Most mother and father with two younger boys would have been looking for a spacious, sensible SUV, or maybe an even-more-practical minivan. As a substitute, my mother and father purchased a 2002 Audi TT.
Blame my dad, who’d grown bored with driving an enormous Toyota Sequoia for years, and yearned for a sports activities automotive. Admittedly, the TT wasn’t on the high of his checklist when he began purchasing.
The then-new Nissan 350Z was what he actually wished. However actuality hit, and the two-seat Z gave method to a four-seat Audi TT coupe. You’ll be able to’t say my dad did not sacrifice for his household.
Nonetheless, there was one concession my outdated man refused to make: getting something lower than probably the most highly effective TT (on the time) out there. This meant forgoing the entry-level front-drive model and its 180-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder for the stronger 225-hp iteration of the engine that was out there solely with all-wheel drive.
Regardless of its small dimension, the TT ably met the wants of our household. Even hockey season could not hold the TT at relaxation, and with the left-rear seatback folded, there was sufficient room to suit all of our gear—together with my dad’s hockey stick that just about spanned the size of the TT’s cabin—and three folks: my dad behind the wheel, my brother driving shotgun, and me stuffed into the cramped right-rear seat.
This was the standard seating association regardless of the place we went. Every so often, although, I received to take a seat within the entrance seat. Whilst a child who barely knew up from down, I knew the inside of the TT, significantly its artwork deco dashboard design, was particular. On these uncommon events that the entrance seat’s thick bolsters hugged my lanky body, I might go the time appreciating the craftsmanship and high quality of the round air vents’ opening and shutting mechanism and the flip-down steel radio cowl and its embossed TT badge.
It went on like this for a number of years and hockey seasons, the three of us creating an abundance of fond—and sometimes not-so-fond—reminiscences from inside the TT’s tight quarters. Ultimately, puberty hit, and my brother and I had been not the pint-sized kids we had been when my dad first introduced the TT house.
In 2012, my mother and father parted methods with the two-door Audi, buying and selling it in for an Infiniti G25x sedan. In a method, leaving the TT behind on the seller felt akin to abandoning a member of the family. For the final decade, the two-door Audi was such an omnipresent a part of my life. And right here we had been thanklessly abandoning the two-door Audi after roughly 120,000 miles of dutiful service.
I used to be too younger to drive the TT within the decade my household owned it. Nor had I pushed—and even been in—the 2 generations of TT that adopted the unique. All that modified, although, when Audi invited me to a particular 25-year anniversary celebration of the model at its U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, kicking issues off with an early morning automotive present honoring the TT.
The day culminated with a scenic drive via the Commonwealth behind the wheel of a grey 2023 Audi TT convertible. Although not the 2002 TT coupe I grew up with, the most recent TT retains the important thing traits of the unique: it nonetheless rides on a Volkswagen Golf-derived chassis, depends on a robust turbocharged four-cylinder engine for motivation, and retains a placing Bauhaus design.
Our 2002 TT all the time struck me as a bonafide sports activities automotive, and realizing this essentially comparable 2023 model lacked the verve of extra targeted opponents such because the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman and even the BMW Z4, was a troublesome tablet for the child in me to swallow. Part of me knew this was the case, however the different a part of me needed to settle for the TT was not the spirited machine I would constructed it as much as be in spite of everything these years spent buckled into its rear seat.
After coming to phrases with this fact, I let go of my preconceived notions of the automotive and easily loved it for the snug sporting machine it’s. The TT will not be probably the most dynamically succesful automobile in its phase, however its high-end inside finishes, good-looking design, and cozy journey high quality are interesting qualities.
It will maintain its personal when push involves shove, too. As I labored its three-spoke steering wheel driving via the Shenandoah Valley’s again roads, I got here to understand the TT’s surprisingly impartial lateral dynamics and torque-rich 228-hp turbocharged engine. I understood the enchantment of the TT, even when it did not straight enchantment to me.
Regardless of it falling wanting my expectations, I am going to all the time stay keen on the TT. Credit score all these years I spent virtually rising up in a single. Very similar to my brother and I outgrew the again seat of our household’s TT, Audi believes it has outgrown the entry-level sports activities automotive, and is pulling the chord on the model after 2023. Driving the TT merely wasn’t as thrilling as rising up in a single, however I am nonetheless unhappy to see it go.
Affiliate Information Editor
Jack Fitzgerald’s love for vehicles stems from his as but unshakable habit to Method 1.
After a quick stint as a detailer for a neighborhood dealership group in faculty, he knew he wanted a extra everlasting method to drive all the brand new vehicles he couldn’t afford and determined to pursue a profession in auto writing. By hounding his faculty professors on the College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was in a position to journey Wisconsin looking for out tales within the auto world earlier than touchdown his dream job at Automotive and Driver. His new purpose is to delay the inevitable demise of his 2010 Volkswagen Golf.