Previewed by the 1995 TT and TTS Roadster concepts, the model was named after the Isle of Man’s Tourist Trophy and was an instant hit thanks to its retro-inspired styling which was designed to recall the “rounded shapes of the pre-War racing cars and post-War sedans of Auto Union.”
Looking far sportier than any of Audi’s sedans, buyers snapped up TTs at an impressive rate. During its first year on sale in Europe, the company sold 36,836 units. The model was also popular on the other side of the Atlantic as buyers purchased 12,027 units in 2000 and 12,523 units in 2001.
While some critics dismissed the TT as a ‘hairdressers car,’ it was available with an assortment of engines producing between 148 hp (110 kW / 150 PS) to 247 hp (184 kW / 250 PS). The TT was could also be equipped with quattro all-wheel drive and the company’s new S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
Encouraged by the popularity of the original model, Audi approved a second-generation coupe and roadster. It arrived in 2006 with a sleeker design which was criticized for not being as charismatic as its predecessor.
The redesign got a mixed reaction, but Audi focused on making the TT a legit sports car. As part of this effort, the company introduced an S variant with 268 hp (200 kW / 272 PS) and an RS model with 335 hp (250 kW / 340 PS). A TT RS plus arrived later with 355 hp (265 kW / 360 PS).
The third and final generation of TT was introduced in 2014 and given a facelift in 2018. The redesign helped to reinvigorate sales, but the boost was short lived. Carsalesbase data shows Audi only sold 1,289 TT in the United States last year and 9,943 units in Europe.
Given the declining sales, it’s not surprising that Audi has decided to phase out the model. Mercedes made a similar decision about the SLC earlier this year and that’s unfortunate as we’ll lose two sporty Germans at roughly the same time.
The news isn’t entirely bad as Audi Chairman Bram Schot has confirmed the TT will effectively be replaced by a “new emotive model in the same price range.” It will be an electric vehicle, but there’s no word on whether or not the will be offered as a coupe and roadster like the TT.