2005 Audi TTEnlarge Photo
If you dig Deco style and don't mind sporty--as opposed to sportscar--performance, take a look at the used Euro of the day, the first-generation Audi TT, which ran from 2000 through 2005.
Despite what is now more than a decade-old design, this curvaceous Audi remains one of the freshest-looking sporty coupes on the road today. Considering the greatly depreciated price of admission, this has become one of the more affordable and attractive options in the used luxo-coupe market.
The TT was available in many configurations. The base engine was a turbo 1.8-liter mill that is very similar to the widely known Volkswagen 1.8T used in various models. In this base configuration, the TT came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive, and 180 horsepower.
Two, more powerful engines were optional. First there is a more powerful version of the small 1.8-liter turbo found in the base model. This engine utilizes a larger turbocharger and increased boost pressure to make 225 horsepower in factory form. This engine was mated to a far superior six-speed manual transmission and came standard with Audi’s venerable quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Starting in 2003, the TT was made available with Volkswagen’s 3.2-liter VR6 powerplant. This 240-horsepower, naturally aspirated six-cylinder would be the same engine that would eventually appear in the Volkswagen R32 sport hatch. In the TT, this engine was available with only one transmission; Volkswagen’s DSG dual-clutch automatic. While this transmission is a technological marvel with lightning-fast shifts, it still remains to be seen just how durable these are over the long term. Replacement parts for this transmission are not cheap, nor is the labor to work on it. For this reason, the Audi TT with the upgraded 1.8-liter engine and tight six-speed manual transmission is the most desirable powertrain combination available.
The first-generation TT was also available as both a coupe and a roadster. If you’re a driving enthusiast, you should only be looking at the coupe. The roadster offers fun summer cruising, but little else, at the expense of performance. The drop-top adds more than 200 pounds of curb weight to the car, while removing structural rigidity that is essential for at-the-limit handling. The coupe is also more attractive, with lines that flow more gracefully and a look that screams Porsche more so than it does Volkswagen.
Perhaps the most attractive part of this vehicle is the current value. According to Kelly Blue Book, a 2000 Audi TT coupe with the 225-horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission will cost you around $9,000 in excellent condition with a reasonable 80,000 miles. Buyers should be on the lookout for TTs with the optional baseball glove leather interior which is both durable and sexy. All TTs came standard with a plethora of safety features as well, including six airbags (dual front, front side, and side curtain), anti-lock brakes, and traction control. Optional equipment included a powerful Bose stereo, six-CD changer, and various wheel upgrades.
If modifying vehicles is your game, there is a vast wealth of information available on Vwvortex.com. There is an Audi TT-specific forum, but many performance parts for Volkswagens will fit the TT, making it a great choice for many types of buyers.