Believe it or not, the Audi TT is 25 years old next year.
In that time, the two-door coupé (and, to a lesser extent, the convertible) has become one of the German car maker’s most recognisable models thanks to its Bauhaus-like design, which seemed revolutionary at the time of its launch.
The TT was initially a concept designed by Freeman Thomas in 1995, before world-renowned automotive designer (and Autocar’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner) Peter Schreyer brought the sketches to life for the production version.
Like the Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia of the time, it was based on the underpinnings of the fourth-generation Volkswagen Golf. However, its eye-catching looks ensured it stood out against the Volkswagen Group’s run-of-the-mill hatchbacks.
The groundbreaking interior, designed by Romulus Rost, was equipped with high-quality metal air vents and rotary controls and plush leather seats. It also offered an excellent driving environment.
So how did the TT stand out on the road? Its engines were key: it came with a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol with a choice of 178bhp and 222bhp, before a 148bhp unit became the entry point into the range.
A 247bhp 3.2-litre VR6 engine joined the line-up in 2003 and the group’s new dual-clutch automatic transmission provided rapid gearchanges and refined cruising. Another compelling draw was its sprightly 0-62mph time of 6.4sec.
Even though it didn’t quite possess the ability of an out-and-out sports car, we still thought it was one of Audi’s most engaging models for years. We called it a “handling sensation” that was “more alive than any Audi” since the original Audi Quattro. High praise, indeed.
We’ve come across a bit of a gem in the classifieds – a 3.2-litre V6 model from 2003 with 85,000 miles on the clock and a full service history for £3500. It appears to have been well looked after, with custom, dent-free alloys and undamaged bodywork. Go on: treat yourself.
Ssangyong Turismo, £12,200: With a vast cabin and ample head room, the seven-seat Turismo may seem like good value. This car comes in mid-range EX spec, with heated leather seats, rear parking sensors and privacy glass, but even those handy features can’t distract from its slow steering, poor wheel control and a 0-62mph time of almost 14sec.
Verdict: Leave it
Alpine GTA, £9500: The Alpine GTA is a fine example of a rare and exciting V6-driven sports car. This 1989 example is one of just over 40 left on UK roads and appears to have been well looked after by its current keeper, having been dry-stored and not driven in the wet. It has a comprehensive history and 100,000 miles on the clock. Not bad for £9500.