Audi TT - Tourist Trophy
Audi broke the mold when its concept TT car was presented at auto shows around the globe during the mid 1990s. Named for the prestigious annual “Tourist Trophy” race held on the Isle of Man, the TT is based on the same platform which powers the Volkswagen Golf and the Skoda Octavia. Making use of anodized aluminum and a “bumper free” exterior, the TT coupe was unlike any car of its time when the first production model was released in 1998. Today, the TT continues to garner awards and win praises from Audi aficionados. If you like the current model, just wait one year and you will witness the release of a TT that goes well beyond the pale.
When talking about the TT, there are actually two models involved: one being a coupe, the other a roadster. Shortly after the coupe’s introduction in 1998, the roadster version was released the following summer. Both models were originally powered by a 20 valve inline 1.8L four cylinder engine, however in subsequent years each model received a more powerful version of that engine while a 3.2L V6 was introduced as an option during 2003. The TT is powered by its front wheels, but Quattro all wheel drive is available as well.
Audi’s success with the TT has helped it to cautiously develop its second generation model. Nearly a full decade after the original model made its debut the follow up TT is being readied and will go into production in 2007. The new TT will feature the following attributes:
Longer and Wider: Slight changes in its width and length will be incorporated into the new model. Expect more cabin room for added interior comfort.
Aluminum and Steel: The new TT will be made up of aluminum in the front and steel in the rear to encourage a better weight balance.
More Power: The 1.8L I4 engine will be replaced with a 2.0L I4 engine. The 3.2L V6 will still be offered, producing 250 horsepower. A six speed manual transmission will be standard equipment.
More Models: The coupe and roadster will be introduced back to back with a third model, possibly a wagon version, also being considered for production.
Principal competitors for the Audi TT have been the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes SLK. The TT’s styling inspiration has found its way onto several other models including the Saturn Sky, Mazda Miata, Nissan 350Z, and the Pontiac Solstice. In all, the Audi TT has reinvigorated the roadster market and it appears that the upcoming TT will expand on that theme even further. This is great news for enthusiasts who want a unique and well engineered 2+2 car as part of their driving stable.