Around the time that Volkswagen was resurrecting the Beetle, Audi was preparing a sporty little 2-seater that many enthusiasts associated with the New Beetle in manner similar to the way the Porsche 356 is viewed in relation to the original Beetle.
The Audi TT came along 20 years ago, about a year after the New Beetle was introduced (both used the Golf platform at the time), first as a coupe and then as a roadster, about a year later. From the start, they were beloved for their cuteness, nimbleness and consistent delivery of performance and smiles.
Now in its third generation, the new TTs will commemorate the originals with “TT 20 Years” limited-edition (999 worldwide) anniversary models, in addition to the customary model-year styling, equipment and power updates.
Visually, the new model features a 3D Singleframe hexagonal grille, flanked by larger side air intakes, Xenon headlights (LED on S line and Black Editions) folding side mirrors, new wheels, and new exterior colours. The S line and Black editions add a new front splitter, flanked by vertical inlets, side sills with inserts, new wheels (19-inch on S; 20-inch on Black) new rear diffuser, a fixed rear spoiler in place of the speed-deployable version (though that can be reinstated as a no-cost option), rear air inlets below the taillights, and a unique Turbo Blue exterior paint has been added to the palette (Cosmos Blue and Pulse Orange have been made available to the entire TT line).
Interior enhancements include heated seats (Super Sport on S) in leather and Alcantara, new Audi Virtual Cockpit (with new sport readouts for forces, power and torque) and driver selected dynamic handling, among others. The S and Black editions get a new Technology Pack that includes a 3-year subscription to various Audi Connect services and wireless charging. The Black Edition gets Piano Black inlays and new Chrome Slate Grey trim pieces.
On the power front, the base 1.8-litre engine that has been with the line from the start has been replaced by a 194-hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder. It comes with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch automatic. The entry-level models are available in front-wheel drive, otherwise its Quattro across the board.
The existing optional 2.0-litre “four” gets a horsepower boost to 241 (an increase of about 6.5%).
The standard sport suspension is upgraded to “S-specific” in the S line and Black Edition, reducing the ride height by 10 mm, while adding magnetic ride-adaptive damping. Progressive steering is enhanced with wheel-selective torque control that brakes the unladen wheels in corners.
Other driver assistance technologies include active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and parking assist.
On TT 20 Years limited editions are available in Arrow Grey or Nano Grey (like the originals), with seats finished in moccasin brown Nappa leather (mean to pay tribute to the originals’ “baseball leather” upholstery. “TT 20 years” badges are, of course, presented at various spots inside and out.
Ordering begins in the fall, for late 2018 deliveries.