|July 17, 2000
AudiWorld Review: 2001 225 TT quattro Coupe
To the east, mountains, with countless roads winding through the canyons. To the west, desert, where it's possible to find perfectly straight roads for miles on end without another car in site. In front of me, a 2001 225 TT quattro coupe. To some this may not to be a major dilemma, but the TT makes these things hard to figure out. Fortunately, I got to review this TT for a full two weeks so I got to do both. Life can be hard sometimes.
The TT was delivered to me in Aviator Grey with Ebony leather interior. The Aviator Grey definitely takes some getting used too. For the first week I didn't care for it at all, it looks like somebody painted a clear coat over primer grey, but by the end of my review I really liked the uniqueness of the color. Included options on this test car were the Premium and Audio Packages, bringing the MSRP, including destination charge, to $39,300.
This was the first TT that I've driven since the 2000 180 quattro I reviewed last fall. As most know, since that time Audi has revised the suspension set up and added a rear spoiler. These modifications were made after concerns of instability at high speeds. Many TT owners have complained that the modifications make the car too soft, and not as sporting. I have to admit though; it didn't seem all that different to me in normal everyday driving. Of course, after eight months between reviews, it's kind of hard to compare the differences. In my opinion the TT is still one of the best handling cars I've driven.
My first weekend with the car I took a drive through the mountains in northern Utah. Joining me were two local Audi owners, one in a '00 S4 the other in a chipped A4 1.8T. In my review of the 180-hp TT quattro, I commented that it could have used more power when tackling the mountain roads. With the 225 hp TT, I had no such desire; it always had plenty of power no matter what situation I was in. It also had no trouble keeping pace with the higher horsepower S4. During hard curves is when I could tell the difference in the suspension set up, more than a few times I could feel the rear starting to slip when being pushed to the limit, I don't recall that sensation when driving the 180 TT.
During one of the straight areas that we encountered, there was no trouble reaching top speed, even with the S4 breathing down my neck. Interestingly, the chipped A4 kept up fairly well during this show of excess speed, once back in the curves though, it was no contest. Our day was capped off with a stop at Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border, a late lunch in Logan, then back to the main freeway where we went our separate ways.
On this drive through the mountain roads I discovered a major annoyance with this particular car; there was a loose object in the dash that would roll from one side to the other in hard turns. I never know what kind of abuse these press cars are under before I receive them, but this rattle seemed excessive for a car with only 3000 miles on it.
For the rest of the week, the TT was my daily driver, and it performs this task remarkably well. Even city driving becomes fun in a TT, although seeing stop lights can be kind of tricky from the low roof. I'm still amazed at the number of people that still stare at this car, I would think people would be getting used to the site of them by now. Maybe it was just the battleship grey color that was making them look.
The following weekend I decided to go the opposite direction than I went the weekend before. This time I headed west into the desert. I briefly thought about going to the Bonneville Salt Flats, but in the end I found a road leading out to the bombing range for Hill Airforce Base. Other than a gravel pit near the start of the road, there was absolutely nothing on this road until reaching the bombing range some 40 miles way. Since most of the road was straight, it was a good chance to really stretch its legs.
Audi claims a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds. Since I don't have any testing equipment to properly record my times, I don't know how close I came to that, but I can tell you that I gave it my best shot! At high speeds, around 140 mph or so, I was quite amazed at the stability and smoothness of the TT. I was able to hold this speed for a few minutes before having to slow down and it never felt like I was going that fast. This is one car that is definitely comfortable driving either on the highway or in the twisty mountains.
Near the end of my two weeks with the TT I was starting to be amazed at the gas mileage that it was getting. It had been 2-3 days since it was last filled up and it still indicated that it had a full tank. Then while sitting at a stoplight, I happened to catch the gas needle jump from a full tank, to ¾ tank and back again. It would do this 3-4 times then stay at the full tank for a few minutes before doing it again. A few owners on the TT forum complained about this when I inquired about the problem. Needless to say, it doesn't look like the A6 quattro is the only Audi suffering from inaccurate gas gauges.
I called the 180 TT "near perfect" when I first reviewed it and my opinions haven't changed at all. I don't feel the new suspension set up has affected the overall feel and excitement of the car, at least not for me. I love the 6-speed shifter, it feels absolutely amazing. In fact, I had to order a short shifter kit for my A4 shortly after because I was so in love with the TT's. The acceleration of this 225 version is available at any speed, whether off the line or on the highway, if you needed power, it was there.
I don't recall the minor annoyances I mentioned in my 180 TT review; the steering wheel position being too low and the center bar intruding on my right leg. Maybe I was just used to them this time.
Anyway you look at it, the TT is an awesome machine no matter which engine you get. I haven't driven a TT Roadster yet, but I should be reviewing on in the near future. I'm sure that car will be just as fun as the coupe models, but I'll just be able to get a little more sun.