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Long-term review

Audi TT - long-term review

£46,525 / as tested £50,615 / PCM £774
Published: 10 Nov 2023
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Audi TT Mk3: celebrating one of the best car cabins ever designed

Only a handful of you will agree with this, partly because so few Audi TTs are finding homes these days, and also partly because nobody in the car world can agree on anything other than the unremitting awfulness of the Mitsubishi Mirage. 

So here goes: the Mk3 TT’s cabin is one of the best modern car interiors ever designed. 

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My colleague Ollie Kew once made the case for the last-generation Audi A3 to take that honour for recent interior excellence, and the same principle holds here. This TT’s insides – the last time we’ll see such insides – are refreshingly easy to navigate, have brilliant ergonomics and feel very solidly put together, at least on our brand-new test car. 

So that’s the headline. But as ever, it’s in the detail where the TT really shines. Specifically, one rather large detail. 

The Mk3 TT was the first Audi to feature the ‘Virtual Cockpit’: a digital display replacing the analogue dials of old, able to be infinitely configured to show exactly what you need and nothing more. It was later rolled out across the entire Audi range and was a benchmark for a clear, easy-to-use driver display. 

Speaking of easy-to-use, the seat heater’s a simple button push on a brilliantly designed air vent for each side. In the middle of the dash – where today in most cars you’d find aforementioned frozen touchscreen – you instead find three lovely air vents with physical button controls at their centres. One does the fan speed. One does the temperature. One does the air recirculation. Lovely. 

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More buttons adorn the multifunction steering wheel, with an important ‘return’ button, and super simple audio controls (left/right buttons centred with a volume scroll, magic). Toppier spec TTs – like the TTRS – even get a big red starter button which is quite cool. 

Indeed all the touchpoints feel cool, and expensive, and the entire cabin is perhaps the best iteration of this concept Audi first introduced back in 1998 with the first TT. Here’s that cabin below. 

Audi TT MKI

The broad brush strokes are there: those air vents, a comparatively pared-back number of buttons, everything where you need it to be. Sure, it looks like a slightly tarted-up Mk4 Golf, but then… that’s exactly what it was in those days. The second-generation TT cabin, interestingly, did have a screen at its centre. Here it is. 

Audi TT MKII

Not a touchscreen of course, just a display with a row of buttons running underneath which must have felt like you were controlling an aircraft. Such hedonism! Though it’s still a good cabin, those analogue dials and those rotary temperature and fan buttons – while great – feel cluttered against the simplicity of the Mk3.  

Because all the info you need is in the centre. OK, so it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which does date it a little, and the graphics of the Virtual Cockpit now feel like a few years old. But these are minor gripes. You don’t need reams of information being blasted into your face, you need to focus on driving a heavy box of pistons and gears on the public highway. Just be thankful said box isn’t a Mitsubishi Mirage. 

So, the Mk3 TT’s cabin: one of the best that ever did it.

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