2009 Audi TT $45,500 As tested: $52,550

A winner then, a winner now
The TT's signature snout
The TT's signature snout


The TT’s formerly eggshaped visage was wisely jettisoned two years ago in favor of a…slightly less-eggy but more sporty body design—and then and now, it’s one of the most singularly recognizable and rightly coveted cars in Audi’s fleet.

This year’s model remains unchanged from 2008, and provided a week’s swank, sweet ride.

The body is a tight collection of well-merged color-coded, artful and unmistakeably Audi shapes, topped with their signature waterfall grille. Inside, it’s a tight squeeze up front and even tighter in the back, though I managed to fold up a third 5’8 and 1/2 passenger and deposit her in the rear without damage. One unique interior feature are the Alcantara seating inserts, comprised of a faux-suede material but far more hardy than cowskin (and more humane.) Brushed aluminum galore, cool red and ice-blue cockpit lights and the flat-bottom steering wheel make the cockpit your own little high-tech headquarters.

Comin' or goin', the TT's a looker.
Comin' or goin', the TT's a looker.

The TT’s available in roadster (convertible) form or my test model, the coupe, and transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed S tronic twin-clutch sequential transmission, formerly titled the Direct Shift Gearbox, or DSG.

Getting the most out of your TT demands the recognition of its engine strengths and weaknesses, though.

Despite a well-tuned engine note, I found my test car slightly numb in the acceleration and braking department. There is a decided hesitation between gear changes, and the car needs a moment or two of play before discovering you’ve thrown it in reverse. Many times, while waiting for reverse to engage, I had to look down and make sure I was not in neutral—it takes that long.. One reason for the TT’s lack of real lightning is its weight of 3600 pounds (for some models), which makes it more a sporty sedan than a truly ferocious bonafide sports car. But at speed, shift down and you’ll get most, if not all, the power you get from similar German sportsters.

Also, while the sound system is first-rate, the whole unit needs a POWER button. Without it, you get music, talk or the game upon startup each and every time whether you like it or not, and it matters not whether you lower the volume to nothing, or press MUTE—the sound system deploys upon startup with a little light reading “TRY TO SHUT ME UP, WILL YOU?”. (Kidding) I’ll tell you when I want tunes, thanks, Audi. – Josh Max/Autogigolo.com

The TT's cockpit's one of the swankiest available in its class.
The TT's cockpit's one of the swankiest available in its class.

For spects, more info: http://www.audiusa.com/audi/us/en2/new_cars/Audi_TT.html