The TT 20th Anniversary Edition is a salute to Audi’s original kinetic sculpture
by Doug Clark //
The Audi TT looked like an instant classic at its U.S. launch 20 years ago. I should know, because I was there as a member of Audi of America’s public relations team. Designed as a powerful statement to deepen the emotion of the brand, it was described as “nothing less than mobile proof of Audi’s passion for the motor car.” Designer Freeman Thomas wanted an absolute shape, and he delivered it with an arresting profile led by the wheels. The strong circular form repeated throughout the interior and exterior, creating a car of distinction.
At its highest output, the original TT delivered 225 horsepower from its turbocharged 1.8-liter engine and applied it to the pavement sure-footedly, thanks to its available Quattro all-wheel drive. Never the fastest sports car in the segment, the TT nevertheless delivered in so many ways that made the driver smile. With distinctive design touches like real aluminum trim on the inside and nearly perfect ergonomics, the TT stood out.
So what can you expect from the 20th Anniversary Edition? A sports car, grown up. At a glance, it’s more sophisticated. The wheel-centric look has evolved to be more angular, more stealth fighter. As you would expect 20 years on from your first date, the car is bigger in almost every way. In roadster form, it’s 5.9 inches longer and 33 pounds heavier. Sit inside, and you notice the extra 4.3 inches of width and appreciate the space. Turn the key, and the engine purr tells you there is more on tap. Get out on the road, and you find the TT is faster to 60 mph by 0.7 second. I will say that this is the first car where the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles are not only in just the right place but also actually make the car more fun to drive.
So what’s different in this special edition compared with any other TT? First, it is limited to 999 units sold globally, with only 40 coupes and 40 roadsters coming to the U.S. The five-spoke wheel design, although it’s more modern and angular, will be recognizable to TT devotees. Equipped only with Quattro all-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic transmission, these limited-edition models are fitted with Moccasin Brown fine leather on the seats and steering wheel, a nod to the “baseball glove” interior of the first roadsters.
Only two colors are available, both shades of gray: Aviator Gray pearl effect and Nimbus Gray metallic. In addition to the exclusive paint colors, the TT 20th Anniversary Edition features a unique trumpet-style stainless-steel exhaust and OLED (organic light-emitting diode) taillights, currently only available on the TT RS. Special badges are found on the front fenders alongside matte-finish Audi rings etched in the rear sills. Inside, you’ll find the vehicle’s unique production number and a “TT 20 years” icon.
Is it a compelling package? Absolutely. Fans of the original TT, such as myself, will find the elements they loved, and they’re all grown up. Will new entrants to Audi like it? If you like attention to detail and a sports car that has it all with the benefit of legendary Quattro all-wheel drive, you’re home.