Audi has done a fine job evolving the original TT into something both contemporary and unique. Design elements from the 1920s Bauhaus style remain, but the 2010 TT is sharper than the original, with more angular lines and crisper edges. It remains a car for those seeking something different.
At 164.5 inches long and 72.5 inches wide, the TT fits right in the heart of the premium sports car segment. It's longer and wider than the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK, but more than six inches shorter than the Porsche Boxster and Cayman.
The TT's black, single-bar grille creates a strong family resemblance with the sedans in Audi's lineup. The side of the car features a character line that connects prominent wheel flares.
The TT coupe's graceful roof resolves into a rounded rear end. Audi has chosen a traditional soft top for the TT roadster, rather the convertible hardtop many manufacturers have adapted.
The roadster's power top is extremely easy to use. There are no latches, so it opens in 12 seconds and closes in 14 at the touch of a button. Better still, it can be operated at up to 30 mph, in the event the weather changes suddenly. Both body styles have a spoiler that pops up at 75 mph and retracts at 50 mph. Another button allows the driver to deploy or retract the spoiler at any time.
Below the TT's surface, Audi Space Frame (ASF) architecture is intended to be both light and strong at the same time. The space frame is made of cast, extruded and stamped steel and aluminum components, as opposed to a traditional unibody structure that has only steel stampings. The coupe's frame is 69 percent aluminum and the roadster's is 58 percent aluminum. The roadster is reinforced behind the seats to make up for the rigidity lost due to the lack of a fixed roof. The performance-honed TTS model makes even more extensive use of aluminum in suspension and body components to further reduce weight.
The Audi TT's interior pleases in nearly every respect. The design is classic and contemporary at once, and quite attractive. Finish quality is first rate, and there is a surprising amount of space in the TT, compared to many cars of its type. The only significant interior change for 2010 is the addition of real-time traffic tracking to the optional navigation system.
Sports cars are often difficult to enter and exit. Getting into the TT requires a step down, but it's not extreme and, once inside, the TT has ample room for most drivers. A 6-foot, 7-inch friend said he fit well in the TT, but found BMW's Z4 to be cramped. The front seats are comfortable and have nice bolstering to help keep occupants in place in fast turns. Visibility is good to most angles, but there is a notable blind spot to the right rear in coupes and in roadsters with the top up.
The TT cockpit is highlighted with real aluminum trim, and put together nicely. The tolerances are tight, and the plastics are both sturdy and soft to the touch. The leather upholstery is attractive, and the Prestige package makes it even more so, with ultra smooth, soft Silk Nappa leather seats and a leather-covered instrument pod. Audi offers numerous interior color options, as well as the Baseball-Optic leather package that features a Madras Brown color and thick stitching inspired by baseball gloves. It's a TT tradition, and pretty swell.
The gauges are trimmed in silver with black faces. Trip computer information is displayed between them. All of the controls are within arm's reach, and they adjust with precision. Without the optional navigation system, the controls are easy to find and operate. With the navigation system, however, the TT gets a version of Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI). This system absorbs the audio controls, and while it's better than the point-and-click systems used by some other luxury car builders, it still adds steps to simple tasks like changing the radio station. MMI might appeal to techies, but most of us would prefer something less complicated.
The rear seat in the coupe is too small for all but small children, and even they may complain. It's really best used for packages and briefcases, and that isn't a bad thing. Cubby storage is limited in the forward part of the TT's cockpit. Neither the coupe nor the roadster has enough interior storage for small items.
Cargo space, on the other hand, is quite good for this class. There is plenty of room for luggage in the coupe, even with the rear seats up, and with them down cargo capacity expands from 13.1 to 24.7 cubic feet. Folding the rear seats forward creates a flat load floor and a lot more room than one finds in a BMW Z4 or Mercedes SLK. Cargo space in the TT roadster is tighter overall, with 8.83 cubic feet. The convertible top doesn't intrude much on trunk space, however, and a pass-through is available to accommodate longer, narrow items.
The roadster's soft top has three layers: the sturdy outer material, with a glass rear window, a middle layer of thick foam and an attractive headliner available in multiple colors. As such, the soft top provides almost as much noise and temperature insulation and the coupe's fixed metal roof.