The 2016 Audi TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic is a capable and competent coupe; it has all-wheel drive traction, along with all the power one would be able to use on public roads. But is it fun to drive?
What is it?
The compact Audi TT AWD coupe is in a class of its own. Its closest competitor may be the larger Audi A5 coupe. Low, wide, and built for a firm command of the road, the TT exemplifies Audi’s design capability. It is also, in the case of our test car, a handsome car. In profile and from the back, it is downright good-looking.
The front is dominated by a black plastic grille that seems too sedate for a pricey sports coupe, but maybe Audi buyers want sedate. Compared to the Lexus RC 350 and BMW 4 Series, this coupe is smaller, not based on a rear-wheel drive car, and has no usable back seat. It is really a two-seater with a storage area shaped like a seat in back.
Let’s look at the facts and the feelings we got from this car, and then we will tell you clearly if it is fun.
Pricing and trims
Audi offers three separate TTs. The first two are the TT Coupe we test here and the TTS Coupe which offers a higher level of performance. The third is the convertible TT Roadster, which has the same drivetrain as the TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic we tested (don’t blame us for the oddly spelled name).
The base TT starts at about $44K. The higher performance TTS starts at about $53K, and the TT Roadster starts at about $48K.
Our 2016 TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic had an MSRP of $50,600 and included upgraded seats, wheels, sound system and had Nav. These options swayed our opinion of the TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic, so even though a lower cost model is available, we think the options and higher cost of our test vehicle made a significant difference.
Being an extremely low-volume model, neither IIHS, nor NHTSA has tested the current Audi TT. Our test vehicle lacked forward collision prevention and auto braking, and along with that key safety feature, it was missing adaptive cruise control. These now common systems are available on mainstream models priced around $20K. How a luxury model can lack them is a mystery to this auto tester.
The back-up camera was unique and very helpful. The TT is not as easy to see out of in back as most vehicles, and the back-up camera displaying in the gauge cluster was just about essential.
Performance is this vehicle’s reason for being, and the TT delivers – it has more than enough thrust to shoot you forward. Although 220 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbo may not sound like much compared to V8 Camaros that can offer more than double that power at this same price point, the engine in this coupe has plenty of torque at low RPMs.
With its all-wheel drive system, the TT has the traction to get every pony to the ground. Our test included multiple rainy days and the TT never slipped once. Like all VW products, Audi is tuning the TT to behave like a diesel. It muscles itself off the line with its torque, but unlike a diesel, the power kicks you in the seat of the pants once underway.
Turbocharged engines don’t have the same instant response that normally aspirated (non-turbo) engines can offer, but that’s not always a problem. If you plan to drive the TT aggressively, it will be there for you. Floor the gas from a stop and it has only an instant of lag before it shoots you forward. As boost builds, the sensation of power comes on quickly.
The TT offers multiple drive modes, including the ability to individually set your favorite parameters. The transmission also has an “S” mode that is accessed and canceled by simply pulling the gear shift lever back one notch from “D.” This is hands-down my favorite thing about this car.
The S tronic part of this vehicle’s model name refers to the automatic, six-speed, dual clutch transmission (DCT). The DCT behaved well in low-speed moves in and out of the garage, unlike some DCTs we have tested in past years. The point of a DCT in a sports car is that the shifts are super-fast, and the driver can be involved using the paddle shifters. We loved the way the paddles responded to our commands, and the TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic is easy to drive in manual mode.
When we wanted more aggressive shifts, we simply pulled the gear selector back to the “S” position. This raises revs and holds the car at higher RPMs. Thus, throttle response is much faster, since the car is always on boost. The car also senses you slowing for turns and downshifts.
In normal cruising, the winding engine gets a little tiresome and “D” is easily selected with another pull of the gear selector. Audi really nails this part of the car. I loved being more involved and the feeling of control.
Unfortunately, the TT has no option of a manual transmission. Although I loved the DCT, it is cars like this in which a manual makes the most sense. Two manuals I have tested jump to mind – the $39K VW Golf R With DCC and the $31K VW GTI Autobahn I tested and fell in love with. Both offer performance similar to this $50K TT, though they lack the Audi’s upscale interior or low-slung exterior styling.
Ride and handling
Forget that this car is “built on a front wheel drive platform.” It doesn’t feel at all like a front wheel drive car in normal or aggressive driving on public roads. On a racetrack, we had a blast with the Golf Type R and VW GTI, which are built on a similar platform.
This TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic felt planted, and there’s very little lean in corners. The sensation is that you can’t make it slip. Is that fun? It is a matter of taste.
The ride is firm, and the rear end actually feels firmer than the front. The TT is the opposite of a Mazda Miata which leans quite a bit in turns and has lots of flex in the rear-end springs. Steering is precise, and the TT brakes like a good sports car should.
The front seats of our test vehicle were a worthwhile option. They look cool, and the power adjustment helped you get fully dialed in. These seats are supportive in hard cornering, but they don’t bear hug you in normal driving. The seat heater switches are built into the left and right air vents, a novel touch.
However, the seating position is part of why we raise the question of fun. One sits waaaayyy back in the TT. There is a lot of headliner above and in front of you, and our tester had no moonroof. The effect is like that of being in a MINI. Personally, I don’t like the enclosed feeling one bit. I prefer to be seated in such a way that I don’t see any headliner, just windshield.
Speaking of novel touches, that’s how we’d describe the rear seat. These tiny perches must have something to do with insurance, because they have very little to do with passengers. In the convertible, they are missing. They look like they would be a great place for additional cargo, or a padded perch for a pooch. The LATCH baby seat connection ports are nice to have, but we’re not sure what kind of child seat would fit back there.
A round of applause for Audi putting a spare tire in this sports car. We loved it so much we pulled back the cargo cover to let you gaze upon it. These vehicles make perfect road trip cars on holiday weekends. A spare gives one confidence when far from home driving on super-low profile tires that are unlikely to be in stock at a local tire center.
The cargo area itself is long and wide, but not very deep. It would be fine for a full load of groceries and for a week-long road trip with two peoples’ luggage. It is covered when the lid is closed for security.
Do not underestimate the importance of a spare tire and decent cargo capacity in a GT car. In the real world, these are important features to people that own these cars.
Infotainment and controls
The TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic has infotainment and controls unlike any other car I’ve tested. There is no separate screen in the dash. Everything is in the gauge cluster, which uses a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen. Being new, such a setup it is odd at first, but I will say that the screen clarity is amazing, and finding what you are looking for is not difficult.
The rotary mouse to select menus on the console works well and is intuitive. The volume and station control knob up in front and to the right of the gear selector is not, but those controls are also on the steering wheel. That little knob is for the passenger we assume.
The sound of the Bang and Olufsen audio system was truly amazing. The bass is deep and rich, and you can feel it, not just hear it. The high tones are sharp and distinct. VW and Audi have the best audio systems to my ear. And it’s optional, so make sure you get it. It costs $950.
The TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic is remarkably well executed overall. It is fast and handles great, it has awesome optional audio, and as ever, the TT modern and classy. So after some time with the car, would we call if fun? Hell yeah. The thing is, there are a lot of fun cars in the VW/Audi line we might call more fun. The GTI from VW is one of those cars, and it is a screaming bargain compared to the TT.
The TT Roadster might be the car that is the obvious fun choice. Are we out of line even asking the question about this car being fun? Read about the convertible version and then you decide.
Looking for a new or used car? Check out BestRide.com’s local search here.
2016 TT Coupe 2.0T quattro S tronic
Base price: $42,900
Price as tested $50,600, including $925 destination charge:
Technology Package: $3,250
-MMI and NAV
-Power Folding Auto Dimming Mirrors
-Parking System With Rear Camera
19-inch Wheel Package With Summer Tires $1,000
Sport Seats: $1,000
Bang and Olufsen Sound System $950
Florett Silver Metallic Paint $575
- Excellent Seats and Audio
- Takes Regular Gasoline!
- Spare Tire!
- Fun, But There Are Funner
- Enclosed Interior Feel
- Token Rear Seat