Currently reading: Buy them before we do: second-hand picks for 31 January
Audi's light-footed TT 240 Sport quattro can be had for just £7200 - check it's been fed the right oil and you're good to go

Tough, timeless and great to drive, the Mk1 Audi TT is a terrific used buy. There are many variants but one of the most interesting is the 1.8 T Sport quattro, launched in 2005.

Its four-cylinder engine made 237bhp and 236lb ft, which is impressive by any standards, but a weight-loss regime stripped out the rear seats, climate control, parcel shelf and spare tyre to save 50kg, taking the weight to 1390kg. Not quite feather-light but enough for 0-62mph in 5.9sec.

Audi didn’t stop there. It relocated the battery to the back of the car to improve weight distribution, fitted stiffened and lowered suspension and a rear strut brace and installed a couple of hard-shell Recaros. As a final aesthetic flourish, the roof was painted black.

9 Audi tt quattro coupe stationary side

New it cost £29,995, but today the most expensive are around half that while the cheapest we saw was £3995 for one with 168,000 miles. Somewhere in the middle at £7200 is a rather fetching 2006-reg example with 81,000 miles. The private-sale car, which has been kept in a heated garage, has a full service history and is finished in red and black. It’s had a new cambelt and water pump, and a new clutch, says the seller.

Were we seriously interested, as with all TTs we’d check it’s been fed a healthy diet of 5W-30 fully synthetic oil and that the Haldex traction unit has had fresh oil every 20,000 miles. Unless it’s been repaired, rust isn’t usually an issue with aluminium-bodied Mk1s. Instead, we’d check the suspension is bearing up along with the interior, which can take a hammering from those stiff springs and dampers.

8 Smart brabus stationary side


Read our review

Car review
The third generation Audi TT
The first generation Audi TT was launched in 1998

Can the juggernaut sports coupé roll on to even greater success, or has Audi's icon lost its edge against more purpose-built machines?

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Smart Fortwo 1.0 Brabus Cabriolet, £4000: Back when Smart looked like the future came the hot 88bhp Brabus. It could hit 62mph in 9.9sec and, to handle all the poke, the dampers and springs were made firmer. Our find is a 2008-reg with 47,000 miles.

7 Honda prelude stationary side

Honda Prelude 2.2 VTi Motegi auto, £5999: The Prelude Motegi used a detuned engine from the Accord Type R. Add stiffened suspension and four-wheel steering and it’s an overlooked classic. Our find, a rare manual, is a mint 1999-reg with 142,000 miles.

6 Wildkat jaguar e type replica stationary side

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Wildkat Jaguar E-Type replica, £25,000: Real E-Types start at £35,000, so this Wildkat replica has its charms. But for a wider rear end (to take an XJ6 rear axle), the GRP-bodied car looks like the real thing. Around 150 were built in Goodwood from 1984 to 1997.

Citroen 2cv stationary side

Citroën 2CV, £3950: Rusty snails abound but this 2CV has a new floor, chassis, sills and toe board, plus new brake pipes and exhaust and a refurbed engine, but it needs some final cosmetic work to make it perfect. The 1987-reg example has done 75,000 miles.

Auction watch

Mercedesbenz ml55 amg stationary side

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Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG: Of course you shouldn’t touch a £3000 AMG, especially when it’s a first-gen ML, but, like peering over the edge of a cliff, we can’t help ourselves. This one, a 2001-reg with 122,000 miles, sold at auction for £3074. Someone had faith. Perhaps it was the service history (there are 14 stamps in the book from 2002 to 2017) plus additional workshop receipts. Assuming it’s in rude health, the 5.4-litre V8 should still be making 342bhp – enough to launch the 2300kg SUV from 0-62mph in 6.8sec. Add four-wheel drive and stacks of creature comforts and someone may just have bagged a bargain. Or not.

Future classic

3 Bmw m2 competition stationary side

BMW M2 Competition, £37,990: There are M cars and then there are M cars. The M2 Competition of 2018 falls into the latter camp thanks to its tweaked suspension, front strut brace and 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine from the BMW M3 and BMW M4 (it’s detuned slightly to 404bhp but still makes 406lb ft). Our find, an approved used 2018-reg with 12,000 miles, has the rare manual gearbox, too. Seven-speed DCT versions are plentiful but in years to come it’ll be the manual that enthusiasts will pay top dollar to own. Reserve yours now.

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me a big seven-seater with a boot to match for £15,000.

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2 Cadillac escalade esv stationary side

Cadillac Escalade ESV, £12,500

1 Mercedes benz gl500 stationary side

Mercedes-Benz GL500, £13,500

Mark Pearson: I think this 2006 GL500 may well be the perfect family car. First of all, it’s got the seven seats and huge boot that John so specifically asked for. Added to that, there’s all that Mercedes-Benz luxury and quality, and then there’s a whopping petrol V8 to waft you from 0-60mph in just 6.5sec. Only 46,000 miles, too. It also has a wonderful get-out-of-my-way look that’ll come in handy if you’re running late on the school run. What you got, Max?

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Max Adams: Hmm, for a grand less you could get a year-newer Cadillac Escalade ESV. My monster family hauler is even bigger than yours and has a much more accommodating boot – even with all seven seats in place. I’ve also got four screens to play with, which is more than most domestic dwellings.

MP: But its steering wheel is on the wrong side! And it might trump my Mercedes for outright size, but mine has presence. Yours simply has no class…

MA: SUV buyers aren’t looking for class. They’re looking for size. Even my lazy and under-stressed V8 engine has more swept capacity. Also, who cares that the wheel is on the wrong side? It just means that it’ll be easier to see the kerb and avoid damaging my gargantuan alloy wheels.

MP: What a lovely attempt, Max. Now go away.

Verdict: Forget the three-pointed star: I’m taking the Escalade.


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xxxx 31 January 2020

TT's are pretty tough

Actually most of the body was galvanised steel not Alumninium. As been mentioned thinglike the Pod go wrong but can be reapired for £130, hardly a deal breaker.  But having said that all 20 year old performance cars go wrong but unlike most 200ps+ 4WD ones TT's are cheap to repair as they use plenty of Golf parts (Front discs £45, pads £30).

The important expensive bits rust free body, electrics, engine, gearbox will do 150k+ miles. It's the smaller cheap bits that are the problem.

It's endurance is borne out by way of plenty £2,500 run around cars doing 180k+ miles. For that reason it'll be a long time before their value goes up. 

Sundym 31 January 2020

Audi tt tough ?

I seem to remember my mk1 225 while undeniably beautiful was fairly undistinguished and sometimes odd to drive with a slow acting haldex system , and had more niggles than any car I've owned , be it instrument pod failure , dodgy electrics , never ending suspension issues , corroded brake pipes ( at 3 years old!) I'm afraid the list goes on . Nothing was ever cheap to fix as it all had an Audi premium.. I'd still buy one as a future classic but go in with my eyes wide open .