2008 Audi TT 3.2 Roadster Road Test Review
The 3.2-liter V-6 gives the TT the kind of power it needed all along
Audis TT finally has the kind of spunk and power its sexy profile deserves.
The 3.2 quattro with Direct Shift Gearbox has 250 high-octane horsepower, and the DSG transmission is as much fun as pretending youre a Formula One driver.
The TT roadster starts at $42,900 and the coupe at $39,900. I drove a convertible.
The 3.2-liter engine is a narrow-angle V-6. It is a spinoff of Volkswagens VR6, and in fact the VW Golf will be available with the same 3.2-liter powerplant. Audi is owned by Volkswagen. The 3.2-liter engine has gobs of torque just off idle, so youre greeted with a pleasant surge the instant you step into the throttle. Mash the gas and this gutsy engine sings its way toward redline with a raspy voice and a firm push in your back. It sprints to 60 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds.
The DSG gearbox is really a wonderful complement to this engine. Although it drives much like an automatic, it is actually a manual gearbox with twin clutches. Because it uses an integrated twin-clutch arrangement, two gears are selected at one time. When you approach a shift point, one clutch engages the next gear. When it is time for a shift, the transmission closes one clutch and opens the other, sending power to the new gear quicker than you could snap-shift a manual transmission.
If you leave the shift lever in drive, the car drives and feels like an automatic. When you want more control, however, you can move the lever to one side and shift the transmission manually with paddles on the steering wheel or by tipping the shift lever.
Unlike a Tiptronic automatic, the DSG can be overridden at any time by flicking the paddles on the steering wheel. Thats very handy when you need a sudden burst of acceleration for passing or you want to downshift quickly to exit a turn.
The fuel economy rating is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway. That is exceptional for a car of this power and performance.
Because this TT is so much quicker, it has 17-inch, ventilated front discs from the RS 4 sedan. These dual-piston units, along with bigger rear brakes, make the TT capable of stopping as quickly as it goes fast.
Audis quattro all-wheel-drive system is an ideal complement to the added power of the V-6 engine. It divides power evenly between the front and rear wheels, and by dividing the workload each wheel is able to do its work easier. Carving through corners is tons of fun, and quattro even took much of the drama out of the recent snow despite having the test cars performance tires.
Of course, anti-lock brakes and the ESP vehicle stability program play a significant role in keeping the car operating properly when adhesion is low.
The TT is one of the all-time great automotive shapes. I think the coupe looks better than the convertible that I drove.
When it made its debut some five years ago, the TT made quite a splash. Since then, many companies have improved their designs and the TT doesnt stand out quite like it did. The interior, in particular, is not as well-finished as some of Audis newer products. The instrument panel is one large casting of plastic, and while the texture is nice, it doesnt have the finely crafted look of some of Audis newer sedans. The brushed aluminum pieces which started a worldwide styling trend now look pass.
The convertible TTs body structure is not as tight and firm as the coupe. I noticed some slight body shudder over bumpy pavement.
Space has always been at a premium in the TT, and this car is no different. The trunk is positively minuscule.
Price: The base price of the test car was $42,900. Options included 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires and a Bose stereo with six-disc CD player. The sticker price was $46,640.
Warranty: Four years or 50,000 miles.
Point: Audis hottest TT is now more fun than ever thanks to the 250-horse, 3.2-liter V-6. The six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox combines the ease of an automatic with the performance of a manual.
Counterpoint: The TTs cabin doesnt look as new and well-crafted as more recent Audis, and the convertible shakes a little over bumps. Luggage space is quite small.