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End Of The Road For Audi TT

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Ingolstadt recently announced that after some 25 years of production, the Audi TT has reached the end of the road. A dedicated run-out TT known as the ‘Final Edition’ is destined to be an instant collector’s item on launch, and will hopefully be identifiable as a fitting swansong for what’s gone before.

In this blog, and as a fitting tribute to one of the most instantly recognisable roadsters out there, we present a timely retrospective on an automotive design icon which we’ve enthusiastically lived with for a quarter of a century.

The original first generation is widely acknowledged amongst people with more than just a passing interest in all things motoring as a Bauhaus-inspired masterpiece of style AND substance. And almost single-handedly changed the whole direction of Audi’s design language.

Whilst in silver, few could argue that it doesn’t to this very day still outwardly project some serious futuristic silhouettes, amid today’s Tron-esque design aspirations.

Even Hollywood Sat Up And Took Note Of The Audi TT….

The original TT was so influential after being unveiled that even Hollywood came calling when creating Will Smith’s vehicular transportation in the blockbusting sci-fi movie, ‘I, Robot’.

The Audi RSQ concept car driven by Smith’s character in the film was loosely based on that first iteration of the TT. Arguably more telling, was that it also paved the way for Audi’s tentative foray into supercardom; the R8.

But that’s another story altogether.

However, that first version of TT events undeniably became a seeming mainstay in the realms of popular culture per se. Putting in regular appearances in a raft of celluloid guises. Not least as Hugh Grant’s character, Will’s preferred mode of man-about-town transportation in the adaptation of Nick Hornby’s best-selling book, ‘About a Boy’.

Continuing the ‘man-about-town’ associations with the TT, Jeremy Clarkson famously lampooned what he perceived to be the ‘typical’ TT owner when in one particular ‘Top Gear’ episode he took an entire evening making his wardrobe selections a laborious affair ahead of a fictitious night out (INSERT LOL EMOJI HERE).

While this was clearly played for laughs, like most things in society, the unjust stereotypical mud was sticking nevertheless.

With detractors wasting little time in throwing the predictable ‘hairdresser’s car' tag in the TT’s general direction.

Yet the TT was anything but; and proved an instant hit with men and women from all walks of life. Hair salons and otherwise.

Just how much the TT was becoming coveted was reflected in the phalanx of glowing reviews and awards it garnered. There were precious few respected automotive publications that didn’t place the TT high up their considered echelons of Top 10 lists in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

But Was/Is The TT Ever More Than An Abject Lesson In Aesthetics?

When the dust covers were ceremoniously whipped off the concept car version of the Audi TT at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show (see above image), rival car manufacturers instantly knew they were witnessing the inception of something special.

Although the TT breadcrumb trail unofficially began further back in the annals of time than that, after American car designer, J Mays described the revealing of his creation - the Audi Avus Quattro concept car - at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show as retro-futuristic.

The unpainted, brushed alloy body that brandished curves that were beyond the wildest imaginations of auto designers in the late 1980’s.

The word, ‘revolutionary’ was soon - and justifiably - bandied around, yet having more credence than the usual marketing blurb tends to intonate. Right then and there, this unapologetically Bauhaus-derived Teutonic 2+2 set the tone by which pretenders to Audi’s roadster crown measured their own achievements.

An Actual Driver's Car

In the historically tense and hard-fought sports car sector where even the most celebrated of marques jostle for attention, the TT quickly made in-roads with car people who knew their onions. And never fell for the superficial lure of bells and whistles alone.

With the self-same (and acclaimed) motoring journalists alluded to earlier talking platitudes about the TT and positioning it as much more of a ‘driver’s car’ than any critics would want you to believe.

More than that, the TT promptly established itself as both a pioneer of the genre and subsequently a force to be reckoned with going forward.

But it wasn’t without a few teething problems.

Arguably most prominent of which was the original TT’s well-documented stability issues. Whereby sans spoiler attached to the boot, driver’s talked animatedly about alarmingly compromised road-holding in excess of 100mph.

Abrupt lane changes and sharp turning episodes triggered a prompt response from Audi. The resultant rear lip spoiler coupled with the four ring manufacturer’s electronic stability program (ESP) ironed out previous worries.

Was The Exterior Writing Cheques That The Interior Couldn’t Cash?

On the contrary.

The TT’s interior from the outset took up where the exterior left off, in terms of industrially-savvy instrumentation design accents. The proliferation of titanium circles are impossible to ignore (air vents, gearknob gator surround, etc), while elsewhere one of the niftiest features is the hidden radio. Secreted beneath a brushed aluminium cover which is accessed by touch.

An overtly minimalist feel is omnipresent throughout the original TT; something which was handed down to the following generations. This antithesis of the 90’s obsession with multiple switchgear, in-your-face tech and general cabin overloads made for a refreshing change of pace.

The Audi TT design team drew its influences from a myriad of sources, which enveloped the spheres of music, architecture and fashion, to foster a very leftfield cockpit ambience. The world of baseball was borrowed heavily from too, with the seats said to resemble a baseball glove. Materials and stitching reflecting this influence.

One of the TT design team, Romulus Rost who pushed the baseball themes, wanted occupants to 'become at one' with the car.

Which explains why the seats are shaped like said sports gloves.

And What’s A TT Like To Drive?

The Audi TT has never pretended to be a hardcore track hooligan.

It’s not in its nature to be.

That being said, the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ versions which followed through the successive three regenerations were with true pedigree. And certainly packed a seismic punch when the going got tough.

Then there were the uber rare special editions. The one which springs to immediate mind being the 240 QS in the first gen TT form. Elsewhere, the TT RS40 and the RS ‘Iconic Edition’ rate highly and much sought after by TT aficionados.

TT End Game

Which leads us to this end-game run-out model in the Audi TT timeline; the highly-specified and aptly-named, ‘Final Edition’.

Offering exclusive design touches, the TT Final Edition is visually distinguished by a black styling pack, teamed with black Audi rings and badging. Along with black door mirrors. And black tailpipes. And a fixed rear spoiler. Also finished in, you guessed it; black.

There’s also privacy glass (also pretty much black), and brake calipers that make the Final Edition. In red, just to buck the black trend.

Which are housed behind 20-inch 5-spoke Y-style alloys, which are matt grey and diamond cut. The TTS versions of the Final Edition frequent 7-spoke anthracite black alloys with gloss turned finish. Exterior body metallic colours for the Final Edition are a three-way choice between Tango Red, Glacier White and Chronos Grey.

On the inside, everything from arm rests in the doors, pull handles and centre console trim are all leather-finished as part of the extended ‘leather pack’.

Meanwhile, an alcantara steering wheel with contrasting Tango Red stitching is unique to the TT Final Edition, together with red inserts on the seats, air vents, floor mats and centre console.

A raft of in-car tech and infotainment systems are also included in the TT Final Edition package, primarily the Comfort and Sound Pack.

The Audi TT Final Edition goes on sale in March, priced from £41,910, and offered as either a coupe or roadster (inc, the high performance TTS), with first customer deliveries due in April.

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