| TT Road Trip - by John Stahmann
When I first saw the Audi TT Coupe and TTS Roadster prototypes back in autumn of 1995, it was love at first sight. I devoured anything I could get my hands on about the cars - AutoWeek's article in March of 1996, and Car and Driver's article in April of 1996 to name some of the first. I was especially excited about the design of the cars. Audi had come up with something awesome, and hopefully they would have the guts to actually produce the car.
Fast forward to late summer, 1998. I was given the opportunity to sample a 180 hp quattro version of the TT coupe. The experience left my mouth watering for more. I couldn't wait for the car to come out so that I could have one of my own.
Now it's summer 1999, and the TT has been released. I'd taken some test drives in a couple of the cars, but I soon would get the test drive of a lifetime - a cross country trip in a new TT Coupe.
The TT I would be driving was sold by Ken Garff Audi in Provo, Utah and would be driven to its new owner at 1552 Design (formerly VW Sport USA) in Alexandria, Virginia.
I planned on leaving on Monday morning from my home in Salt Lake City.
I picked up the car from Jamie Jensen at Ken Garff Audi on Saturday afternoon. The first problem with the car developed soon afterward. After a test drive with Matt Daniels, it had gotten dark and I was going to head home, but a few minutes after I turned the headlights on, the left side parking light circuit fuse blew. I called Jason Dale, one of the Techs from Ken Garff Audi, and ended up taking the car in to the dealer on Monday morning to figure out what was up. After a few hours, they were unable to find the cause of the short, so the parking light was disconnected from the tail light, and I was on the road. The brake lights and turn signals still worked, so we figured I'd be ok. Most driving would be done during the daylight anyway, so I was on my way.
Monday - 10:45 AM - Leave Ken Garff Audi Service Department.
2:40 PM - Grand Junction, Colorado
5:25 PM - Eisenhower Tunnel, Colorado
7:45 PM - Golden, Colorado
Tuesday - 8:15 AM - Denver
10:40 AM - Bethune, Colorado
3:30 PM - Middle of Nowhere, Kansas
4:59 PM - Topeka, Kansas
9:34 AM - St. Charles, Missouri
11:34 AM - Lerna, Illinois
3:00 PM - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Indianapolis, Indiana
4:00 PM - Indianapolis, Indiana
10:51 AM - I-68 in West Virginia
12:40 PM - Hancock, Maryland
3:20 PM - Capital Beltway
The TT coupe ended up being a very comfortable car to drive cross-country. On the Freeway, the car felt pretty much like my A4. In fact, the best parts of the trip were when I was off the Interstate freeways winding through back roads. The 180 hp engine has plenty of power to make the car a lot of fun to drive, and the handling is great for a front wheel drive car. On the flip side, the only real complaint I have is with the seatbelt. After 2 days in the car, the seatbelt started to make my left shoulder sore. The belt mounts below shoulder level behind the driver, so you begin to feel like you're wearing a backpack on one side. Other than the seatbelt, electrical problem, and screw falling out of the dash, the car was flawless.
Overall, the TT coupe is an excellent car. It's sporty, peppy, and people can't help but look at it. The interior design makes you want to just sit in the car and touch everything, and the exterior looks like the car is begging to move. The most amazing thing I found is that unlike a lot of cars, with the TT you don't have to be driving fast to enjoy the experience - It's great just for cruising.
Ken Garff Audi
1552 Design (formerly VW Sport USA)