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
Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. Itâ€™s old, with the last of the first generation produced 15 years ago and its replacement â€“ the 8J â€“ has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesnâ€™t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where theyâ€™re nearly given away â€“ quite seriously, thereâ€™s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable – and BaT recently has sold a few low mileage examples at or over $20,000. Today’s duo of quattros aren’t nearly as clean or low mileage, but they’re also a lot cheaper. Which would you take?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro on eBay
VAGâ€™s decisions on who would be able to shift their own gears have always been a bit confusing, but the period of the 3.2 VR6 is really where this came to a head for U.S. customers. In 2004, Volkswagen brought their hottest Golf (finally!) to our market, featuring the singing VR6 in 6-speed manual only form with the R32. Great, but Audi offered the same platform in slinkier TT 3.2 Quattro form. However, fans of manual shifting were overlooked as Audi opted to bring the top TT here only with DSG. This carried over to the A3 model range, where you could get a 3.2 quattro but only with the DSG box.
When it came to the next generation, VAG opted to change this formula. As it had been a fan favorite, youâ€™d assume that the R32 would retain the same layout. But no, Volkswagen removed the manual option and the Mk.5 based R32 became DSG-only. So that would hold true in the bigger budget, typically more tech-heavy TT too, right? Wrong, as in the 2nd generation, Audi finally opted to allow buyers to select a manual in either Coupe or Roadster form: