I wasn’t looking to find such a lust-worthy car for so little money, but here it is. A 2005 Audi TT with the very very desirable combination of the original body style and superior VR6 engine.
This car is already a classic. One of Feeeman Thomas’ many iconic designs, the original TT was unlike any sports car that had come before it. When it was launched it was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award in 2000 and was on Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for 2000 and 2001. It had the potential to become as iconic and desirable as the Porsche 911.
Unfortunately, even if the design was uncompromised, the engineering was. The TT used a chassis compromised to work across many of VW group’s main-stream products (the Group A4 (PQ34) platform) including the Golf Mk4 and second-generation Audi A3. This assured the TT had plenty of understeer, handled like a sedan, weighted more than its competitors, and had the steering feel of a budget car. This first-generation car was the first Audi to be built in Hungary, and the teething pains are obvious. The quality of these seemed to vary from unit to unit. Some are robust and reliable, others have seemingly needed everything replaced twice.
The result was a car that looked great but drove and felt bland. In 2003 I drove a TT and Boxter back to back and there was no question which was. a better car. For as good as the TT looked, it was an unpleasant experience to drive.
However, perspectives change when you’re considering a 15-year old vehicle and I’d buy this one over an equivalent Boxter without a second thought. All the things that detracted from the TT when new look like advantages when the car is very used. The use of common parts means that it’s easy and fairly inexpensive to find replacements. The fact they were not very fast means few were tracked or even driven very hard. All the quality issues they had means the weakest parts of the car might have been replaced under warrantee.
As a last hurrah for this body style, Audi crammed their next-gen engine and transmission into the first-gen TT. True Audi TT fans look for the earliest models that lack a spoiler, maintaining the purity of the design. However, I would trade that detail for the safety it provides and the power of this VR6.