By Matt Degen
2016 marks the third generation of the Audi TT, a sports car available as a 4-passenger coupe, 2-seat roadster, and the even more powerful TTS coupe. Tying them together are superb turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, Audi's road-gripping quattro all-wheel drive and the cutting-edge "virtual cockpit" – an entirely digital instrument panel that relays everything from driving data to Google Earth satellite maps. As a whole, the 2016 Audi TT is a technological powerhouse and performance marvel. The Audi TT coupe and roadster compete with luxury performance cars like the BMW 4 Series and Z4, Infiniti Q60 and Porsche Boxster, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another with the handling, technology and – at least in coupe form – everyday practicality of the Audi TT.
If you want an all-wheel-drive coupe or roadster with class, style and tons of technology, you'll find all that and more in the 2016 Audi TT. With a starting price of under $44,000, the 2016 TT is actually a sensible indulgence among premium sports cars.
The Audi TT coupe and roadster are all-new for 2016. It enters its third generation with new design inside and out, cutting-edge technology such as an all-digital "virtual cockpit" instrument display, and revised quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for better handling. The also-new 2016 Audi TTS Coupe offers higher-grade performance.
Audi says its goal with the new TT was to create a true sports car. The German automaker went as far as to call it a "baby brother" to the...
... R8 supercar. We were eager to hear the 2016 TT answer, and it roared. The new Audi TT is a joy to drive on almost any road. On paper its 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine may not scream, but in the real world it's a blast. This turbocharged 4-cylinder is among the finest we've experienced. Turbo-lag is virtually nil, and this little powerplant has the gusto to fling the Audi TT from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds (5.6 for the roadster). But it's in corners where the TT shines. The quattro all-wheel-drive system is akin to a gravitational force that keeps this sports car pinned to the pavement in hairpin turns. Normal driving is equally pleasurable, even quiet and relaxed.
This is no mere digital instrument display. Powered by an NVIDIA quad-core computer processor, this 12.3-inch display harnesses serious tech horsepower to display a multitude of information at 60 frames per second. This enables the driver to keep eyes focused forward instead of having to glance sideways for, say, map directions.
This all-wheel-drive system has long been synonymous with the Audi itself, and its abilities have been proven in rally cars worldwide. Even if you're not sliding an Audi TT around a dirt track, it's easy to appreciate this system's grip in spirited drives or on slick roads during inclement weather.
The virtual cockpit is just one aspect of the TT's captivating cabin. Even the vents are impressive and elegantly simple. Climate readouts are built into the vent dials, and a twist of the housing adjusts temperature, seat heat and more. The TT's front seats offer great ergonomics. The TT Coupe (technically it's a hatchback) has two tiny rear seats. "Emergency" is the word for them, and it would have to be one for an adult to sit back there. Just fold them and take advantage of the Coupe's 25-cubic-foot cargo capacity. The TT's sun visors don't extend to fight the sun.
The all-new Audi TT is fresh yet familiar. Whether in coupe form with its sloping rear hatch door or as a roadster with a fabric roof that opens and closes in 10 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph, the 3rd-gen TT has the squat, muscular shape of its predecessor but with newly taut lines, a big trapezoidal grille and features like full LED headlights. There are nods to the original TT’s Bauhaus-inspired design: prominently rounded wheel arches and exhaust outlets that sit near the middle of the car. As with the last-gen model, the Audi TT's body is made from aluminum.
The 2016 Audi TT comes surprisingly well-equipped out the gate. Standard features include Audi's virtual cockpit digital display and MMI touch-based control system, 9-speaker/155-watt AM/FM/CD/HD Radio with two USB inputs and Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control, full LED headlights, leather interior with 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats, and rear park-assist system in lieu of a standard rearview camera. The 2016 TT Roadster features an electric wind blocker along with its power-operated top. The higher-performing 2016 Audi TTS, confined to coupe form for now, comes with magnetic ride control, 19-inch wheels, and TTS-specific exterior and interior aesthetics.
The options list is mercifully short for the new TT. We recommend the Technology package ($3,250), which adds navigation, Audi's connect 4G LTE service with Wi-Fi, the side-assist blind-spot monitoring system, and rearview camera. An audio deal comes in the form of the 12-speaker/680-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system – $950 has never sounded better. Other options include Nappa leather seating, 19-inch wheels and, on the roadster, a neck-level heating system.
The Audi TT coupe and roadster use a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. As stated in Driving Impressions, this little engine is a wonder. It rushes the Audi TT from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds and has plenty left at the top end. The Audi TTS uses the same engine, but it’s tuned to make 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That enables the 2016 TTS to blast from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. All 2016 Audi TT models come with quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) and Audi drive select, which lets you adjust the car for sportier or more relaxed driving styles. All models also use Audi's 6-speed S tronic transmission, an excellent dual-clutch automatic.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (TT coupe & roadster)
220 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (TTS coupe)
292 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
280 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/27 mpg
The 2016 Audi TT Coupe has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $43,825, while the TT Roadster begins at $47,325. The higher-performing TTS Coupe opens at $52,825. These are attractive prices considering the performance, technology and cachet a TT brings. More attractive is the fact that you can get a very well-equipped TT Coupe for around $50,000. At these prices the TT undercuts sports cars like the Porsche Cayman and Boxster and BMW Z4 and is in line with the Lexus RC350, Infiniti Q60, BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Audi TT's resale value has traditionally held up very well over the years.