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Audi TT Mk1: Buying guide and review (1998-2006)

Audi TT Mk1: Buying guide and review (1998-2006) Classic and Performance Car
Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT V6 Mk1 Audi TT Sport Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 interior
When Audi first unveiled the Audi TT concept car in the mid-1990s, nobody ever thought that the production car could look as brave or forward thinking. How wrong they were. Even today, more than 20 years after the design study was first seen, the Mk1 Audi TT still looks absolutely stunning. Some would say evem better than it’s successors. 
 
So what if you’re already sold on the looks? The TT is not only gorgeous, but is also surprisingly practical, and as a two-seater its one of the most usable on the market. And that counts for the convertible or ‘hatchback’ coupe. Thanks to many of the car’s the mechanical components being shared with other Volkswagen Group cars, there is plenty of specialist knowledge around, meaning you are generally well catered for when it comes to affordable servicing. A lot of the basic servicing can also be carried out at home.
 
If you’re looking for a sportscar that you can use all year round, none is better than the TT, with its four-wheel drive security for most editions, relative practicality (especially in coupé form) and a full suite of safety systems. But if you want something for summer drives out only, the TT can deliver thrills aplenty, with even the 1.8T engine capable of providing a decent turn of speed.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The TT’s ubiquity means values are low, so abused cars are far from a rarity. There are loads of really good TTs to choose from though, so you don’t have to settle for anything ropey.
The vast majority of UK Audi TTs feature the excellent quattro four-wheel drive transmission, which is generally reliable and makes TT unstoppable in wet weather conditions. You might find the odd front-wheel drive ‘150’ Roadster (although these are rare), and there were some FWD coupés built for Europe too, so keep an eye out if you’re looking at a left-hand drive import for any reason.
 
The most valueable mk1 TT today is the limited edition Sport model. Thanks to an uprated version of the 1.8-litre turbo engine, and a stripped out interior dropping 75kg, it’s the most focused of all the Mk1 TTs. Only available as as a coupe, Recaro seats, a rear strut brace and sportier suspension also mark it out as something very special. It’s also 75kg lighter and comes as a two-seater only (the rear seats are removed). 
 
If you like your sportscar with a slightly more sonorous exhaust note, then the 3.2-litre V6 might be a good option. Although this version is costlier to run, it does offer something a bit more special. This was also one of the first cars to use the dual-clutch DSG transmission, although the manual is generally considered to be the sweeter car. 
 
For most, the value offered by a standard TT 1.8T with a manual gearbox is enough to win any argument. A Roadster is fine for everyday use too if you don’t need to cart lots of stuff about, but it does come with two seats only. The Coupé has occasional rear seats but they’re for children only.
 
Performance and specs
 
Audi TT Sport
Engine 1781cc, in-line four-cylinder turbo
Power 237bhp @ 5700rpm
Torque 236lb ft @ 2300rpm
Top speed 155mph
0-60mph 5.9sec
Fuel consumption 28mpg
Gearbox Six-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2429mm
Length 4041mm
Width 1764mm
Height 1343mm
Kerb weight 1390kg
 
Common problems
 
• Any rusty TT has almost certainly been crashed then poorly repaired. These cars were galvanised from the factory. There may be signs of corrosion on the underside of high-mileage cars that have been driven through the UK’s many harsh (and salt-ridden) winters though. 

• Good news if you want to repair a damaged TT is that most of the body panels are readily available, and at the front at least, bolt straight on. Sills are tricky, as they were screwed and glued onto the car at the factory. Rear wing panels are also difficult to align.

• The 1.8T engine is well-known among specialists, and will regularly go on for more than 200,000 miles if it’s properly looked after. Oil changes should be carried out every 10,000 miles or at least annually. Variable servicing intervals should really be ignored today.

• Always ask to see proof of the last cam belt change. This should be done every 60,000 miles (although Audi originally recommended 80,000). This should include tensioners and water pump at the same time. 

• Any misfires or hesitation from the engine can usually be traced to a duff air mass sensor, or failing ignition coil packs.

• The 3.2 V6 has a timing chain, which has been known to rattle from around the 40,000mile mark. This is bad news, because the engine will have to be removed to replace the chain and tensioners, which have most likely worn. A session on a diagnostics machine will reveal any problems. 

• Manual gearboxes are generally bulletproof, with clutches lasting between 50-100,000 miles, depending on driving style.

• DSG ‘boxes aren’t as reliable. An illuminated or flashing red gear indicator on the dashboard means that there is trouble ahead. Again, diagnostics will reveal the fault.

• Problems are generally limited to the Mechatronic control unit, which fails and causes jerky gearchanges and an occasional lack of drive. New or reconditioned Mechatronic units are available.

• The quattro drivetrain is generally very reliable, and it’s a haldex-based system used across a multitude of cars. Problems are generally limited to the electronic side of the system, with a dead control unit the cause of most faults. The Haldex unit also needs its oil replacing every 20,000 miles, something that is often neglected in cars not looked after by a specialist.  

• The suspension bushes all wear out, and will probably need replacing if not already done by now. Springs and dampers also take quite a pounding – especially if the car has been driven over speed bumps regularly. Check the anti-roll bar links, as they also corrode and eventually snap.

• Some find the TT underbraked, perhaps due to the car’s ample weight. There are plenty of aftermarket options out there, with harder front pads a popular option. A Brembo upgrade is the best option for improved feel and power, while some choose the cheaper option of V6 calipers.
 
Model history
 
1995: TT concept debuts; two  months later the open-topped TTS is shown. 
1998: TT enters production in LHD form. None of these cars officially come to the UK – some are personally imported though. 
1999: TT Coupé introduced in the UK in February, in 178bhp (TT 180) and 222bhp (TT 225) forms, with standard quattro 4WD. TT Roadster appears in August, mechanically as coupé. 2000: TT 180 gets six-speed gearbox from September.
2001: TT 225 S line edition launched in July, with 7.5x18 spoked alloys and lowered sports suspension. 
2002: From January all TTs get S line equipment levels. 
2003: TT 150 Roadster debuts in March, with 148bhp 1.8T engine and FWD. A 3.2 V6 Coupé and Roadster arrive in July, with DSG only. Four-cylinder TTs get DSG auto option too. 
2004: TT 3.2 V6 gets six-speed manual option from January. 
2005: TT 150 is boosted to 161bhp in September; TT 180 gets a power increase to 187bhp.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.audiownersclub.com
• www.ttforum.co.uk
• www.ttoc.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
As a modern classic, values of the TT have never been cheaper, and due to the number of cars still on the road are likely to remain low for some time. Early 1.8 Turbo models are the cheapest, starting from around £1500. Projects can even be found for less than this. You’ll need closer to £3500 for car in healthy running order, but there is still a significant premium on clean and low mileage cars, which can go for £6500. Convertible models are worth slightly more. V6 examples generally sell for between £3000-£6500. 
 
Quattro Sport models are rare, and are the most valuable of all mk1 TTs. They start from around £4000, but are considered to be quite collectable, meaning low mileage example still sell for more than £10,000. 
Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 Audi TT V6 Mk1 Audi TT Sport Mk1 Audi TT Mk1 interior
Last updated: 3rd Mar 2016
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Audi TT cars for sale

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Audi TT
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  • Audi TT

    £15,295 £15,295

    Variant name:TFSI QUATTRO S LINE ,Derivative:MK2 (8J) ,Variant: 2.0 T FSI (211 PS) quattro S-Line Audi TT Coupe 2.0 T FSI (211 PS) quattro S-line finished in Phantom Black, pearl effect. Specification includes Audi exclusive iPod preparation, Audi exclusive cast Aluminium alloy wheels - 5-spoke design, acoustic parking system (rear only), front sports seats, Concert radio, driver information system, fine nappa leather with embossed s line logo in the front s, s line exterior package, s line sports package, sports suspension, leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheel - 3-spo, heated front seats, inlays - matt brushed Aluminium, exterior mirrors - electrically adjustable/folding/heated w, headlight washers and preparation for mobile phone (bluetooth). Climate Control, Split Folding Rear Seats, Front Fog lights

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 29160 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    Drift Bridge Group-Walton Audi
    01932 506 787 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Audi TT

    £7,990 £7,990

    Alpine white, Alpaca light silver grey leather, Climate control, Sat Nav pre- wire (disc required), 19'' alloy wheels, 6 disc multi play CD, Rear parking sensors, Driver and passenger electric seats, Multi function steering wheel with paddle shift gear change, 106,000 miles, Full service history, 7 stamps in the service book, Just had a cam belt and water pump fitted, 2 keys, 1 year MOT, HPI clear, Excellent finance options available, Comprehensive 3 year warranty options available, EXCEPTIONAL CONDITION THROUGHOUT

    • Mileage: 106000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
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