Forget The MK1 TT - The MK2 Is The One To Have
For YEARS, people have been saying that the original Audi TT from 1998 will become a classic in "just a few years time" and prices will go up and they'll be stored-away collectors items.
I was somewhat in agreement when those statements first started circulating; a concept design made for the road and let's be fair, it stood out from the crowd like a golden singer.
But here's the thing: that was nearly 7 years ago.
Let's face it, the 'boom' just hasn't happened and I don't think it will for many years to come. You can look on Autotrader right now and still pick one up a good one for well-under £2 grand. Some rougher ones are worth about the same as a DFS sofa!
This got me thinking: if you really want to scratch the TT itch, then why not just go for the much-improved MK2?
Why you should
Well, firstly, there's the way it drives - and honestly - it's very good. When I was on work experience at my local Audi dealer a few years ago, we had loads of MK2s to test drive around the block.
I was pleasantly surprised at just how stiff they were; people call it a fancy Golf, but I can assure you the difference in feel is night and day. All versions felt edgy, nimble and were constantly egging you on to throw it around faster.
Secondly, there's the styling: the MK1 is a bit of a marmite thing, isn't it? But the MK2 is fresh, clinical, more grown-up and I think, similar to an R8. I don't think it's aged badly at all and it still looks good 13 years on, whereas the MK1 is definitely showing it's age.
Thirdly - (and I will be talking about what to look out for) - it seems to be a very reliable little thing: I looked into forums, owner's reviews etc. for a while, and I didn't really find that many problem reports from owners. And those that cropped up always appeared to be a cheap/simple fix.
But of course, if you've had a different experience with your car, please do share it in the comments - I'm happy to be mistaken on things like this.
What to look out for
New cambelts will be needed every 75,000 miles or every 3 years and can cost roughly £500 at specialist services, so check that this has been done at the relevant points, depending on the mileage.
If the car misfires or stalls at weird points, then this could be the coil pack failing. Though, it's only a £35 part.
Platinum-tipped spark plugs can last up to 60,000 miles, but are very expensive to replace. So - again - check the paperwork to see if it's been done.
If you're thinking about a car with the S-Tronic gearbox, listen up! A loss of drive or juddering can be the mechatronic control unit failing - which can cost around £800 to sort out. Not to mention around £1200 for a replacement clutch which can let go. A clutch for a manual car is around £1000 but these are generally more reliable and I haven't really seen reports of them going wrong.
The bushes on the rear console of the lower front wishbones start failing after 6 years, so have a look in the service history to see if this has been done. Also, it's worth checking for steering rack rattles while you're on the test drive.
Also (cliche, I know) check that all the electronics work and especially if you're after a convertible, make sure the roof folds down fully. Apparently, there's been reports on the little flaps not going down due to sensors failing. Lack of regular servicing can cause the AC compressors to fail, so check that as well.
Also - and this has become evident - the sportier versions like the TTS were driven extremely hard and naturally, will show a bit more wear and tear than lesser versions. And if you are going for an S or RS etc. it will be more important to see if the car has signs of shoddy accident repairs.
The one I'd personally get - the 3.2 litre V6
The well-proven VR6 can be a thirsty bugger, but it's one of my favourite VAG group engines of all time. It sings when you push it and is incredibly smooth at low and cruising speeds. My uncle had this unit in his Audi A3 and VW Corrado and they were nothing short of absolutely superb.
With 247hp on tap, there's more than enough punch to get you moving as it gets to 60 in well-under 6 seconds! But if that's not your thing, the MK2 TT came with a lot of engine options;
There's the TDI diesels which are frugal, yet torquey on the move. You can have a more regular 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine which is also shared with the S. Or if you've got a little more to spend, there's the 2.5 litre turbocharged 5-cylinder in the RS. So, lots to choose from.
Prices vary between all the different models; they start from around £3000, but RS versions are sought-after and command at least £14,000 out your pocket. So, do look around before deciding.
Thanks for reading
So, there's my little piece on why I think it's worth opting for the MK2 TT rather than the MK1. I think it's a nicer all-round package and as they're really affordable right now, ever more tempting - especially considering it provides a great drive, dependable reliability (unless I'm missing anything), a relatively fresh interior and a stylish body.
But as always, if you want to correct me on anything or throw in some additional information, please do get in the comments and share your stories or thoughts.
Hope you enjoyed it!