Early on, managing editor Amy Skogstrom unwittingly set off a debate in our logbook with this comment: "I wonder if perhaps they haven't carried the interior design theme--round aluminum pieces with exactly eight indents--a little too far. I count eighteen of them." Another driver agreed and claimed that there were actually twenty-four such circular elements.
"Who cares about the alloy theme?" retorted Gillies. "Just be thankful you can step into a car and feel and look at details again. The TT's interior is far more stylish than an Aston's, Jaguar's, or Porsche's, and the car costs far less." Lorio then weighed in with his usual candor: "I can't believe people are complaining because the interior has a styling theme. Your Lumina is ready." Ouch.
Regardless of how many circles and indents decorate the cabin, there were only two seats that anyone wanted to sit in, and they weren't the little fold-down ones next to the trunk. Instead, we used the rear seats for "shopping bags, CDs, a road atlas, and brown cinnamon Pop-Tarts," in Brennan's words. The seats fold down to create a flat cargo space, with plenty of room not only for college students' gear but also for that of real-world folks who no longer travel light.
The TT was quite reliable, but there were a few glitches, including a whine in the turbo under full boost that was traced to a defective connecting flange in the middle section of the muffler. Eventually, the (excellent when functioning) seat heaters worked only intermittently, so Audi replaced the switches. And, at 30,951 miles, the transmission's computer produced a fault code during a routine diagnostic check. Although there were no discernible problems with transmission performance, the dealer installed a new computer and billed Audi of America $850.
Audi is leading a resurgence of automotive design, but at the end of our year with the TT, it was clear that it's not simply a styling exercise; it's a real car. It's good to drive, practical and economical, and visually appealing, whether you have a front- or all-wheel-drive model, the 180 or 225 engine, a coupe or a roadster. Like most attractive people and things, the TT's not perfect, but it's a privilege to spend time with it.