Farewell, Audi TT: life with the TT Final Edition
While it’s a cheery ‘hello’ to the Top Gear fleet’s newest member, philosophically it’s actually a ‘goodbye’. Following 25 years of service – a trailblazing chorus of applause which slowly, over time, diminished into an interested ‘huh, nice’ – Audi’s venerable TT Coupe has reached the end of its natural life. No more TT. This is it.
And lo, meet the Audi TT Final Edition. It’s not the range-topper – that honour resting in the five-cylinder heart of the TT RS – but instead sits “towards the top of the TT’s specification range”, according to Audi. As such, this Final Edition we’re running comes in ever-confusing ’45 TSFI’ guise. Perhaps in its next life, Audi could return to a clearer model nomenclature.
So, 45 TFSI. That means a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, producing 242bhp and 273lb ft of torque. Obviously! Decent totals when you factor in quattro and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. Decently quick for a mediumly-warm coupe too: 0-62mph takes 5.1s, and it’ll run to 155mph flat out. After all, if you want indecently quick, there’s always that RS.
Why should you want this version, then? Cheaper than an RS, obviously, and the TT’s appeal has primarily been its silhouette. Audi reckons this third-gen car carries the original’s ‘elegant simplicity’. It’s not far off. The TT remains a really clean, uncluttered design. Though, the Final Edition trim sullies the Bauhaus vibe the company is so keen to reference because a fixed rear wing doesn’t exactly scream ‘minimalism’.
Aside from that wing and the monster 20in alloys riding on what looks like – and feels like – painted on rubber (perhaps tyre sidewall is the ‘minimalism’ Audi references), it’s a fairly subtle spec. Black detailing on the outside. Lots of leather inside. Red stitching. A Bang & Olufsen stereo and Audi’s tech pack as standard.
First impressions? As an item that you live with, something to pretend you’re Hugh Grant in About a Boy with, it’s an extremely well-polished (literally and metaphorically) product. Audi’s superlative interior quality continues to amaze. The wheels are massive, the tyres terrifyingly low profile. It rides firmly, even in Comfort mode. And most importantly, after three generations and 25 years, it still looks really cool.
A shame then, perhaps, that nobody’s buying small coupes anymore. Audi UK sold 2,672 TTs in 2022, which accounted for 33 per cent of global TT sales. Do the sums against the backdrop of 110,193 cars Audi sold across its entire portfolio in the UK last year, and the TT’s end comes as no surprise. Especially since – once more for the back row – everybody and their dog only wants an SUV these days.
So this is less a ‘hello’, more a ‘fare thee well’. We’ll be spending the next six months examining the TT’s appeal, why it was an important car for Audi – indeed how it helped change the company’s image and the success it has enjoyed since – and why, after 25 years, it doesn’t deserve to recede into an interested ‘huh, that’s nice’ footnote.