At first glance, you might find the nomenclature intriguing, but that’s what makes the Audi TT lineup so uniquely exciting. Picture yourself behind the wheel of the Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition, where every element harmoniously blends to create an unparalleled driving sensation.
Back in November, I took a look at one of the more slick 8Ns out there – the ALMS Edition:
Today we’re back with a similar model, but this one has been turned up quite a few notches with some high-dollar parts from a veritable who’s who in the Audi/VW tuning realm. Does it retain the great aspects of the original?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 Quattro ALMS Edition on eBay
This 8N sold for $9,350 on November 10, 2021.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late 90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTI, GLI, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4, and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and youâ€™d find many more models (the A6 and Sharan) and even other companies (VAGâ€™s Skoda and SEAT) with the venerable motor. They were used in race series like Formula Palmer as well. Youâ€™d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same â€“ however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldnâ€™t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted transversely, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower in the early 1990s and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TT Sport. The natural assumption would be to think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the higher horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure.
There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, crank, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs here; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. Iâ€™ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, Iâ€™d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audiâ€™s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with extended Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18â€³ â€˜Celebrationâ€™ alloys and were limited to 500 examples each:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition on eBay
If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.
And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT 225 quattro ALMS Edition on eBay
I watched this past weekend’s Le Mans with diminished interest compared to the past few years. The loss of the great champion Audi narrowed the likelihood of overall victory to a two-horse race. And within that duo was one horse who, if it didn’t have bad luck, would have no luck at all. To be honest, I was rooting for Toyota to finally come good on their promise of the (gasp) last 30 years of racing at Le Mans.
Of course, the curse of Toyota struck once again and with a vengeance, leaving Porsche to smirk in their pits until an equal fate befell them. It would have been Audi’s year, almost for certain, had some engineers not decided to push the limits of diesel technology.
It brought me back to the golden era of Audi’s dominance; the early R8 period, when the cars seemed unstoppable in endurance racing. So successful was the company in making the leap to Le Mans that they generated a special model just to celebrate; two alternate color options for the 2002 Audi TT 225 Coupe. All were laoded manual quattro coupes only in 225 horsepower form; the only choice you had was whether you wanted Misano Red Pearl Effect with Silver Gray Nappa leather interior or Avus Silver Pearl Effect with Brilliant Red leather. As like the rest of the S-Line models of this period, the TT also got a special set of “Celebration” alloy wheels inspired by the RS4 design. Lastly, you got a commemorative sticker and a membership to the Automobile Club de L’Oeust for a year.
While no performance gains were to be had, these smart looking 8Ns are still among the more favored examples of the first generation TT – and this one might be the best out there.