Like the Audi Cabriolet which preceded its introduction, the TT Roadster lives in a strange no man’s land; traditional Audi folks usually aren’t very interested in them, and those from outside of Camp VierRinge (who generally hate Audis to start with) really dislike the TT. Most decry its lack of sport car attributes and claim it’s just a poseur for hairdressers and trophy wives.
That’s a shame, really. The 8N chassis might not make for an M3 killer, but it was a serious step up from the Cabriolet if you enjoy canyon carving. First off, it came with more power – in any configuration. While the B4 had droned on with the reliable but not powerful or exciting 2.8 liter V6, the 8N got turbo power from one of two 1.8T motors initially. Later in the run, as with the R32 they added the 3.2 liter VR6, and yes – you could get that in convertible. Unfortunately in the first gen TTs, the big horsepower came at a cost – it was a bit nose heavy and only available with the admittedly trick but also complicated dual-clutch DSG box here. So, if you’re really in need of the 6-cylinder powerplant, your better bet is to look towards the second generation TT; better driving dynamics were mated with the option for a 6-speed manual there.
But all is not lost on the first gen, because the 225 quattro is the real gem of the lineup. And, it’s quite affordable, all things considered. Towards the end of the run, they were heavily optioned up and even available in some wild colors:
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.
Alright, after a bit of a lengthy admission that we can’t cover all German cars or even all that we’re interested in, I’m going to present you with something a little different. SUVs scarcely come across these pages despite their popularity, but then hybrids also don’t usually make it on to the GCFSB search criteria. So by a “little different”, I mean a lot. A lot of weight, for starters, as this Q5 hybrid tips the scales with no passengers at a hefty 4,400 lbs. A lot of technology? Undoubtedly, the Ingolstadt engineers packed this car full of every gadget at their disposal, and then had at the engine to couple it with an electronic hybrid assist. A lot of color? That too, as the buyer of this Q5 hybrid took it to the next level and let Audi Exclusive paint it the interesting shade of Papaya Orange. That’s sure a lot of a lot to take in….
While the Audi TT isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I really respect the company for launching what was – at the time – a huge departure from it’s standard lineup. Remember, it was nearly 21 years ago that the TT Concept launched at the Frankfurt Auto Show. For perspective, while the Coupe quattro was long-gone from these shores, the B4 Coupe was still in production when the TT was first shown to the public. And when it launched way back in 1998, it was nothing short of a revolution compared to the outgoing model. Amazingly, Audi managed to keep nearly every aspect of the show car for the production model and the TT Roadster replaced the quite long in the tooth but pretty B4 Cabriolet. The new TT Roadster was offered in two configurations initially – hairy-chested 225 horsepower quattro and more hair-dresser 180 horsepower front drive form. Later, the 3.2 VR6 would be added in DSG dual-clutch quattro form only and it was this run that would round out Mk.1/8N TT production a decade ago next week. On its way out, the TT got even a bit more shouty when the company introduced a new color – Papaya Orange – to the lineup: