The year is 1995, and Audi are about to shock the motoring world at the Frankfurt Motor Show with their new, futuristic concept car, the TT. This was something a little different from Audi, who were venturing into previously uncharted waters with the radical 2+2 coupe. The sleek design had huge appeal and was a hit with journalists across the globe, and just three years later and the TT was in production. In 1998 the coupe was launched, followed a year later by the roadster. Both came with two variations of a punchy 1.8 litre turbocharged engine, providing 180 or 221bhp; the difference coming from a much larger turbocharger and associated adaptations fitted to the latter.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. From day one the TT wasn’t taken seriously by many, with car enthusiasts seeing it as more of an accessory than a genuine sports car. The image wasn’t helped by Clarkson’s 2003 review on Top Gear, where he spent most of the piece talking about hair products and taking fashion advice from Trinny Woodall. Not only that, the original 1.8 litre engine was deemed to be lacking in the speed department, falling behind the likes of the Nissan 350Z and the Porsche Boxster. To combat this, the line-up received a facelift in 2003, and at the same time a new 3.2 V6 version with 246bhp was introduced, along with a revolutionary new dual-clutch six speed DSG gearbox. Production of the original TT (Typ 8N), lasted three more years, eventually being replaced by the Mk2 in 2006.
Despite the image issues, the TT sold very well and upwards of 275,000 Mk1 cars were produced globally over the eight years. Not only was the exterior styling on point, but the interior was especially practical and appealing too. They were fun to drive and very well built; if looked after they rarely had any major issues, meaning they didn’t cost an arm and a leg to maintain.
As with any investment car, it’s wise to hunt down the best and rarest models to buy. In 2005 Audi produced a limited edition TT Quattro Sport, with only 800 units reaching UK shores. A lightweight version of the 1.8 turbo, with 240bhp and a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds meant these cars were very sought after from the get-go, and continue to be an increasingly elusive sight on the forecourts today.
So has this car finally come of age, and why are people now starting to sit up and take notice after all this time?
Looking to invest in a modern classic? Check out our new classifieds section here