Audi TT guide

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Buying an Audi TT
When Audi launched the TT back in 1998, it transformed the image of the company overnight. Audis suddenly became sexy and the sporty TT looked like a road-legal concept car. Everybody wanted one, with the coupe and later convertible models flying out of the showrooms. Even today, clean Mk1 cars still look as modern and fresh as the moment they left the factory. Earliest models might be getting on for 16 years old, but buying one today is no problem at all as long as you make a few basic checks. The first thing to work out is which model you want. Matthew Hayward from Evo magazine takes you through what to look for.
Audi TT early coupe model
Audi TT background information
Based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf Mk4, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, the Mk1 Audi TT shares many components with its lesser Volkswagen Group stablemates. It was launched initially in coupé form in late 1998, with the cabriolet coming along in late 1999. Early cars came with the popular 178bhp or 222bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged engine.
Audi’s four-wheel drive Quattro system was standard on the top model, but only available as an option on the lower powered variants. The Haldex four-wheel drive system offers a huge traction advantage over front-wheel drive models, with added security in wet and wintry conditions. 
Audi TT Quattro Sport
Updates
Audi updated the TT in 2003 with a minor facelift, but other than a few small changes (grille, wheels, windscreen wipers and interior trim, to name a few things) little else changed. Later cars also brought in the option of a 3.2-litre V6 engine, along with either a manual or an early version of the company’s dual-clutch transmission (DSG). One of the most sought after models was the later limited edition TT Sport, which brought in a more powerful 237bhp 1.8T engine and reduced the weight, lowering the 0-62mph figure to 5.7 seconds as a result.
Audi TT late coupe model
What to look out for when buying
As with any used car, there are always basic checks to make when you’re thinking about buying.

A simple HPI check will reveal any previous insurance incidents or outstanding finance and if unsure about anything, it’s best to consult a mechanic or Audi specialist.
Audi TT engine
Engine and Transmission
As a rule of thumb, the four-cylinder 1.8T engine is fundamentally one of the most reliable of its kind and, as long as the service history stacks up and services carried out on time, it should easily go on for more than 200,000 miles before needing major attention. The cam belt should be replaced at 80,000 miles or every five years. Thankfully, the V6 is equally as bulletproof, with a noisy cam chain being the only real cause for concern. If it does need replacement, expect to budget at least £1000 for the engine-out job. Servicing generally costs more, however.

Manual transmissions are extremely robust, with clutches due for replacement at around 100,000 miles. As the DSG transmission was Volkswagen’s first, there can be issues with the ‘Mechatronic’ (ECU) unit, but specialists should be able to fix most problems at a fraction of an Audi main dealer’s price.
Audi TT Roadster
Suspension and brakes
Due to the slightly hefty weight of the Audi TT, both suspension and brakes can wear heavily. Be sure to test drive the car on a good selection of roads, listening for any clunks or rattles from the suspension.

If there are noises, the wishbones or front anti-roll bar will most likely need to be replaced due to wear. The brakes are often criticised for their slightly poor performance, but up-rated discs and pads are relatively cheap, so make a worthwhile upgrade.
Audi TT interior
Any bodywork or electrical issues?
Thankfully, there’s little to worry about with the bodywork. Major corrosion is extremely rare, but older examples are starting to see more widespread paint issues due to age, so check carefully for any imperfections. Bigger problems are likely down to accident damage repairs.
It’s also important to inspect the condition of alloy wheels, as most are likely to have been kerbed at some point. The interior is generally well built, although there are known problems with the dashboard electronics failing, causing the central display unit to malfunction. As always, check that everything is in good working order, including electric windows and heated seats. Warning lights could always be a sign of impending trouble, so always treat with caution and seek specialist advice.
How much will it cost?
Compared to cars of a similar age, the Audi TT has held its value especially well. The earliest high-mileage models start from a very reasonable £1,500, but will most likely need money spending to get them up to scratch. The 225 models are by far the most common, but the lower-powered 180 and later-introduced 150 models offer the cheapest — and perhaps most sensible — way to a TT.

£2,500 to £3,500 should bag a very nice 1998–2003 four-cylinder car. Higher-mileage V6 models are also available in this price range, although the best examples can fetch between £5,000 and £6,500. Later face-lifted cars generally cost more, although it’s getting to the stage where people buy much more on condition than age. Highly prized Quattro Sport models — of which just 800 were sold in the UK— start from around £7,000, but could cost upwards of £10,000 for the very best.
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