2000 Audi TT Quattro

Steering Wheel View

While cruising at 110 mph in the TT, spoiler firmly affixed, along Pennsylvania's I-80, New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman found the car to be "an absolute peach--rock steady, with unexpectedly splendiferous pickup when desired, all while recording close to 30 mpg." Yet, after spending most of last fall with the TT, Kitman concluded: "This is a great car, and I can't say enough about Quattro's inclement weather traction, but it's best experienced stepping out of lesser cars, rather than Porsche Boxsters, which may not have the interior loveliness but have a deliciously exotic engine and more interactive and delightful steering and chassis alertness instead." Another driver, accustomed to the cornering sharpness of his Honda Prelude Type SH, also found fault with the TT's chassis: "The TT rides rather harshly, like something that has amazing cornering prowess, but it doesn't corner particularly well, and it really only feels buttoned down up to 90 mph. Beyond that, it floats like a Camry."

Everyone liked the TT's brakes, though. "The brake pedal has a solidity denied to cars like the A4 and VW Golf that are built on this platform," said executive editor Mark Gillies. Another tester found them "terrific and easily modulated" while traversing the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Wheel View

By about 20,000 miles, the TT was suffering from road noise, which was traced to a bent left rear wheel (no doubt thanks to one of Michigan's potholes) and the seventeen-inch Bridgestone Potenza summer tires (part of the $1000 performance package), which were down to their wear bars. Oops. Just as well that we had to replace them, because, Quattro or no Quattro, they were utterly worthless if there was a single snowflake on the ground. A set of Pirelli Winter 210s took us through the remainder of winter. Even the TT's standard sixteen-inch tires are performance models, somewhat puzzling given that people might choose a TT over its competitors for its supposed all-weather traction. TT owners living in the Snow Belt have to budget an extra $500 to $1000 for winter rubber.

Driver Side Interior Door View

So much for the engine, brakes, and tires; every car has them. But no other car in the world has an interior like the TT's, and no other aspect of the car provoked as much logbook commentary as our gray leather cabin. It's still amazing to consider that this amalgam of style, simplicity, and quality materials is available in a real, live, drive-it-to-work car. And it's not just the leather, aluminum, stainless steel, and richly woven carpets that distinguish the TT's interior; the cabin architecture is itself unique. The high doors create hot-rod-like windows that one driver described as "mail slots." Gopher Tony Quiroga likened the feeling of sitting inside the TT to "wearing a baseball cap real low so the brim is right above your eyes." Senior editor Eddie Alterman was "surprised by the cabin's roominess. It's not airy--the racing-helmet effect of the greenhouse prevents that--but there's ample space." The only consistent complaints about the cabin concerned the outward view, compromised by the thick A-pillars and the sloping roofline, and the CD changer that's mounted behind the driver's seat. "What were they thinking?" asked one solo traveler.

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