April 8, 2000

2001 Audi TT Model Lineup
Article and Photos by Jason Teller

Everybody has undoubtedly played the game where boasting about one thing or another is eventually escalated to limitless heights.

"I would bet a million dollars."

"I would bet a billion!"

"No way, I'll bet you a trillion that I'm right..."

"I bet infinity."

"Ya, well I bet infinity plus one."

As applied to the automotive world, it would be appropriate to consider Audi's 180-hp TT in terms of infinity. The pure design, the driving excitement and the marriage of technology and performance make it an infinitely interesting vehicle to drive. What, then, can be said about the new 225-hp version of the TT? Infinity plus one pretty much sums it up.

As a guest of Audi of America at the TT Roadster press event this past week in Phoenix, AZ, I had the privilege of spending ample time behind the wheel of the various 2001 TT models. The Roadster was intended to be the star attraction, but from my point of view it was the beefed-up engine that really shined. And the combination of top-down Roadster and 225-hp engine was absolutely intoxicating!

I really like this concept of "infinity" and "infinity plus one" to describe the two engine types because it allows me to express how impressed I was with the 225-hp setup, without doing so at the expense of the 180-hp model. As a daily driver the 180-hp TT delivers spirited city driving and excellent highway fuel economy. I mean, let's put this into perspective. Audi essentially offers this same 1.8 liter turbo engine in the A4 1.8T model -- a car that is bigger and weighs about 200 more pounds. And in the current A4 it produces an output of only 150-hp. So the 180-hp TT is no slouch.

Where the 225-hp TT really makes a statement is during aggressive open-road driving. The car accelerates forcefully, especially in 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. And whereas you will find yourself downshifting often in the 180-hp TT when climbing steep and twisty roads, the 225-hp TT has that extra power in reserve. Steep climb? Just press the accelerator and go.

The beauty of these Audi-organized events is that they make sure that you really get to experience the cars. We started the morning with a short press briefing, hearing from Audi of America VP Len Hunt, as well as the marketing and technical folks. Thouroughly briefed about the cars (and dying to get out and drive), we left the hotel around 9:45 a.m. The course was a good mix of city driving, 4-lane highways and twisty hills through the desert. At planned stops throughout the day (including a fabulous barbeque lunch out in the middle of nowhere) we switched cars. All told we put about 200 total miles on a 180-hp front wheel drive TT Roadster, 225-hp quattro Roadster and a 225-hp quattro Coupe.

2001 TT Roadster

The main purpose of this press event was to introduce the TT Roadster to the North American media. As previously stated, Audi had the 180-hp fwd and 225-hp quattro versions at the event in both Nimbus Grey and Desert Green Pearl Effect.

Click here to read more about the TT Roadster


Bose Music Systems for Audi TT Coupe and Roadster

When Audi approached Bose about engineering a high-performance music system for their brand new TT, Bose engineers knew it could be done. It just required creativity -- and cooperation from their Audi counterparts.

Click here to read more about the Bose Music System

Misc. Tidbits from the Event

  • For the first time Audi provided more information about the debut of the restyled A4. We had been assuming that it would debut at the Paris Auto Show in September. However, I learned that the Paris show may be too early -- not because the car won't be ready, but because Audi does not want to completely kill off sales of the current body style. I now believe that we will see the new A4 at the Bologna Auto Show in early December. Europe will then see the car being sold by late December and the US will see the first sales in the fall of 2001.

  • The new body style A4 is expected to be slightly larger than the current car. Audi's comments about spy pictures that we showed them was "no comment". I also asked about a possible coupe or cabriolet version of this new A4 and was told "unlikely". Interestingly, in conversations about the viability of the A3/S3 in North America a potentially completely new car was mentioned. Sized between the A3 and new A4, this car would probably be styled as a coupe with a trunk (not a hatch like the A3). This unnamed car would then become the Cabriolet's replacement.

  • The allroad will definitely make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show later this month. Audi is planning on big things for the allroad in the US -- it is the biggest planned market for this car. North America will get only the 2.7T engine variant. Pricing and total units to be imported are not fixed yet, but they have a lot to do with each other. The lower the price, the higher the projected sales (obviously). Price should be well under $50K Usd. for the allroad, I'm thinking something around $43-45K.

  • The S8 is definitely coming to North America. Audi of America has confirmed that they plan to expand the S-car lineup in North America and I get the distinct feeling that this will be the next car we see -- yes, even in front of an S4 Avant. While the enthusiast crowd is screaming for an Avant version of the sporty S4, Audi is already selling them at a healthy clip in Europe and doesn't want or need to eat into the supply there (at least for now). The S8, on the other hand, probably represents the most highly engineered and performance-oriented "big sedan" in the world today. Audi will undoubtedly find buyers for all of the S8's they can grab -- and corner the ultra high-performance, luxury sedan market in the U.S. in the process.

  • Audi is now offering the "Audi Advantage" warranty on the 2001 TT's at 4-years or 50,000 miles. It is reasonable to expect that they will extend this feature to all MY 2001 models. Announcements will come out in May on this subject.