For most cars, styling is just another aspect of the overall package, but the 2015 Audi TT is all about drawing stares. From its flashy LED accent lights to its Porsche-like rear haunches, the TT cuts a striking figure. The interior, too, is pleasing to the eye, especially with the available baseball-glove leather upholstery.
Naturally, you'll want to know whether there's substance behind it all. Well, that depends on how picky you are. Fans will point to the TT's energetic turbocharged engine, standard all-wheel drive and nimble handling. Foes will retort that the TT's platform is closely related to that of the Volkswagen Golf, so it's not a real sports car (whatever that means).
We can see both sides, but there's no doubt that the 2015 Audi TT looks good enough to clinch a sale on appearance alone. Add some solid fun-to-drive points to that equation, and we'd say that the 2015 TT is sitting pretty despite its advancing age.
What's New for 2015?
The 2015 TT upgrades to standard heated seats.
What We Like
Distinctive looks; premium interior; standard all-wheel drive; fun to drive
What We Don't
Surprisingly pricey; iPod connectivity isn't standard; many rivals offer more power and handling sharpness
The TT is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The drivetrain features Quattro all-wheel drive and a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
Fuel economy is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway for both body styles, which isn't stellar for a relatively lightweight car with 4-cylinder power.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Audi TT coupe and convertible (called the Roadster) are each offered in a single well-equipped trim level.
The coupe ($41,245) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, S-line sport exterior trim, xenon headlamps with LED accents, fog lights, a power-retracting rear spoiler, heated power front seats with adjustable lumbar support, extended leather/Alcantara upholstery, a 3-knob climate system with automatic temperature control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with shift paddles, voice controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a 12-speaker Bose audio system with SD-card compatibility, an auxiliary input and satellite radio.
The Roadster ($44,245) deletes the coupe's vestigial rear seats and adds a power-operated soft-top.
Notable options include the Navigation package (comprising Audi's 6.5-in Multi Media Interface screen, a DVD-based navigation system, iPod connectivity and rear parking sensors), Nappa leather upholstery, baseball-glove-style leather upholstery and 19-in wheels with summer performance tires.
The TT coupe technically has a back seat, but it's one of the least useful of its kind. We'd probably leave it folded down most of the time to take advantage of the coupe's hatchback convenience and 24.7 cu ft. maximum cargo capacity (compared to 13.1 cu ft. behind the rear seats). The Roadster has only two seats and a trunk capacity of 8.8 cu ft.
As for the Roadster's soft-top, it raises and lowers quickly, and Audi says that the top can be operated at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. The Roadster also comes with a power-operated wind deflector.
The 2015 Audi TT comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags (front, front-side, front-knee).
Behind the Wheel
Our interior evaluation of the TT revealed top-notch materials and an intimate, cockpit-like driving position that's enhanced by the driver-ward cant of the central control panel. The front seats provide satisfying lateral support in corners, a welcome departure from Audi's norm. Although the TT is a tiny car, we've found that tall folks have no problem getting comfortable behind the wheel, thanks in part to the tilt-telescopic steering wheel and the standard power height adjustment for the driver's seat.
The wheel has a cool, race-inspired flat-bottom design, and behind it are a classic analog tachometer and speedometer rendered in Audi's distinctive font. Ergonomics are surprisingly sound: The climate controls, notably, eschew Audi's typical 2-knob digital setup in favor of a simpler 3-knob setup that actually lets you adjust the fan speed without going through an extra step or two.
The TT's 2.0T engine delivers enthusiastic acceleration whenever you goose the throttle. The automated manual transmission is even more impressive, upshifting instantaneously and downshifting smoothly thanks to precise rev-matching. Of course, there are much faster cars available for similar coin, but no one would ever accuse the TT of being slow.
On winding roads, the TT may not be a hardcore performance car, but it's pretty fun to drive anyway. Grip from the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is tenacious, and the engine and transmission complement the chassis nicely. Predictably, the ride is firm, but it's never harsh, and the optional magnetic dampers make the TT even suppler. If you're drawn to the TT's unique sense of style, you'll probably be quite pleased with how it drives.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW 2 Series -- New for 2015, the rear-wheel-drive 2 Series is more of a wallflower than the TT, but it's also more rewarding from the driver's seat.
MINI Cooper S --The redesigned Cooper S is quicker than ever, and it's equipped with more interior space without losing that inimitable MINI style.
Porsche Boxster -- The base 2.7-liter Boxster is a true sports car, and with its muscular new body, it gives up few, if any, fashion points.
We think the TT coupe's fastback profile is a big part of the car's aesthetic appeal, so we'd skip the Roadster and get the coupe instead. Either way, we'd want the optional 19-in wheels; the TT just doesn't look quite right without them.