Northwest NEWS

March 19, 2001




TEST DRIVE - 2001 AUDI TT Coupe & Roadster

Stylin' is the only way to describe driving the 2001 Audi TT. High style and power are wrapped into one when you drive this remarkable sports car.
   The TT has its own distinct design. It is compact with a rounded body and such a unique shape that it makes people stop and take notice. First built in 1995 as a concept car, it was only available as a coupe until this year when the roadster model became available. The design, road feel and sports car sound all equal a sports car lovers dream.
   I test drove an aviator gray pearl coupe with an ebony leather interior a few weeks ago , and then last week drove a desert green roadster with grass green leather interior and a green cloth top. You can get used to this car very easily.
   Buyers have the choice of two different engines in either the coupe or roadster. My coupe was powered by the 1.8L 225 hp 4-cylinder turbo-charged, five-values per cylinder engine with direct ignition, two in-line intercoolers and electronic turbo boost regulation. The 225 hp has maximum torque of 207 lbs.ft between 2,200 and 5,500 rpm. The six-speed manual transmission featuring synchronized reverse gear is standard with 225 hp engine.
   My roadster came with the 1.8L 180 hp DOPHC turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with direct ignition, intercooler, five-values per cylinder engine with direct ignition, intercooler and electronic turbo boost regulation. The 180 hp has 173 lbs. ft of torque between 1,950 and 4,700 rpm.
   The TT has excellent traction, immediate power, great stability and turns tightly, just like you want from a sports car. The quattro all-wheel drive features an electro-hydraulicallly controlled torque distribution system designed especially for the TT. The quattro system is able to have the car respond to changes in the road condition by sensing the difference in agles of rotation of the shafts connecting the front and rear axles.
   This car is different from all others.The TT has a narrow windshield and narrow side windows. You are hunkered down for the drive, but can easily see. The three-spoke leather covered steering wheel sets the interior design tone. All the controls and displays are in black and matte aluminum. In order to adjust the heat you press a rotary knob on the dash, which pops out and is marked with a ring of illuminated red dots. You turn the knob to adjust the temperature, which is displayed digitally. An added benefit is the electronic climate control with a dust and pollen filter. The display also allows you to choose to see the outside temperature. The gauges are backlit with an automatic brightness control. The front seats are heated with individual rotary controls that have a ring of illuminated dots that show up as you turn the knob.
   The round aluminum air outlets and controls and leather padded support struts add to the "retro" look. There is a stainless steel grated left foot rest.
   On the roadster there is a nifty electrically retractable glass windbreak that is shaped to follow the outlines of the roll-over bars.
   Front and side airbags are standard for both the driver and passenger sides.
   My test models came with a optional 4-channel 175 watt amplifier Bose® sound system.The hatchback-type trunk lid lifts up for 13.8 cu. ft. of luggage space.
   The TT stands for Tourist Trophy, a car and motorcycle race that was first held in 1905 on the Isle of Man. The race became legendary for difficulty, performance and the personalities that took part.