2012 Audi TT Coupe - FROM $38,300
While the 2012 Audi TT might not provide all of the thrills of its rivals, it's still a solid pick thanks to its well-rounded nature.
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Audi TT returns with only minor changes in feature content.
There are sports cars and there are sporty cars. The 2012 Audi TT falls into the latter category, but that's really not a bad thing. While most sports cars compromise some aspect of their nature in order to deliver high performance, the TT benefits from a philosophy that emphasizes the big picture.
While the small Audi won't be vying for all-out supremacy at the racetrack, it delivers more than enough thrills for the majority of drivers. Acceleration from the 211-horsepower four-cylinder engine will be enough to raise your pulse rate, while the all-wheel-drive handling instills confidence in the curves. In addition, the TT is an easy car to live with, combining good fuel economy and a ride quality that's comfortable enough for daily driving.
As either a 2+2 coupe or two-seat convertible, the TT also broadens its appeal with its distinctive exterior styling, feature-rich content and an impeccably presented interior. The cabin has all the hallmarks that typify the luxury segment, and buyers can ratchet it up even more with available two-tone color schemes. There are also higher-performance TTS and TT RS variants for those who desire all the TT has to offer but yearn for more power.
Our main issue with the TT is that it's priced higher than you might expect. For about the same money as a new TT, the BMW 1 Series delivers superior driver engagement, as do the numerous 3 Series variants, which also benefit from more interior space. One could also consider the latest muscle cars from Detroit (Camaro, Challenger and Mustang), which have gotten surprisingly good the past couple of years. Then again, the TT could be seen as a less expensive yet still stylish alternative to more luxurious sports cars like the BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK and Porsche Boxster.
Taking all of this into account, the 2012 Audi TT has the ability to please a wide swath of drivers. It manages to be fun but not frenetic; versatile, but not boring. If style and refinement are near the top of your list, the TT is definitely worth a look.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Audi TT is available as a 2+2 hatchback coupe or a two-seat roadster, both of which come in Premium Plus or Prestige trim levels.
Premium Plus features include 18-inch wheels with summer tires, an automatic rear spoiler, foglights, automatic adaptive xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated exterior mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming mirror, 10-way power front seats, a 50/50 split-folding rear seatback, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather and faux suede upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The roadster includes a power soft top, a power wind deflector, roll hoops and a cargo pass-through with a removable ski bag.
Opting for the Prestige trim adds rear parking sensors, a dash-mounted MMI electronics controller, upgraded leather upholstery, an interior ambient lighting package, a navigation system with real-time traffic, heated front seats, an upgraded 12-speaker Bose stereo and a six-CD changer. The navigation and heated seats are also offered as an option on the Premium Plus.
Other options include adaptive suspension dampers, different wheels and leather upholstery with baseball-glove-style stitching. The S line package adds 19-inch wheels, unique exterior elements and trim, special upholstery, a sport steering wheel and headlight washers. An iPod interface can be substituted in place of the six-CD changer.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2012 Audi TT is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is also standard.
The only transmission available is a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that works like a traditional automatic or allows manual operation via the shift lever on the center console or shift paddles on the steering wheel.
In Edmunds performance testing, a TT Roadster with the automated manual went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. That's a reasonable time, but some competing models are certainly quicker. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Audi TT include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags and front knee airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, a TT Roadster with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 111 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
As we've come to expect from all Audi models, the 2012 TT features a tastefully designed interior that makes use of top-notch materials. The placement of the navigation system's controller on the dashboard isn't ideal, nor is operation as intuitive as systems offered by other manufacturers, but most other controls are straightforward and within easy reach. The sporty front seats are both comfortable and supportive, although the coupe's rear seats are better suited to trunk overflow than people.
The coupe's rear seats do fold flat, however, expanding the trunk's capacity from an ample 13 cubic feet to a capacious 24 cubes. The two-seat roadster convertible can accommodate only 8.8 cubic feet, but it does feature a pass-through with removable ski bag for longer objects.
The roadster's folding cloth top might seem a bit outdated compared to the slick retractable hardtops that can be found on some of its rivals, but it does retain the TT's clean lines and it folds flat into the rear bodywork. Its multilayer headliner and glass window also manage to keep the cabin quiet and well insulated from the weather.
The 2012 Audi TT's turbocharged four-cylinder makes more than enough power for a daily driver and proves jut energetic enough to have some fun on twisting back roads. The entertainment quotient is further enhanced by the all-wheel-drive system, not to mention the confidence you have while driving on slick pavement. Meanwhile, the S tronic dual-clutch transmission provides gearchanges that are both quick and smooth.
Nevertheless, the little Audi is no match for a BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster when it comes to performance. The TT's optional adaptive suspension includes adjustable steering effort and a louder exhaust note, improving the TT's capabilities without making the already firm ride unbearable, but we doubt many buyers will feel it's worth the price premium.