This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
When the pill bug on four wheels known as the Audi TT entered its second generation for 2008, buyers interested in the 200-hp turbocharged four-cylinder had to settle for front-wheel drive only. In a comparison test of $35,000 sports coupes that year, the second-gen TT finished in second place behind a Mazda RX-8 and ahead of a Nissan 350Z and a Ford Mustang Shelby GT. Our gripes were few, but we did place some of the blame on the TT's nose-heavy dynamics, front tires that have to fight for grip, and relatively high price. Despite its aluminum-intensive structure (Audi claims the lightweight alloy makes up nearly 70 percent of the car), we callously called it a Volkswagen GTI wrapped in a sexy skin.
Until 2009, getting Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system in the new TT required stepping up to the pricier (by roughly $5000) and heavier 250-hp, 3.2-liter V-6. According to our testing, a six-speed manual TT 3.2 Quattro hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, which is 0.1 second slower than the 2.0T front-driver fitted with the S tronic dual-clutch automated manual. Quarter-mile times were nearly the same, with the six-cylinder squeezing out a 14.5-second run at 97 mph versus the four-cylinder's 14.6 at 97. We enjoyed the exhaust note of the narrow-angle V-6 and its smooth characteristics, but the price premium, especially considering the identical performance numbers, was difficult to justify. What we really wanted was a TT with all-wheel drive and the fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbo-four.
Ask and You Shall Receive
For 2009, Audi has granted our wish and is now offering a Quattro four-cylinder TT for $38,125, or $2100 more than the front-drive version. With the exception of the 265-hp TTS, the all-wheel-drive TT 2.0T is the quickest variant we've tested thus far. Acceleration to 60 mph took 5.7 seconds, and the quarter-mile was dispatched in 14.4 seconds at 96 mph. We were a bit surprised by this TT's quickness, as the Quattro is 250 pounds heavier than the front-driver and has the same horsepower and gearing. We'd guess that the weight gain is offset by the S tronic's launch-control system that elevates engine revs and then dumps the clutch automatically. In the front-driver, the result of a hard launch is a moment of wheelspin before the tires hook up; with all-wheel drive, the TT simply bolts forward without drama. Other than the tidier launches and lack of front wheelspin, the TT 2.0T Quattro is virtually identical to the front-driver. Even with the extra weight and friction of the Quattro system, the TT's deft sports-car reflexes remain intact, as do its impressively strong brakes and tenacious skidpad grip. We got respectable fuel economy of 23 mpg. With 60 percent of its weight over the front wheels, the TT still has the predictable handling balance of a front-driver, but the all-wheel drive helps it power out of corners without having to constantly hunt for traction.
The Proper Balance
Now that the TT offers all-wheel drive with the 200-hp turbo four, it feels less like the GTI and more like the more powerful and far dearer TTS. With the exception of being just a little slower off the line, the TT 2.0T provides nearly the same handling and driving experience. And 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds is still plenty quick to be interesting. If we were spending our own money, we'd probably pocket the $8000-plus difference and opt for the 2.0T Quattro over the TTS.
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 5.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.7 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 26.1 sec
Street start, 5-60 mph: 6.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.4 sec @ 96 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 160 ft
C/D observed: 23 mpg
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