RE: Audi TT quattro Sport | PH Used Review

RE: Audi TT quattro Sport | PH Used Review

Monday 19th August

Audi TT quattro Sport | PH Used Review

Lightened, two-toned Audi TT is fondly remembered. How does it stand up in 2019...



Back then...

Six years into the first generation TT's life cycle, Audi celebrated a quarter century since the first quattro was launched with the introduction of a special, limited-run model. The TT quattro Sport arrived in May 2005 with more power, a sportier chassis and a 49kg weight reduction to create the most driver-focussed model of the then seven-variant (including rag tops) line-up. While it used the smaller 1.8-litre engine, the quattro Sport's turbocharged four-cylinder motor was only 10hp short of the 250hp produced by the naturally-aspirated 3.2 V6, and with an 88kg advantage over that car, it was quicker off the mark. Moreover, at Β£29,360, it was Β£2k cheaper than the six-pot.

The worthy mix of value for money and pace helped boost the TT's appeal among enthusiasts, but even with the ditching of some hefty components (more on that shortly) the quattro Sport could do nothing about the VW Group's PQ34 architecture - a platform it shared with the poorly-received Mk4 Golf - and its kerbweight remained the wrong side of 1,400kg. Praise for it at launch was not universal.

It wasn't for lack of trying. The turbocharged engine had 240hp at 5,700rpm, a gain of 15hp over the regular model, while the removal of the back seats, parcel shelf and spare tyre left plenty of room for a rear strut brace to be added, stiffening its less than perfect structure. There were tauter springs, firmer dampers and a set of 15-spoke 18-inch cast aluminium wheels, which were mounted onto a more muscular, two-toned 3.2 body. The sporting makeover continued inside with a pair of gorgeous Recaro Pole Positions, an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel and Quattro Sport badge badging. Few would deny it looked and felt the part.

For anyone already in the TT fan club, it was manna from heaven. But for the objective punter, it had serious competition: Renaultsport's first Megane lacked all-wheel drive and fell short on power, but it more than made up for those losses with an exciting chassis - not to mention a Β£5k cheaper starting price. Then there was the Nissan 350Z, a rear-driven V6 coupe that had more in common with the 3.2 TT but also cost Β£5k less than the quattro Sport. And when you consider that the 347hp, 5.7-litre V8-powered Vauxhall Monaro cost only Β£535 more than Audi's limited-run model, it's perhaps unsurprising that the 1,000-car UK quota was eventually reduced to 800.


Nowadays...

Time has been kind to the quattro Sport. Most of its rivals in 2005 have fallen into the long shadow of more interesting (or exciting) successors, but the lightened, two-toned TT has no direct follow-up to muddy the waters. Successive versions have deployed warbling five-cylinder engines, but none (aside from perhaps the 1.1-tonne TT Ultra Quattro concept of 2013) has pursued the 'purer' tactic of shedding mass. Plus, the quattro Sport looks brilliant - arguably better than it did at launch. The Mk1 TT's clean lines still look fresh and, compared to the try-hard current-gen model, nicely understated, too.

Although it was a limited-run model at the time, the Quattro Sport wasn't priced like so many of today's specials. Its original list price (Β£29,360) equates to about Β£43k in today's money, meaning it would rank only a couple of grand above the TTS. And while the present TTS has 310hp from its 2.0-litre TFSI unit and a full suite of Virtual Cockpit technology as part of its tech armoury, it's a series run model that sits amongst the range - not something special to be celebrated.

That being said, aside from the fact that the car has to be started with an actual key, it's a wholly 21st century driving experience once behind the wheel. The engine has a deep, purposeful four-cylinder tone, although it's the whistle of turbo as the boost builds that provides most of the aural entertainment - but it's genuine, non-synthesised stuff. The 1.8-litre motor is quick to respond from the off, although 2,500rpm is where its delivery jumps and the quattro Sport keeps on pushing on this consistent seam of torque all the way to 6,000rpm. It's a brilliantly elastic engine that can either lean on a meaty midrange or be revved towards its redline; both methods send the TT charging from corner to corner with unbreakable all-wheel drive traction. It's the permanent kind, too, unlike later generations that switched to Haldex hardware. The old Audi certainly doesn't feel at all dated in this regard.

It is, however, a shame that even hot Audis from the pre-EPAS era didn't offer more through the steering wheel. The resistance may very well be hydraulic-based, but there's still not much information apparent in the Alcantara-wrapped rim. This is unfortunate because the six-speed 'box has a pleasingly short throw and the pedals are placed nicely for heel-and-toe - so a more communicative steering system might have delivered the TT more convincingly into the upper echelon of noughties sports icon.

It wasn't to be, though, and anyway, the planted chassis and driveline - which enables huge cross country pace but not much more besides - pale in comparison to something like the second generation Porsche Boxster. Even in this most driver-centric of TTs you're limited to point-and-squirt; revelling mostly in the earliness at which you can get back on the throttle. An initial low-speed firmness in the upratedsuspension is superseded by something more flowing, but the 'lightweight' TT does begin to feel its weight as the pace develops. The chassis never hunkers down like you might expect (certainly not in a modern context) with crests and dips acting as a constant reminder that even this part-stripped TT carries some timber.


Should you?

The quattro Sport's foibles are relatively easy to forgive these days: nobody buys a pared-back TT expecting a plush ride or Porsche-like adjustability. What they might expect is rapid, easily accessible point-to-point performance, a proper sports car ambience and the timeless appearance of what it is unquestionably an icon. The quattro Sport nails all of that and more. Its sheer usability is reflected in the condition of those left on sale today. This was evidently no cotton-wool-wrapped special; most cars in the classifieds have fairly high mileages - none at the time of writing have less than 59k on the clock and some are well into six figures. There are signs that the quattro Sport is enjoying a bit of a resurgence, however, with 544 registered on UK roads in 2018 - a gain of seven on the year before, representing the first time the number has gone up since 2005.

Does this herald renascent classic status? Perhaps - evidently the best quattro Sports have now ticked over the Β£10k mark again. That leaves them around Β£6k below the asking price of an original TT RS so the model could be said to sit in its own bubble for now. You can get similarly tidy Mk2 Boxsters and Monaros for about the same money, or early RS Meganes for about Β£3k less - and remarkably, the more powerful 3.2-litre cars are even cheaper. Certainly it must be comparative rarity that keeps the quattro Sport slightly more buoyant, and - driven in 2019 - it feels deserving of its special status. Subsequent generations may have improved on the basic TT formula, but Audi's 2005 tribute to the mighty quattro was a genuine attempt at making its very pretty sports car better to drive. Nearly 15 years later, we applaud the sentiment.


SPECIFICATION - AUDI TT QUATTRO SPORT

Engine: 1,781cc, inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@5,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 236@2,300-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 5.9 secs
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,460kg
MPG: 30.4
CO2: 223g/km
Price new: Β£29,360
Price now: circa Β£8,000-10,000

Search for a Mk1 Audi TT here






Author
Discussion

moonigan

Original Poster:

1,380 posts

186 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
I had one of these in 2010 and it lasted just over 4 weeks. I paid £15K at the time. They are crap. The only good thing about them is the Recaro Pole Positions.

The 4WD system robs the car of power so it actually only produces around 220 BHP so its slow and any attempt to extract more power from it will cost money as you have to start looking at new turbos. Forums will claim to extract 280 BHP with little cost but that's not at the wheels and the remap usually comes with a countdown timer because a large bang is sure to follow. Understeer is everywhere and again to sort this costs a significant amount of money. Then there are the brakes which will also need sorting at huge cost.

I looked at getting all the things sorted to turn it into a decent car and the bill would have been £5K+ so I sold it and bought a Z4MC for £20K

Edited by moonigan on Monday 19th August 08:16

Helicopter123

6,212 posts

101 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Future classic, the best of the MK 1 Audi TT.

Dave Hedgehog

11,070 posts

149 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
the mk1 TT has never been the fastest or best handling sports car so i would take the V6 with a perf box every time over the sport, it suites using the car as a GT much better and the noise is divine


Macboy

435 posts

150 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
moonigan said:
I had one of these in 2010 and it lasted just over 4 weeks. I paid £15K at the time. They are crap. The only good thing about them is the Recaro Pole Positions.

The 4WD system robs the car of power so it actually only produces around 220 BHP so its slow and any attempt to extract more power from it will cost money as you have to start looking at new turbos. Forums will claim to extract 280 BHP with little cost but that's not at the wheels and the remap usually comes with a countdown timer because a large bang is sure to follow. Understeer is everywhere and again to sort this costs a significant amount of money. Then there are the brakes which will also need sorting at huge cost.

I looked at getting all the things sorted to turn it into a decent car and the bill would have been £5K+ so I sold it and bought a Z4MC for £20K

Edited by moonigan on Monday 19th August 08:16
I recently owned a V6 TT which, for the money and going in with my eyes open to its faults, was a pretty good touring convertible. I really wanted a quattro sport four or five years ago as I'd had three TT coupes as company cars in the early 00's. Drove two because I thought the first one may be "off" when its performance was "meh" and the difference to a standard car seemed to only be the lack of rear seats and the recaros. Second was the same too. I came to exactly your conclusion but didn't spend the money you did on one because I was so non-plussed about the hype.

Leon R

320 posts

41 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
moonigan said:
I had one of these in 2010 and it lasted just over 4 weeks. I paid £15K at the time. They are crap. The only good thing about them is the Recaro Pole Positions.

The 4WD system robs the car of power so it actually only produces around 220 BHP so its slow and any attempt to extract more power from it will cost money as you have to start looking at new turbos. Forums will claim to extract 280 BHP with little cost but that's not at the wheels and the remap usually comes with a countdown timer because a large bang is sure to follow. Understeer is everywhere and again to sort this costs a significant amount of money. Then there are the brakes which will also need sorting at huge cost.

I looked at getting all the things sorted to turn it into a decent car and the bill would have been £5K+ so I sold it and bought a Z4MC for £20K

Edited by moonigan on Monday 19th August 08:16
I have this exact engine in one of mine, it currently has 100,000 on the clock and has been remapped for almost 9 years and 70,000 of those miles.

No large bang yet.

was8v

1,697 posts

140 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
article said:
It's the permanent kind, too, unlike later generations that switched to Haldex hardware.
Um nope, it's definitely a haldex system, not sure if the QS had different firmware to the standard car.

moonigan

Original Poster:

1,380 posts

186 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Leon R said:
I have this exact engine in one of mine, it currently has 100,000 on the clock and has been remapped for almost 9 years and 70,000 of those miles.

No large bang yet.
Remapped to what? Any other supporting hardware other than map?

Leon R

320 posts

41 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
moonigan said:
Remapped to what? Any other supporting hardware other than map?
Stock the engine was 222hp and 207 lbf ft or there abouts to the fly.

Remapped to 265hp and 280 lbf ft.

Only supporting mods are a larger intake pipe and a cone filter.

You can get to around 280 on these engines but you need an intercooler and a downpipe to do that, most tuners also recommend keeping the torque below 300 to save the rods.

IanJ9375

908 posts

161 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Always liked these, two tone, Pole Position seats and accepting it as a two seater is probably for the best!

MK1 definitely an icon in design terms

moonigan

Original Poster:

1,380 posts

186 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Leon R said:
Stock the engine was 222hp and 207 lbf ft or there abouts to the fly.

Remapped to 265hp and 280 lbf ft.

Only supporting mods are a larger intake pipe and a cone filter.

You can get to around 280 on these engines but you need an intercooler and a downpipe to do that, most tuners also recommend keeping the torque below 300 to save the rods.
OK so that's a Stage 1 map on a 225 engine and 265 is the published maximum with the reality often being a lot less. 280 is a dream without spending serious money. Extracting more power from the QS is an exercise in futility as there is no map for that specific car so all you do is end up with a standard 225 re-map which will give you at best another 10-15 BHP on what you had before.

fernando the frog

237 posts

13 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
look at this car design in 2019 then look at a 20 year old car when this was released...it's barely aged!

jakesmith

4,735 posts

116 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
I thought this engine was highly tunable without reliability issues. I had it in my Mk4 GTi and a remap made a massive difference as it was nobbled to 150BHP out the factory but was naturally a 180BHP engine so by the time the map was on it was an increase in power of maybe 40BHP, very noticable.
Took it from about 35,000 to 75,000 miles with zero issues.

Surely the biggest problem this car has got though is the 987 Boxster S available for the same price and a far better drive?

Leon R

320 posts

41 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
moonigan said:
OK so that's a Stage 1 map on a 225 engine and 265 is the published maximum with the reality often being a lot less. 280 is a dream without spending serious money. Extracting more power from the QS is an exercise in futility as there is no map for that specific car so all you do is end up with a standard 225 re-map which will give you at best another 10-15 BHP on what you had before.
You said that a remap on these engines comes with a countdown timer and a large bang and I was just pointing out that I have literally done that and not had a big bang, I guess you could argue I simply haven't had it happen yet but at 70,000 miles I would say that is pretty good going.

I am not 100% sure how much money is serious money but as long as you are willing to buy a FMIC, full exhaust, DV and cold air intake and a custom tune then 280 is a reality.

Jon_S_Rally

547 posts

33 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
It's a handsome car and interesting curio that will undoubtedly become a classic. But you would have to really want one I think, as there is some very capable stuff out there for that money.

tigamilla

135 posts

25 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Incredible how timeless the Pole Position seats are and have found a place in everything from very high performance cars today to this little rarity all those years ago.

AmosMoses

3,360 posts

110 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
I keep seeing and reading about these cars and it just makes me yearn for them. Only issue I have is that everyone says they are a little point and squirt, no real fun in the chassis.

Nors

1,254 posts

100 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
I don't think anyone is going to buy one of these or any other Mk 1 TT as an out and out performance car or especially a track car.

I drove a 225 version for the first time about a year ago and was plesently surprised how 'different' it was to most cars in terms of overall experience. Quirky interior, felt different to drive with it's steering wheel quite close to the dash and all the design features. It's perky enough and if you're not trying to drive it flat out down a country lane, it felt quite adequate to enjoy as a GT type car. Loved the gearshift too. Steering when driving sensibly is not as bad as made out either.

It's different in the kind of way most cars back then were not and I agree with the article, it still looks reletively fresh today and is most certainly a design icon.



BenLowden

1,747 posts

122 months

PH Marketing Bloke

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Leon R said:
You said that a remap on these engines comes with a countdown timer and a large bang and I was just pointing out that I have literally done that and not had a big bang, I guess you could argue I simply haven't had it happen yet but at 70,000 miles I would say that is pretty good going.

I am not 100% sure how much money is serious money but as long as you are willing to buy a FMIC, full exhaust, DV and cold air intake and a custom tune then 280 is a reality.
My QS had a custom made BCS turbo-back exhaust system with sports cat and open cone air filter and made 280hp/300lb ft at R-Tech on the stock intercoolers. I'll echo your earlier comment that 300lb ft seemed to be broadly acknowledged as the safe number before needing forged rods.

The exhaust sounded sensational! Was a great place to be with the Recaros and timeless interior; brakes were terrible though and handling was pretty numb but overall as a package I really enjoyed mine for the 12 months I had it. Bought for £9,000 and sold for £10,750 a year later.

J4CKO

27,987 posts

145 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
I had a really quite grotty 225, but it had those wheels on which really lift the looks I think, mine was a right unreliable POS but I bought in haste, mainly because I liked how it looked.

But, I did like the car, it might be as it was manual, rather than auto but I would say it was more fun than my current M135i, neither being an Elise but I did quite like flinging it down country lanes, it felt more planted than the BMW, previous owner had replaced the spring, dampers and a few bushes.

Loved the interior, great heated seats and fairly practical, but a TT is a two seater, even if it has four, unless you regularly carry small folk with both legs amputated.

They are however old, the body seems to do ok, and the basic engine is pretty solid but its mainly issues with electrical stuff, vacuum lines (of which there are many), sensors with an N plus a number (even more) and just old age, wiper mechanisms, door locks etc.


Ructions

3,626 posts

66 months

Monday 19th August
quotequote all
Helicopter123 said:
Future classic, the best of the MK 1 Audi TT.
Already a classic in my book, but the QS is easily the best of the original TT.

Always loved the Hendrix commercial https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OW_Uj_E0KVU