it makes a good used buy.
The interior has a high-tech and user-friendly layout, even if it doesn’t seem quite as groundbreaking now as the original did in 1999, and it’s made from sumptuous materials that wouldn’t look amiss in a luxury car.
It’s even pretty practical, with plenty of space for those up front and a decent number of storage cubbies. Adults won’t be able to fit in the back without those in front slid right up to the dash, and even then they won’t be able to sit up straight, due to the low roof. The boot, however, is easy to access via a large hatch and the back seats fold flat to increase capacity.
Need to know
Prices start at £10,000. Around £12,000 should find a clean 2016 or 2017 car. Between £18,000 and £25,000 gets a good 2018 or 2019 car with minimal mileage. Quattro versions carry a slight premium.
The 1.8 TFSI got 47.1mpg on the old NEDC test, with the 2.0 TFSI not far behind. The later 40 TFSI gets 46.3mpg on the WLTP test, the 45 TFSI 43.5mpg. The 2.0 TDI gets an excellent 60.1mpg (NEDC).
Recalls: Reported problems are few. The fuel tank could be damaged on cars made between April 2014 and May 2019. Find out from an Audi dealer if your example is affected, because it will need to have a shield installed between the bracket and the tank itself to prevent it getting damaged.
Reliability: In the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the TT finished first in the coupé class, with most reported faults being minor and relating to interior trim and non-engine electrics. Most cars were fixed in less than a week.
Insurance and servicing: Considering the sporty nature of the TT, its insurance groupings are reasonable. Servicing costs are reasonable, too, and you can opt for Audi’s fixed-price servicing for cars that are more than three years old. At the time of writing, a regular TT with an engine of 2.0 litres or smaller costs £200 for an interim service and £345 for a major one, while the TT RS is the most costly at £260 and £395.
Gearbox fluid: Make sure that if you’re buying a TT equipped with an S Tronic automatic gearbox that the fluid has been changed at the recommended 38,000-mile limit, otherwise you could be looking at an expensive gearbox replacement in the future.
2.0 TFSI 230: Our favourite engine is the earlier 2.0-litre four with 227bhp, because it proves a great blend of effortless performance, refinement and economy. Damn well turns the TT into a bit of a humdinger.
TT RS: It’s no lightweight, but by gum is it quick. The Quattro system can shuffle up to 100% of the engine’s power to the front or rear wheels as required. It sounds superb, too, thanks to that butch five-cylinder.