This 2001 Audi TT Convertible Is The Coolest Little Roadster For $5,000

More a design exercise than a sports car. Still a hoot.

For a 19-year-old car our latest TFLclassic, a 2001 Audi TT convertible, holds its own as a paragon of functional and elegant design. The first generation TT turned heads when it first hit the streets in the late 1990s. It still attracts, even though solid examples of the TT can be found for $4,000 to $5,000 used.

In this video, Tommy, goes over the incredible attention to detail paid to the seats, the air vents, even the location of the gas- and trunk-release buttons. In the end, this may be the first car we bought, not for its under-appreciated performance aspects. To wit, See our ToughT Touareg series. Instead, aesthetics and detail bring the pleasure.

2001 Audi TT convertible
Audi’s TT design harkens back to Bauhaus theories of line and flow [Photos:TFL]

Audi TT and Baseball?

We paid $6,000, a premium, for this Colorado-based TT with 140K on the odometer for three reasons: First, it came with some of the most thorough and meticulous maintenance and repair records we’ve ever seen. Second: This TT packs the high-performance 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine tuned to 225 horsepower.

The base model engine stopped at 180hp. Third: This model came with the very rare “Baseball Optic leather package.” Essentially, the red leather and rough stitching around the seats evoke a baseball mitt. It’s a timeless look that had held up well. Same goes for the ahead-of-its-time Nimbus gray paint job. Nineteen years ago, hardly anyone offered this color. Now you can buy a F-150 in the color. Kudos to Audi’s color team back then for nailing it.

The rare Baseball Optic leather seats make this TT a keeper.

But is the TT a true sports car?

That’s debatable. Audi essentially cribbed the engine and 6-speed manual from the Golf Mark IV GTI. And they sold a lot of those engines, making parts easy to source. Problem is, that generation GTI sold in the States is not considered the best performance example of the mark. Audi claimed a 0-60 time of around 6.7 seconds for this TT, which isn’t bad, but it’s nothing to get excited about. Road feel is fun, but the TT won’t win you over doing hot laps on a track. But on the open road, with the top down, it’s a hoot to drive, and it has a front-bias AWD, which makes it a true four-season car for Colorado. We’re not going to call this a sports car though. “Roadster” sounds just right.

2001 Audi TT roof
The roof opens and closes with one touch of a button. (image: TFLcar)