Pared-back Audi TT Sport has many very desirable traits, and had held its value well
Talk too loudly about the Mk1 Audi TT and you might hear sniggers of disapproval from nearby petrolheads. Why, you might then ask, are we featuring one as the Next Big Thing? Well, because if you look beyond the low-powered front-drive versions that were the big sellers, there’s one particular edition that stands out from the rest – the TT Sport.
Audi already had a pretty interesting fast‑TT package with the 247bhp 3.2 V6 quattro, but the Sport was based on the lighter 1.8T quattro, with power boosted from 222 to 237bhp. It was also developed by quattro GmbH – the division responsible for the development of the RS cars.
Big changes included a more aggressive styling package borrowed from the V6, plus 18-inch multispoke alloys and a gloss-black roof. Inside, the standard front seats were replaced by a pair of fantastic Recaro buckets, while in the rear was an aluminium strut brace, bringing an increase in body stiffness. An Alcantara steering wheel completed the interior transformation.
While power was up on the normal 1.8T, weight was dropped by around 75kg (to 1390kg), resulting in a quicker 0-62mph time of 5.9sec. The chassis was substantially firmed up, too. When evo magazine first tested the Sport in 2005, they declared that dead steering hobbled otherwise purposeful dynamics. A later experience with a long-term test car however, the team were smitten with the build quality and had grown to appreciate the high level of control and surefootedness.
In total Audi sold just 800 of the 1000 Sports originally planned for the UK. Today prices start at around £5000 for a high-mileage example, while the best are still being advertised at more than £10,000. With no sign of these figures softening, the TT Sport looks like a safe – and enjoyable – place to put your money. Or consider… Audi TT 3.2 V6 quattro
Looks almost as special and its 3.2-litre V6 engine (shared with the Golf R32) offers a much more pleasant soundtrack. It’s slower to 62mph, though. Porsche Boxster (987)
Porsche’s second-generation Boxster might lack the flamboyance of the TT Sport, but it counters with a sublime driving experience that the Audi can’t hope to match. ‘S’ models also pack considerably more punch. Nissan 350Z
A rival to the TT, but with a big V6 engine and a playful rear-wheel-drive chassis, the Nissan couldn’t be more different. It’s a bit of a junior muscle car in comparison.Words: Matthew Hayward // Images: evo magazine