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Audi

SEE ALSO: Audi Buyer's Guide

2000 AUDI TT

By Tom Hagin

Audi Full Line Video footage (6:36)
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 30,500
Price As Tested                                    $ 33,500
Engine Type               DOHC 20-valve 1.8 Liter I4 w/MFI*
Engine Size                                 107 cid/1781 cc
Horsepower                                   180 @ 5500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               173 @ 4700 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                   95.4"/73.1"/159.1"
Transmission                              Five-speed manual          
Curb Weight                                     2937 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  14.5 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                   225/45R17 Performance  tires
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                        Four-passenger/two-door
Domestic Content                                        N/A
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                            22/31/25          
0-60 MPH                                        8.0 seconds
1/4 mile (E.T.)                     16.5 seconds @ 89.5 mph
Top speed                      (electronic limited) 130 mph

* Sequential multi-point fuel injection      

The Audi TT could have easily been yet another example of a concept car heavily altered when taken "mainstream," but it wasn't. It garnered so many accolades at Germany's prestigious Frankfurt Auto Show in 1995, the company decided to put it into production almost unchanged.

Built on the chassis of the Volkswagen Golf or New Beetle, the TT comes in hardtop and convertible form, with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This week we test a coupe with FWD.

OUTSIDE -Most concept cars end up vastly different in appearance from the vehicle sitting on display. The production TT of today, however, looks very close to the show car of 1995, the most noticeable difference being the addition of rear quarter windows, a move that no doubt improved visibility, and the enlarged air intake openings below the front bumper. The front and rear styling is unmistakably Audi. The company employed a new technique called "Laser Braising" to seamlessly attach the C-pillars to the body. The front and rear overhangs are very short, and the body seems literally stretched over the visually-dominant wheels. As part of Audi's Performance Package, our test casr was fitted with high-intensity xenon headlights and eight-spoke alloy wheels shod with 17-inch performance tires. The aluminum fuel filler cover is attached with genuine Allen screws, a motif that continues inside.

INSIDE -The TT's interior is made for spirited driving. The relationship between the instruments, seats, pedals and the gear selector are excellent. The seating position is low, and it's tough to climb aboard without contorting the body. Once inside, though, head and legroom is good, and the body-hugging seats are comfortable. Well- thought details are everywhere. Aluminum bezels surround the air vents on the dash, while the window switches are hidden inside the alloy cylinders of the door pulls. Even the foot pedals are polished alloy with black rubber cleats. Exposed tubes feeding the center dash vents are slotted to provide defrosting air to the windshield. On paper, the TT is a four-seater, but the back seat is only suitable for small kids or cargo. The rear seat flips down to open 24 cubic feet of space, with loading done through the flip-up hatchback.

ON THE ROAD -Power comes from a 1.8 liter four cylinder engine with dual overheads camshafts and five valves per cylinder. It's also turbocharged to produce 180 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain setup has been used recently by Audi in its A4 1.8T, and Volkswagen's New Beetle Turbo, although both have less power. And since the TT is such a light car at just under 3000 pounds, drivers can expect a 0-60 MPH time of under eight seconds. Our test car was front-wheel drive, and with it we felt some torque steer under hard acceleration. The TT also comes with quattro all-wheel drive, which should lessen the torque steer effect. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and coming soon is a 225-horse version with a six-speed, more turbo boost and the grippy Quattro system.

BEHIND THE WHEEL -The basic chassis the TT shares with its VW cousins is heavily modified, upgrades necessary in order to lower the ride and increase the tire size. Changes to the corporate four-link front suspension include forged lower control arms, new geometry and special bushings. The rear suspension on front-wheel drive models is a torsion-crank system, while quattro version have a much more sophisticated double wishbone setup. The rack-and-pinion steering system is light and tracks well on-center, with quick initial turn-in and lots of road feel. Body roll in hard corners is minimal, with a bit of understeer at the limit. The brakes are stellar: vented discs all around with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) as a standard feature. Also standard is Audi's ASR full-time traction control system.

SAFETY -Dual dashboard airbags, dual side-impact airbags and door beams, ABS, ASR and front seat belt pre-tensioners are all standard.

OPTIONS -Uplevel Bose-brand stereo: $1,200; Comfort Package (heated front seats, driver information system): $700; Performance Package (Xenon headlights, 17-inch wheels and tires) $1,000.

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