RE: Shed of the Week: Audi TT Roadster

RE: Shed of the Week: Audi TT Roadster

Friday 7th December

Shed of the Week: Audi TT Roadster

The TT is relatively new to Shed status, but the Roadster's cherry hadn't popped till now...



Some things are greater than the sum of their parts. This principle applies in reverse to Mrs Shed. If she was any greater, she'd be Wolverhampton, and that position is taken. The idea of surprise X-factor appeal above and beyond expectations does apply to cars, though. By no means all of them, mind. Just the odd one that, if it was presented to you as a heap of parts, you'd say 'meh', but if you then reassembled it, you'd go 'ooh'.

Shed reckons that the Audi TT falls squarely into this category. Before July of this year, there had been no Shed TTs: now we've had three, and this is the first Roadster to appear here. Even in 2018, the TT has still got more than a hint of special about it, which is remarkable really when you consider that this year it celebrated its 20th anniversary, and that you can count the major changes it's gone through in that time on the fingers of one woollen mitten. And it's especially remarkable when you remember that, beneath the highly distinctive body style that is largely responsible for the TT's specialness, it's basically a gussied-up Audi A4. Only a right misery guts would argue against the notion that the TT design has worn pretty well.

The electrically-operated ragtop squeezes out the Coupe's two back seats, but if you can put up with that small reduction in practicality there's not much to fear here. £1350 for a low-mileage 180hp quattro with the Haldex 4WD system, no obvious body scabbing, and a full MOT ticket with comfortingly non-scary MOT history sounds good to us.


This specimen dates from 2000, so it's an early Roadster (they were launched in summer '99). You wouldn't want a really early Coupé, or at least not one that had somehow fallen through the recall procedures carried out after a spate of high-speed accidents on European roads had claimed the lives of five people, including a former East German rally driver. The fix in 2000 was a boot spoiler (free) and the retrofitting of electronic stability systems (not free).

How dodgy was the pre-fix TT? Well, in February 2000 German car mag Autobild magazine tested modified and unmodified versions of the 225hp all-wheel-drive TT Coupe against BMW's Z3 2.8, Porsche's Boxster, Subaru's Impreza GT, VW's Golf V6 4Motion and er a 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera (?). The unmodified TT propped up the group on handling control, scoring a measly if not actually shocking 2 out of 10. The 'fixed' ESP TT by contrast scored 10 out of 10, whizzing it up to first spot alongside the similarly-equipped Golf V6.

It looks like the headlight lenses on this one will be needing some attention in the not too distant future, but no structural problems have ever been noted by the MOT inspector. TT rust is relatively rare, despite the Mk1s being steel-bodied: Mk2 TTs had more aluminium. Scuffed TT alloys are very much not rare thanks to the bodystyle's unique tumblehome design.


Annoyingly, we're missing the number of previous owners. Nor is there any mention of service history, but the slowly-accumulated 107,000 mileage all checks out and suggests it's mainly been used as a fair-weather toy. You'll have to go to Pembrokeshire to view and maybe buy it, but that's a lovely part of the country and if you do snaffle it you'll have a nice opportunity to find out why road testers have been so complimentary about this car for so long.

Being a curvy A4 at heart, a 1.8 TT of this vintage will have most if not all of the quirks with which VAG four-pots have been historically associated. In 2007, a class action lawsuit was successfully lodged against the VW Group of America for premature timing belt failure on the turbocharged '99-'03 1.8 engines used in the TT, A4 and Passat. Belts, tensioner and the dreaded plastic-impeller waterpump (if it still has that) will need replacing on an 80k/5 year basis at the very least (60k for comfort) if you want to avoid an expensive engine rebuild.

A year after that belt action there was another US prosecution relating to defective instrument clusters on 2000-04 TTs. The giveaways here are inaccurate fuel and coolant temperature readings, along with the usual missing pixels from the pod data panel. Knocks from underneath when traversing bumps probably signify worn front wishbones and/or a tired front antiroll bar. Coils - well, you know all about VAG coils.


On the positive side, the manual gearbox is tough and the clutch should do you for at least 50,000 miles, and up to 100,000 if you're lucky. A new Roadster hood used to be ferociously expensive - up to £5000 - but these days you can pick up mohair aftermarket items with glass windows for under £500.

The vendor calls his car a bargain Xmas present, an odd concept in one respect as anyone minted enough to be able to give their loved one a motor for Christmas would surely not be grubbing around in the murky depths of sub-prime, sub-£1500 motors - or is that just Shed showing his proletariat leanings?

The funny thing is that Mrs Shed is a TT fanatic, owning not one but two early examples of this handsome coupé. Shed has long harboured a secret admiration for his wife's brace of Mk1s. He would certainly swallow his pride if Mrs Shed acknowledged his love for her TTs by giving him one for Christmas.

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Author
Discussion

Howrare

Original Poster:

156 posts

142 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Of all the negative comments leveled at TT's over the years, I still think they look great with the right wheels and spec, and silly cheap now. Not bad to drive either. Not amazing, but still good.

a gussied-up Audi A4 though....? Famously a MK4 Golf platform isn't it?

humphra

22 posts

28 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
I've been tempted by these for so many years, but never quite got to buying one.

I did have a mk2 for a while but it was so unrewarding to drive and I ended up getting rid of it after 6 months. These mk1s, though..... I drove a 225 coupe and loved how it felt and still want one. I just need to get rid of one of my other cars first, otherwise I'll start looking like the neighbourhood used car seller!

darkyoung1000

1,224 posts

132 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
"He would certainly swallow his pride if Mrs Shed acknowledged his love for her TTs by giving him one for Christmas"

biglaughbiglaugh

It's like I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - I knew it had to be in there somewhere.

Not my kind of shed but a thoroughly enjoyable article.

mrpenks

189 posts

91 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Nice but the TT was not based on the A4.
It used the PQ34 version of the A platform. Similar cars were the Audi A3, Golf 4, Octavia and Beetle

PartTimeShedMan

3 posts

32 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Howrare said:
a gussied-up Audi A4 though....? Famously a MK4 Golf platform isn't it?
Yep Gussied-up Golf 4/A3 ( also Octavia, Leon, Toledo). Looks great though!

Bear in mind Skoda/Seat used to recommend a 4 year/40k belt+water pump change on this engine... I’ve had a plastic impeller pump go after 10k too!

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la5tn1nja

5 posts

8 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
mrpenks said:
Nice but the TT was not based on the A4.
It used the PQ34 version of the A platform. Similar cars were the Audi A3, Golf 4, Octavia and Beetle
Yep the Quattro on the A4 platform is Torsen rather than Haldex and the engine is mounted longitudinally.

jakesmith

2,772 posts

107 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
The prettyest tt in coupe form and classic colour
Not cheap as chips to run but great value for 1.5k

Sparky137

459 posts

117 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Christ, these look dated now. Ugliest car on the road by a country mile. Only useful as an engine donor for something else!!!

Shiv_P

1,430 posts

41 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Sparky137 said:
Christ, these look dated now. Ugliest car on the road by a country mile. Only useful as an engine donor for something else!!!
What about the Rover 620Ti?

Barchettaman

2,336 posts

68 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
With luck Jacko will be along in a minute, he knows these inside out (literally) as his entertaining Reader's Cars thread can confirm.

Limpet

3,136 posts

97 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Sparky137 said:
Christ, these look dated now. Ugliest car on the road by a country mile. Only useful as an engine donor for something else!!!
I was thinking the complete opposite. The design seems to get better with age. The mk1 TT looks better now than it ever has, IMO.

T1berious

1,105 posts

91 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Limpet said:
I was thinking the complete opposite. The design seems to get better with age. The mk1 TT looks better now than it ever has, IMO.
+1

I was thinking for a 20 year old design it was wearing incredibly well.



Edited by T1berious on Friday 7th December 08:22


Edited by T1berious on Friday 7th December 08:24

kambites

55,407 posts

157 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
yes Not a car I have any desire to own but to my eyes it's a nice looking thing, with the exception of the way the sill meets the bottom of the door. This sort of (relatively) clean design just shows how fussy and bloated modern cars in this sector have become.

alorotom

5,261 posts

123 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
I had an black with baseball X plate TT roadster that sadly was written off, I have a QS tucked away. The Mrs drives a Mk2 coupe (until monday coming) and we have a Mk2 TTRS coupe for weekend duties.

Mk1s are great value, they aren’t too expensive to run at all

There are shed loads for sale between £500 and £2000 though so you can afford to be picky!

daytona111r

366 posts

140 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Still shocks me that Audi could release a car like the TT as recently as 1999 with such lethal handling!

Lotusgone

106 posts

63 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Shiv_P said:
What about the Rover 620Ti?
Aww, it's not that bad. I drove one once in a fleet test - a bit like your mum's cooking, not the best you'd ever have but decent nonetheless.

The mk1 TT (writes misery guts) looked like an upturned bathtub then, and still does. Mk2 was a notable improvement.

QBee

16,129 posts

80 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Lovely article, though every time I read about known issues on a 20(ish) year old convertible, my 1999 TVR Chimaera suddenly looks like the pinnacle of reliability.
It was the only car I had that actually worked over Christmas 2014 - both my (newer) German cars were off the road with electrical problems.

Filibuster

1,127 posts

151 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
I'm a big fan of the original TT as well!
From now and then I'm browsing the ads for one, despite certainly not needing one.
But there is something about that design (interior + exterior) that keeps me looking at them.

But Shed, come on. As others have pointed out already, this is famously built on the Golf platform (transverse engine + haldex) and not the A4 (longitudinally engine + torsen). As a motoring journalist you should know that you have to check these facts before publishing something. I know it is not the end of the world, but you are a journalist and have a responsibility what you post, even if it is something only a few car nuts out there are interested in.

R4PID

1,033 posts

181 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
2 years into my mk1 Audi TT. Went from loathing them to loving the bloody thing.

£ for £ THE absolute best value for money car I've ever bought. Buy right and you can't go far wrong.

sgtBerbatov

828 posts

17 months

Friday 7th December
quotequote all
Lotusgone said:
Shiv_P said:
What about the Rover 620Ti?
Aww, it's not that bad. I drove one once in a fleet test - a bit like your mum's cooking, not the best you'd ever have but decent nonetheless.

The mk1 TT (writes misery guts) looked like an upturned bathtub then, and still does. Mk2 was a notable improvement.
In fairness the TT is a lot like the time my mother made lasagne with mustard powder. Took two bites, put the fork down and pushed it away telling her I can't eat it as it was vile.