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2021 Audi TT Review

The 2021 Audi TT is for people who put aesthetics on the same high level as driving pleasure. Any member of the TT family would look right at home in front of the swankiest hotel, yet also on twisting canyon roads frequented by enthusiasts. As well as its precise exterior and upscale interior (with no center console), the TT provides excellent driving dynamics.

It’s no coincidence that the current TT’s styling evokes the Audi R8 supercar. The R8 is a fantastic machine, but way of out most people’s price range. The TT offers some of that brilliance at a far more approachable price.

The coupe is referred to as a 2+2, which means it has 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 automotive design while not holding much sway among driving enthusiasts to something that drives quite well but has lost some design mojo in the process. With this third-generation model, Audi aims for both targets at the same time.

The TT does have a question mark hanging over it, however. As Audi and the greater VW group shift their focus toward electric vehicles and SUVs, we wouldn’t have been completely surprised if the TT failed to make it into this 2021 model year. So let’s celebrate another 12 months of the TT’s particular panache, while we still can.

The performance-oriented TTS and TT RS are reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2021?

A greater amount of standard equipment makes it into the 2021 TT range. The infotainment system now has navigation, wi-fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and a 680-watt/12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio setup.

Blind spot monitoring is now included throughout. As are S Sport front seats covered in Nappa leather.

The standard-issue 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with all-weather tires, as opposed to summer rubber. Exterior paint choices are expanded with Chronos Grey and Navarra Blue.

And the TT Roadster’s previously optional neck-warming feature (from air vents set into the seats) becomes standard. See the Audi TT models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Sharp design
  • Sharp handling
  • Sharp acceleration

What We Don’t

  • Small cup holders
  • No convenient cubby for a cellphone

How Much?

$46,500-$50,000 est. (plus destination charge)

Fuel Economy

The TT uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine developing 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual that can be used just like an automatic, or the driver can get more involved with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. All-wheel drive is standard — as always, Audi calls this Quattro.

At the time of compiling this review, there were no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel consumption estimates for the 2021 TT and TTS. But we can use 2020’s figures as a guide. Both the coupe and Roadster achieved 23 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features and Options

The 2021 Audi TT comes in coupe or 2-seater convertible (Roadster) form.

The TT Coupe (est. $46,500 plus destination charge) has 18-in alloy wheels, full LED lighting, automatic rear spoiler, dual exhaust tailpipes, heated windshield washer nozzles, keyless entry/ignition, selectable driving modes, automatic climate control, flat-bottomed steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, front/rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, heated/Nappa leather-covered S Sport front seats, heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit 12.3-in digital driver information display, 50/50 split/folding rear seats, ambient LED cabin lighting, storage drawer under the front passenger seat, wireless charging, phone signal booster, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, wi-fi, navigation, HD/satellite radio, two USB ports, two SD card slots, auxiliary input, and a 680 watt/12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system

The TT Roadster (est. $50,000 plus destination charge) comes with essentially the same equipment (minus the two rear seats) but naturally has a power-operated soft top, plus a powered wind deflector, rollover hoops, neck-warming feature, and a microphone in the seat belt for voice control of the infotainment system.

An S-line Competition package includes 19-in alloy wheels, TT RS rear spoiler, upgraded steering wheel, some cosmetic additions and a Sport mode for the Virtual Cockpit.

Luggage space in the coupe is 12 cu ft. Those small rear seats fold to create a little more cargo area. The Roadster’s trunk measures 7.5 cu ft. Don’t plan on hauling much back there, but this comes with the high-style territory. If someone really wants to play golf, perhaps they should consider another car.

Safety

All TT variants have mandatory safety equipment such as traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, rearview camera, plus front, side and knee airbags. The coupe also comes with side curtain airbags, while the convertible has model-specific rollover protection.

As a sign of its advancing age, the TT comes with only two driver assistance features, blind spot monitoring and front/rear parking sensors.

The Audi TT has not 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 sport seats. Space for the front occupants is not an issue.

There’s no center console. The infotainment system and navigation are all part of the Virtual Cockpit. This 12.3-inch 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 short-cut 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 clearly sporty, but not jarring. Although far from the youngest driver’s machine on the block, the TT is fully qualified to compete with sporty compact coupes (and convertibles) from Mazda, BMW, and Mini.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 BMW 230i xDrive — The 2 Series coupe and convertible have arguably less visual impact than their TT counterparts, but they’re so rewarding from the driver’s seat.

2021 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF — Exceptionally well balanced and offers a manual transmission, which is not available in the TT. In RF form, the MX-5 has a striking fastback design that features a power-folding hard top. All versions deploy rear-wheel drive and are generally superb.

2021 Mini Cooper S — The front-wheel-drive Cooper S is quick and has more interior space than the TT to accompany its inimitable style.

Used Porsche Cayman/Boxster — For unsurpassed driving fun, these rear-drive/mid-engined hard- or soft-tops are ideal choices. Check out Porsche’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Questions You May Ask

How old is the current generation of Audi TT?

This third generation of TT debuted in 2016.

Is the 2021 Audi TT reliable?

The TT earns fair-to-good reliability ratings. It’s still no Lexus, but Audi has been making significant strides to improve its overall reputation for long-term reliability.

Is the 2021 Audi TT a safe car?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the Audi TT. It does come with a full complement of airbags, though, and is based on VW’s Golf platform, which does extremely well in most crash tests. However, unlike the BMW 2 Series, the TT lacks advanced driver aids such as automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control.

Autotrader’s Advice

Future classic? It seems a waste to acquire a 2021 TT and leave it in the garage hoping it will eventually go up in value. It’s too good-looking, too thrilling, and ought to be enjoyed. For anyone serious about buying a new Audi TT, act now. And don’t worry about resale values, they hold up almost as well as a Porsche Cayman. Find an Audi TT for sale

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