Most parents with two youthful boys would have been shopping for a spacious, functional SUV, or perhaps an even more useful minivan. Rather, my mom and dad acquired a 2002 Audi TT.
Blame my father, who’d grown weary of driving a massive Jeep Grand Cherokee for decades, and yearned for a sports car. Admittedly, the TT wasn’t at the prime of his checklist when he commenced searching.
The then-new Nissan 350Z was what he genuinely required. But fact hit, and the two-seat Z gave way to a 4-seat Audi TT coupe. You are unable to say my father did not sacrifice for his family.
Nonetheless, there was a single concession my previous guy refused to make: having just about anything a lot less than the most potent TT (at the time) out there. This meant forgoing the entry-level front-push product and its 180-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder for the additional strong 225-hp iteration of the engine that was offered only with all-wheel drive.
Irrespective of its smaller sizing, the TT ably fulfilled the demands of our loved ones. Even hockey period couldn’t continue to keep the TT at relaxation, and with the still left-rear seatback folded, there was ample space to suit all of our gear—including my dad’s hockey adhere that virtually spanned the length of the TT’s cabin—and three persons: my dad behind the wheel, my brother riding shotgun, and me stuffed into the cramped ideal-rear seat.
This was the normal seating arrangement no make a difference exactly where we went. Every now and then, however, I obtained to sit in the front seat. Even as a child who scarcely understood up from down, I knew the interior of the TT, specifically its artwork deco dashboard layout, was distinctive. On all those rare events that the front seat’s thick bolsters hugged my lanky body, I would go the time appreciating the craftsmanship and quality of the circular air vents’ opening and closing system and the flip-down steel radio deal with and its embossed TT badge.
It went on like this for quite a few a long time and hockey seasons, the a few of us developing an abundance of fond—and often not-so-fond—memories from in the TT’s tight quarters. Inevitably, puberty hit, and my brother and I were being no extended the pint-sized kids we had been when my father to start with introduced the TT house.
In 2012, my mother and father parted methods with the two-door Audi, investing it in for an Infiniti G25x sedan. In a way, leaving the TT powering at the vendor felt akin to abandoning a family member. For the last decade, the two-door Audi was these an omnipresent portion of my life. And here we have been thanklessly abandoning the two-door Audi right after around 120,000 miles of dutiful services.
I was much too youthful to drive the TT in the 10 years my relatives owned it. Nor had I driven—or even been in—the two generations of TT that adopted the first. All that changed, even though, when Audi invited me to a special 25-yr anniversary celebration of the design at its U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, kicking factors off with an early morning car exhibit honoring the TT.
The day culminated with a scenic travel via the Commonwealth guiding the wheel of a gray 2023 Audi TT convertible. While not the 2002 TT coupe I grew up with, the most recent TT retains the key features of the authentic: it nonetheless rides on a Volkswagen Golf–derived chassis, depends on a highly effective turbocharged four-cylinder engine for determination, and retains a hanging Bauhaus design and style.
Our 2002 TT constantly struck me as a bona fide sports activities automobile, and acknowledging this basically equivalent 2023 design lacked the verve of extra targeted rivals this kind of as the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman and even the BMW Z4, was a hard capsule for the child in me to swallow. A section of me understood this was the scenario, but the other component of me had to take the TT was not the spirited machine I might developed it up to be soon after all people several years used buckled into its rear seat.
Right after coming to conditions with this fact, I allow go of my preconceived notions of the car or truck and simply relished it for the at ease sporting equipment it is. The TT may not be the most dynamically able car or truck in its segment, but its high-conclusion inside finishes, handsome design and style, and cozy ride high-quality are attractive qualities.
It will hold its own when drive arrives to shove, too. As I worked its three-spoke steering wheel driving via the Shenandoah Valley’s again roads, I arrived to respect the TT’s surprisingly neutral lateral dynamics and torque-rich 228-hp turbocharged engine. I understood the enchantment of the TT, even if it did not instantly charm to me.
In spite of its falling shorter of my expectations, I will often remain fond of the TT. Credit all those people a long time I spent nearly developing up in one particular. Considerably like my brother and I outgrew the again seat of our family’s TT, it appears to be the TT has outgrown Audi’s model line and the German model is pulling the cord on the two-doorway right after 2023. Driving the TT simply just wasn’t as remarkable as rising up in one particular, but I am however unfortunate to see it go.
Associate Information Editor
Jack Fitzgerald’s appreciate for autos stems from his as however unshakable dependancy to Formula 1.
Right after a brief stint as a detailer for a neighborhood dealership group in faculty, he knew he necessary a additional long term way to travel all the new vehicles he could not pay for and resolved to go after a job in car composing. By hounding his college professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was ready to journey Wisconsin trying to get out stories in the auto globe ahead of landing his aspiration position at Automobile and Driver. His new aim is to delay the inevitable demise of his 2010 Volkswagen Golf.