1.8T with 353bhp
WIDE BOY With big arches and 10.5x18in alloys, this 352hp TT has some serious road presence…
The original TT still ranks as one of the most significant Audis ever made. When this curvaceous, bold design was unveiled back in the late 90s, it made a huge impact. Here was a production car that looked very much like the original concept, and it was available to buy. Not only did it look fantastic, its performance credentials were strong, too.
The venerable 1.8 20v turbo found in the S3 8L saw some upgrades, which took it to 225PS (221bhp). This gave the cool coupe lively performance, matched to a slick 6-speed manual box. With quattro drive, it hooked up the power and was quick off the mark, as well as surefooted when the going got slippery.
With heated leather seats, a very cool looking dash and xenon lights it was a very nice thing to own. Back in 1999, a new TT would have set you back almost £30k. Today, you can pick one up for under £2,000, making them a bit of a bargain.
Laszlo, the owner of the TT pictured saw the potential with a TT immediately.
Having owned a big old Mercedes, he wanted something, small and sporty that was also fun to drive. A TT made sense – it was the right money and offered lots of tuning potential. “I wanted to switch from the yacht like feel of the Benz, to a stiffer, lighter sports coupe,” he says.
Things began slowly with a simple air filter upgrade and ECU remap. But having seen lots of big power Audis around, it wasn’t long before the silver TT was sent to respected local tuning firm, Turbotuning.
Here, the 1.8T was stripped down and rebuilt with fully forged internals including Mahle pistons and race spec bearings. The plan was to make the car as reliable as possible, so boost was held back to a relatively modest 1.5bar. Even so, with a Garrett GT2871 turbo, plus supporting upgrades, the TT made a very handy 352hp and 531Nm. Although we hear about plenty of 400+bhp models with large turbos, I have to say around the 350bhp mark seems to offer a great balance of performance and drivability for the road. I’ve been out in lots of TTs with this sort of power and they’re great fun. Plus, there’s less stress on the relatively small capacity 1.8-litre engine – something to take into account unless you liken spending time getting things fixed all the time.
But there’s more to this TT than a decent bit of poke under the bonnet.
Up front, Laszlo has fitted a set of six-pots from a Porsche 996. These big brakes required adapting to fit, but do an admirable job of stopping the little TT. With four pots at the rear and Ferodo DS pads, this thing scrubs off speed with aplomb.
One area that any TT will benefit from upgrades is the chassis. In stock trim they’re quite soft feeling and set up for a neutral handling – as you’d expect. But with some tweaks, you can transform them. With a full complement of Powerflex bushes, the chassis and steering components now feel reassuringly tight, which translates into a much more positive feel to the steering and general handling. Bushes may not be the sexiest of upgrades, but they really do make a huge difference – especially on an older car, where the stock items are likely to be worn. With uprated anti-roll bars, the chassis is well set for hard use.
One thing you can’t miss is the rather wide wheels. The 18in Japan Racing alloys are a huge 10.5 wide, which is why a set of, what the Americans like to call “overfenders” have been fitted. Some will love them others not so much, but you can’t deny they give this little TT serious road presence.
A V6 TT front bumper has also been fitted together with the rear bumper insert, which looks much fresher. There’s also a V6 rear wing.
Inside, Laszlo has really gone to town. The bucket seats have been trimmed in leather with yellow stitching with cheeky R8 logos. The R8 theme continues with the steering wheel and gearknob, complete with open gate.
So there we have it. A Mk1 TT with an aggressive, OEM+ look, that’s also packing a nice punch thanks to the engine tuning – with the potential for a lot more should he wish to increase the boost and maybe fit a larger turbo.
Top: Rear seats have been removed Below: 1.8T is forged and runs a GT2871.
Engine 1.8 20v turbo, Turbotuning shop rebuilt with #Eagle
pistons, stronger bearings, low compression with rebuilt head, #Rothe
turbo manifold, GT2871 Garrett turbocharger, 76mm exhaust system, custom exhaust with 90mm tips, custom intake, #Ramair
intercooler 12-row #Motec
oil cooler, F#orge BOV and boost controller, 630cc injectors, Walbro fuel pump
Transmission 6-speed manual, stronger clutch with Kevlar disc, #Torsen
Power 352hp and 531Nm at 1.5bar
Brakes Porsche 996 fronts with 6-piston calipers, 4 piston rears, Ferodo DS pads and braided lines
Suspension Custom rear control arms (GL), #Powerflex
bushings all around, GL front strut bearing without damping, custom ARBs, #Eibach
spacers, wheel bearings converted to studs, #Sachs
dampers, custom air-ride setup with Viair compressor and #Airlift-Autopilot
(tuned by #Fakukac
Wheels 10.5x18in #Japan-Racing-JR-11
wheels with 255/35 tyres
Exterior V6 TT front bumper and rear insert, SEAT Cupra front lip, V6 TT rear wing, #EPMAN
Racing bumper mount, Porsche green mirror housings, custom arch flares made up from Nissan SX kit
Interior Bimarco bucket seats with Porsche-style leather upholstery and stitching, custom rear seat delete and crossbar, R8 steering wheel and gear knob, custom open gate, Osir gauge holder, Defi Stepmaster gauges, Porsche green details
Left: Porsche 6-pots Below: R8 open gate gear lever.
Right: R8 themed interior Below: R8 wheel and gearknob.
“The TT made a very handy 352bhp and 531Nm”