With the introduction of the TT Coupe, Audi's brand-defining moment has arrived.
The TT Coupe is Audi's range-extending foray into the sports-car market. It is intended to manifest the brand traits of advanced technology, high performance, distinctive design and emotional appeal. That brand halo is meant to surround the entire Audi lineup and to stimulate traffic to showrooms.
The 2000 TT Coupe, with a 180-hp, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, began arriving in U.S. showrooms in May. Last month, a quattro version was introduced.
Audi of America's annual sales goal for the TT is a modest 10,000, once the TT Coupe is joined next spring by the 2001 TT Roadster; a 225-hp engine also will be offered then.
Aimed at such rivals as the Porsche Boxster, the Mercedes-Benz SLK and the BMW Z3, the TT Coupe can be had for $31,000, including destination, a price at the low end of that field.
This 2+2 has typically stingy rear legroom, but a welcome feature is that the back seats fold down to provide the TT Coupe with the same cargo-carrying space as the Audi A4 sedan.
The TT's sensual appeal also extends to its road performance. Throttle response is immediate, turbo lag is absent, shifts are smooth and easy, and the sound of the engine is a pleasing low rumble.