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Audi TT Quattro

Audi TT Quattro Published: 30th Mar 2020 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
Audi TT Quattro
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Jeremy Walton’s bargain basement BMW Z3 served him well enough for literally pennies, but the lure of a proper trade in deal for a limited edition Audi TT quattro sport saw our man buy his first Audi. Why? It’s best that JW explains that one…

I long-listed Audi’s first TT (1996-2006) for years as a potential buy, right back to when I bought a Lotus Elise and then I sold in 2015 via a DVCA auction.

A couple of years passed before I was unexpectedly offered a remarkably cheap BMW Z3, an Individual build model with the 2-litre six-cylinder engine. I kept the BMW – one of the best buys on a price-versus low cost accessibility and fun I have ever experienced – until it was time for its 2019 MoT.

To my surprise, ‘Zed’ passed the test without comment. Pleased, I thought I might do a second year with it as my ownership had mainly featured my cheap labour reviving the soft top in black, professional assistance in uprating BMW Individual leather and refurbishing a pair of the Style 32 front alloys.

Then I put the Z3 up on a ramp

The professional who had helped me buy the Z3, monitored that thorough inspection. The estimates for repairs to motor oil and power steering hydraulic leaks, plus the inevitable growth in corrosion, amounted to a death sentence. Faults that had surged in my ownership easily surpassed what I had paid – a paltry £1000 – and must be a common occurrence with many modern classics.

So my black Bimmer was no longer valid, but because the cosmetics had improved radically during my tenure, I decided to try my luck on a dealer trade-in. I searched for an Audi TT again, but not a straightforward cheapie that has become so affordable. To regain some of the driving pleasure I had found in Lotus Land—and to retain or improve on value through long-term ownership – I targeted the limited edition TT quattro sport of 2005-6 vintage.

What’s so special about that?

A quattro sport edition TT offers a stronger identity, especially in the Recaro Pole Position race-seats that I selected, rather than optional Comfort [production] seating. Weight saving moves aft of the racy seats includes the deletion of cushioned back seat, a hidden harmonic damper, parcel shelf and spare wheel. That left space for a self-conscious designer rear strut brace to be added, stiffening body torsional strength along with the production steel braces in the engine bay.

I fancied an uncommon vehicle that I could improve, which retained its value and delivered a taste of higher performance. This 1.8 litre TT’s 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds and a 155mph max are not embarrassing. Factually this first series TT compares with today’s TT TFSi. The only numbers loss in the older TT is 32mpg on a run, whereas the current TFSi reports a diesel -like 40mpg.

Like my Elise Sport 135, the quattro sport featured a noble attempt to reduce weight [officially minus 75kg/165 lbs.], but it is still a fatty compared with any Elise at 1460 kg with air conditioning installed. Audi also simply engineered a moderate (15bhp or so) horsepower boost from the turbocharged 1781cc, 20-valve, five-valves per cylinder four pot for a mild but more than ample 240bhp.

Clothed in the 3.2 TT’s body kit, the battery was moved into the hatchback’s boot for optimum wight balance plus there was a tauter suspension care of sport quattro springs, firmer dampers with a lower ride height. Externally, a set of 15-spoke 18-inch cast aluminium wheels (which are half inch wider than standard at the rear) and small ‘eyebrow’ wheel arch extensions plus a matt black finish for the twin tailpipes all give onlookers a clue that this is no ordinary TT.

The duotone paint is in Phantom Black Pearl black/Avus silver combination for my Coupé; note that this sport derivative was never available as a convertible. Alcantara leather part trims that pair of competition-orientated Recaros, steering wheel rim, plus a grey suedette handbrake and gear knob trim, all accompanied by a quattro sport badge within the usual style-conscious TT cabin.

Assembled in Hungary, the quattro sport run-out edition was a comparatively low production item, just 800 delivered to RHD UK, circa 550 listed as taxed today. Any TT is not a ‘proper’ quattro, for it mechanically shares most with VW group front drive performers, utilising Haldex plates to add 4x4 rear drive to the transverse engine location. Yet TT quattros are much more affordable than the original fivecylinder coupés that established the valuable 1980 quattro brand, which featured totally different 4x4 aligned to North-South inline motors. A layout that is preserved on the highest performance and price quattros to this day – excepting the range-leading mid-motor R8, of course.

During 2005, a TT quattro sport cost £29,360 (equating to £45,000+ now). Today, I found most such TTs bunched between £6500 eBay 100,000- milers and £12,500 for tastier sub-60,000mile dealer offerings. Following multiple online searches, I targeted a TT sport listed at £8790 by Portfield Car Sales in Christchurch. Fortunately, a trusted Guild of Motoring Writers colleague, Chris Adamson, lives locally to Portfield. Chris kindly inspected this Audi to see if it was worth my south coast journey. TT passed, with some pertinent Adamson reservations on interior condition at 85,400 displayed miles. Portfield then reduced the asking price to £7490. I drove south with my 142,000 mile BMW and understood Adamson’s conscientious reservations.

Cosmetically, the Audi’s exterior and engine bay were excellent, only fitment of a different brand rear tyre to the rest of the set a black mark on previous ownership maintenance standards. I was also not enamoured by the soiled and worn Alcantara steering wheel rim. Although the TT had two vital remote ignition keys, service records were patchy and there was not even an owner, service or radio manual or booklet present let alone correct…

It was obvious this Audi had stood for some months, but then my leggy BMW was hardly a forecourt attraction either. A little haggling saw the BMW on a modest profit over its 2018 purchase price, leaving £6240 to pay. The dealer also agreed to supply and fit a matching Pirelli high performance tyre to the rear, offering receipted service for air conditioning refill, Haldex 4x4 clutch oil and filter change (most import this), with a replacement cambelt (ditto) and three month’s warranty.

Sorting out some scruffy cockpit detailing myself, professional attention to air con and brakes were minor snags compared with my previous vehicles. I have covered less than 1000 TT miles, but am a lot happier than expected from such a lack of paperwork. So far, the bills have been predictable: the air conditioning needed fixing properly with a replacement compressor. I spotted that one brake calliper was not the original red finish: that hid misaligned and damaged brake pads. Including the dealer’s warranty contribution to the air conditioning renovation – and a minor bill for new rear pads – this TT has yet to exceed £400 in bills, which is not bad at all for such a paperless gamble.

Let’s hope my luck holds, because the driving enjoyment with an exhilarating ‘whoosh’ from the turbo and more grip than my recent classic/ modern classic buys is rewarding… And I still admire the clean cut appearance.

I hope it’ll prove an appreciating keeper!



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