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Which Used Audi Is the Most Reliable?

Quite a few German brands have a reputation for unreliability, especially when it comes to buying them used. A few are even described as maintenance nightmares. However, it’s perfectly possible to find reliable used BMWs and Mercedes-Benz models. And it’s just as possible to get a reliable used Audi. One of the most reliable, looking over the past 12 years (the averaged used car age), is the Audi TT.

Today, Audi is well-regarded for its design, ranging from its SUVs to the R8 supercar. And the car which helped establish this reputation, Automobile explains, was the original Audi TT.

Used Audi TT: models and specs

Available in the US in 2000, it came—as it still does—in a coupe and convertible forms. The 2003 model was the 2nd-ever production car with a dual-clutch transmission. But, while even these Mk 1 models are noted for their reliability, Motorious, and Classic & Sports Car report, they’re a little old.

A low-angle shot of a red 2008 Audi TT Coupe driving down a road
2008 Audi TT Coupe | Audi

By 2008, though, the Audi TT was in its 2nd gen, Fitment Industries reports, which lasted until 2015. In addition to new styling, the Mk 2 TT featured several new engines. The base engine was the contemporary GTI’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 200 hp. It also offered a 3.2-liter V6 with 250 hp, Car and Driver reports. The latter could do 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. A less-powerful 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder joined in 2010.

A white 2010 Audi TT RS Coupe
2010 Audi TT RS Coupe | Audi

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But for more performance, there was the Audi TT-S. It had the same 2.0-liter engine as the base model but boosted to 280 hp, Car and Driver reports. Also, while the base TT was front-wheel drive, the TT-S had Audi’s AWD system. As a result, it could go 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with the automatic, Autocar reports. Then in 2009, Audi introduced the TT RS, with a 335-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder and AWD. The 2012 Plus version bumped that up to 355 hp.

The Audi TT is currently in its 3rd generation, which was first released in 2016. All Mk 3 Audi TTs have AWD, but there’s no manual, not even on the TT RS. The non-RS models have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 220 hp and 258 lb-ft in the base model, and 292 hp and 280 lb-ft in the TT-S. The RS, meanwhile, has a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, developing 394 hp and 354 lb-ft. With that, it can do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds.

Audi TT features

While a used Audi TT is something of a sports car, it’s also a luxury roadster. As a result, while the older Mk 2 models don’t have all the latest features, they’re still relatively well-equipped.

The tan-leather-with-baseball-stitching interior of a 2008 Audi TT Roadster 3.2 Quattro
2008 Audi TT Roadster 3.2 Quattro interior | Audi

The Mk 2 Audi TT options list includes Nappa leather, heated seats, GPS navigation, and Bose audio, Motor Trend reports. The magnetorheological dampers, though, are standard equipment on the TT-S and RS models, Autocar reports. However, stability and traction control are standard across the board.

An interior shot of the 2015 Audi TT Coupe's interior, showing brown leather and a black dashboard
2015 Audi TT Coupe interior | Audi

Buying a used Mk 3 Audi TT does give you more than just a 12.3” digital instrument panel, though, MT reports. Heated seats are now standard, though blind-spot monitoring is an option. Unfortunately, not even the latest model comes with lane-departure warning or automatic emergency braking, MT reports. And even on the TT RS, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are optional extras, Car and Driver reports.

Common problems

Compared to other used Audis, the TT is extremely reliable, especially the Mk 2 and later models. CarComplaints notes the 2008 model can suffer from DSG issues, which Autocar reports is likely due to a control unit failure. But this appears to be limited to the earliest Mk 2 models, resolved by the 2009 model year. VW Vortex forum users, though, recommend letting the DSG transmission warm up a bit before driving it hard. Additionally, the magnetic dampers can fail over time, and they can be expensive to replace.

However, while the Mk 2 Audi TT offered a 2.0-liter engine throughout its production, it wasn’t the same 2.0-liter. Prior to 2011, VW Vortex forum users report, the car used the belt-driven EA113 engine. And while the Mk 2 TT-S continued to use it, the non-RS models switched to the chain-driven EA888. But, although timing chains last longer than belts, pre-2012 TTs came with prematurely-wearing chain tensioners, eEuroParts reports. If that fails, you’re possibly looking at a new engine. However, there was a recall issued, and the part was redesigned for 2013.

Additionally, the EA888 is noted for excessive oil consumption in other contemporary used Audis, PistonHeads forum users report. But the version in the TT appears not to suffer this issue, TT Forum users report. That being said, weak valve springs and carbon deposits can still be a problem, Bar-Tek Tuning reports. In addition, Mk 2 Audi TTs are known to suffer coil pack failure, PistonHeads reports.

As for a used Mk 3 Audi TT, there don’t appear to be any significant reliability concerns. Consumer Reports ranks its reliability as ‘above average,’ and CarComplaints reports little to no owner issues.

Pricing

A brand-new 2020 Audi TT Coupe starts at $45,500; the Roadster starts at $49,000. Meanwhile, the TT RS starts at $67,600.

Rear view of a black 2012 Audi TT RS Coupe
2012 Audi TT RS rear | Bring a Trailer

A used Audi TT, though, is noticeably cheaper. Sub-100,000-mile Mk 2s can be found on Autotrader for less than $15k, and contemporary TT-S models for under $20k. The TT RS, though, is noticeably pricier. A well-maintained Mk 2 Audi TT RS goes for roughly $30,000 on Bring a Trailer.

As for the Mk 3, the base models can be found for $25,000-$30,000. The cheapest TT-S examples, though, start in the $35,000-$40,000. And even the cheapest used Mk 3 TT RS goes for over $50,000.

Used Audi alternatives

While the Audi TT Coupe does have back seats, they’re not exactly spacious. But, if you want a reliable used Audi that’s a bit more practical, there’s the B8.5 Audi A4.

A silver 2013 Audi A4 driving through a city
2013 Audi A4 | Audi

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While the latest Audi A4 has excellent reliability ratings, CR notes the 2009-2011 B8 A4 should be ignored. They suffered from excessive oil consumption due to bad piston rings, which required expensive repairs, r/Audi sub-Reddit users report. Indeed, CarComplaints ranks the 2009 and 2011 A4s as the worst because of this issue.

However, as part of the 2012 facelift, these issues were resolved, AudiWorld and r/Audi users report. And not just for the A4, either. The contemporary A5 coupe’s and S4 sedan’s issues were also remedied by the 2012 updates, ECS Tuning reports. With the latter, you get a 333-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V6, AWD, and a 6-speed manual. And you can pick one up for less than $20,000.

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