If you’re looking for information on a newer Audi TT/TTS, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Audi TT/TTS Review
The 2018 Audi TT and TTS are for people who put aesthetics on the same high level as driving pleasure. It’s no coincidence that the current TT’s looks evoke the Audi R8 supercar. The R8 is a fantastic machine, but way of out most people’s price range. The TT can bring some of that brilliance into the hands of more drivers.
The TT coupe is referred to as a 2+2, which means a pair of seats for normal people up front with accommodation for two elves behind them. We could put "ridiculously small back seat" in the "What We Don’t Like" section, but the TT has been in existence for around 20 years, so it’s not like it’s some big unpleasant surprise.
Over those years, the TT has gone from being a touchstone for car stylists while not holding much sway among driving enthusiasts, to something that drives quite well but is losing some design mojo in the process. With this third generation, Audi is aiming for both targets at the same time.
These premium compact sports cars come in coupe and convertible body styles, although the higher-performance TTS comes only as a hardtop.
The ultra-sporty TT RS coupe, which is all new for 2018, is reviewed separately.
What’s New for 2018?
Front-parking sensors join the rear sensors as standard equipment. The optional Technology package now includes a high-end B&O audio system. And a new S Line Competition package brings some cosmetic upgrades and a sportier suspension for the regular coupe and roadster. See the 2018 Audi TT models for sale near you
What We Like
Sharp design; sharp handling; sharp acceleration
What We Don’t
No TTS Roadster version; cup holders are small; no convenient cubby for a cellphone
Regular TT models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automated manual (it can be used just like an automatic, or the driver can get more involved with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters; Audi calls this S Tronic) and all-wheel drive is standard (as always, Audi calls this Quattro).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving for both the coupe and the slightly heavier convertible.
The TTS has the same engine, but output is boosted to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is also the same and fuel consumption is 23 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Audi TT comes in coupe or 2-seater convertible (Roadster) form. The TTS is available solely as a coupe.
The TT coupe ($44,925) has 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting, automatic rear spoiler, dual-exhaust tailpipes, heated windshield-washer nozzles, keyless entry/ignition, selectable driving modes, automatic climate control, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors front and rear, heated front seats, leather/simulated suede (Alcantara) upholstery, heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror with a digital compass, a rearview camera, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, 50/50 split/folding rear seats, ambient LED cabin lighting, a storage drawer under the front passenger seat, Bluetooth and a 9-speaker audio system with satellite radio, two USB ports, two SD card slots and an auxiliary input.
The TT Roadster ($49,400) sports essentially the same equipment (minus the two rear seats), but naturally has a power-operated soft top, plus a powered wind defector, rollover hoops, and a microphone in the seat belt for voice control of the infotainment system.
An optional Technology package includes navigation, blind spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and a Bang & Olufsen 680-watt/12-speaker audio system.
Other options include 19-in alloys and leather upholstery. The convertible also offers a neck-heating feature using warm air.
The TTS coupe ($53,925) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, quad-exhaust tips, sportier front seats and the more powerful engine.
The Black Optic appearance package for the TTS brings a black grille, black mirror housings and titanium-finish 20-in alloy wheels. The TTS is also eligible for the Technology package and full-leather upholstery.
Luggage space in the coupe is 12 cu ft. Those small rear seats fold to create a little more trunk area. The Roadster’s trunk measures 7.5 cu ft. So stowage space is not a TT strength, but that comes with the high-style territory. If someone really wants to play golf, perhaps they should look at another car.
Naturally, the new TT comes with mandatory safety equipment like traction control and antilock brakes. The airbag count includes protection for the front occupants’ knees as well as front-side airbags. The coupe also comes with side-curtain airbags, while the convertible has specific rollover protection.
At the time of writing this review, no version of the current TT has been crash-tested in the United States.
Behind the Wheel
It isn’t just the look of the cabin — which is great — it’s also the precision feel of the switches. Ergonomics play a big part in the experience as well. It’s easy to slide one’s knees under the flat-bottomed steering wheel and sink into the supportive sports seats. Space for the front occupants is not an issue.
There’s no center console. The infotainment system and navigation (if specced) are all part of the "virtual cockpit." This 12.3-in display is right in front of the driver, where the usual dials would be in less-advanced cars. It’s all configurable, but there’s a shortcut button on the steering wheel to snap back to the full-size speedometer and rev counter.
The TT enjoys a smooth engine, superb grip, precise handling, a relatively quiet cabin and a ride quality that’s obviously sporty but not jarring. The TTS amplifies those qualities just as it amplifies engine power. The TT and TTS are now fully qualified to compete with sporty compact coupes (and convertibles) from BMW and Porsche.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW 2 Series — The 2 Series has less visual impact than the TT, but it’s so rewarding from the driver’s seat.
2018 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class — A retractable hard top means not having to decide between a coupe or a convertible. The rear-drive-only SLC (nee SLK) also comes in 362-hp SLC 43 AMG form.
2018 Mini Cooper S — The front-drive Cooper S is quick and has more interior space to accompany its inimitable style.
2018 Porsche 718 Boxster — The base 2.7-liter Boxster is a true sports car. And it gives away few (if any) fashion points.
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S — The regular Cayman is a fine alternative to the regular TT coupe, while a potential TTS buyer really ought to check out the 295-hp Cayman S.
The biggest decision comes down to whether or not a fixed roof is preferred. If going for the coupe, give the regular TT a good test drive — it might well be powerful enough.