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2015 vs. 2016 Audi TT: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2016

Although the 2016 Audi TT may not look too different from its predecessor, it's been thoroughly updated compared to last year's model. And it hasn't received just a minor update but a full redesign, with lots of changes to distinguish it from the outgoing edition.

But what exactly is new? And is the latest TT worth a price premium over the 2015 or a certified pre-owned version? To help you answer that question, we're taking a close look at all the differences between last year's TT and the all-new 2016 version.

Exterior

There's no denying that the new TT's overall look is largely similar to its predecessor's. Indeed, the two cars share roughly the same profile, a design that has been unique to the TT since its initial launch at the end of the 1990s. But the new model has been sharpened with a more angular grille, more aggressive headlights and a more modern look in back. While you might need to see the new model parked next to the old one in order to really notice the changes, there's no doubt that the TT has received some exterior updates.

Interior

Changes to the TT are far more drastic on the inside. The small sports car's cabin has been thoroughly modernized for 2016, touting fully redesigned features just about everywhere you look, from the climate vents to the stereo and the climate controls, as well as the steering wheel's shape and size. The new TT also offers improved material quality -- not that we thought the old one was bad. And then there's our favorite new feature: an LCD screen in the gauge cluster that offers both a cool, high-tech look and a functional design. Indeed, while the 2016 TT offers only minor updates on the outside, it more than makes up for it with thorough changes to the interior.

Mechanicals

Both the new TT and the old model are offered in two varieties: a standard version dubbed only the TT and a high-performance variant called the TTS. Both models see mechanical updates for 2016.

In the TT, the outgoing model's 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is upgraded to produce 220 hp. As in the 2015 TT, the 2016 model comes standard with all-wheel drive and a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The TTS receives a bigger power bump. While last year's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder remains, it's now up to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, a big increase from the outgoing model's 265 hp and 258 lb-ft. Once again, the TTS comes standard with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Features & Technology

The TT makes a lot of changes to its roster of features and equipment for 2016. We've already noted a few -- like the excellent new LCD screen in the gauge cluster -- but changes go much deeper, with updates including a new touchpad controller for the infotainment system, Bluetooth Audio, front parking sensors, a neck-heating system for the convertible, keyless access with push-button starting and more. Simply put, if you're a technophile, you'll probably be disappointed with the old TT, which hadn't received a thorough overhaul in a while. Meanwhile, you'll find exactly what you're looking for with the 2016 model.

Driving Experience

On the road, the latest TT is vastly improved compared to the outgoing model. In fact, what was once considered to be more of a style-focused entrant into the compact convertible segment has now morphed into one of the best-driving cars of this type, right up there with the Porsche Boxster and now ahead of the BMW Z4. The latest TT is sharp, quick, perfectly balanced and tremendous fun to drive, holding the road as well as just about any modern performance car.

With that said, the 2016 TT still carries over a few issues from the previous year. Coupe or convertible, visibility remains mediocre -- likely the reason why Audi included parking sensors in front and in back on this year's version. Additionally, the ride seems a little rougher than some competitive vehicles. And some of us still believe a tiny, corner-carving roadster like this should offer a stick shift, even if it's an extra-cost option. With that said, none of these items would prevent us from buying a TT, though we might think twice about buying the old model after getting a little seat time behind the wheel of the 2016.

Safety

Because of its low volume, the Audi TT is not crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As for safety features, the small car offers only what you'd expect: anti-lock brakes, front-side airbags, parking sensors, a backup camera and a blind spot monitor. While that isn't an especially impressive list of safety features, it's still better than the 2015, which offered no backup camera, no blind spot monitor and no front parking sensors.

Conclusions

Don't be fooled by the relatively slight updates to its appearance: The 2016 Audi TT is a totally new animal compared to the outgoing model, and it's a lot better. It offers a heavily modernized interior, dramatically updated technology, improved safety features, more conveniences and -- most importantly -- a far more enjoyable driving experience. Unless budget is a huge concern, we highly recommend splurging on the 2016 model instead of opting for its predecessor.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 vs. 2016 Audi TT: What's the Difference? - Autotrader