The British are not generally known for having weather suitable for convertibles. Certainly not on the small Isle of Man, in the middle of the rough Irish Sea. Even in early summer, it is rarely more than 15°C, a stiff breeze is more likely than a gentle wind, and with its rain, the island lives up to its reputation in any case. And yet there couldn’t be a more fitting place to present the new, updated model of the Audi TT. There are at least three reasons for this. First, the Isle of Man is home to the famous and infamous motorcycle Tourist Trophy race – courtesy of which the Audi TT was given its name. Second, out of town there is no speed limit on the winding and narrow roads around the island – so it’s the ideal playing field for the compact sports car. And, thirdly, in terms of its character, this icon of design goes perfectly with the extremely friendly and cheerful inhabitants of the island.
And one more obvious thing: events have to be celebrated as they come along. For this reason, Audi has brought an exclusive TT anniversary edition to the event. An appropriate gift for the twentieth anniversary, so to speak, to commemorate the market launch of the first generation of the TT in 1998. To mark the anniversary, the “Audi TT 20 Years edition” will roll off the production line at the end of the year and comes, as per customer request, as a coupé or roadster. This model has been limited to 999 cars and incorporates a number of details from the original 1995 roadster concept. What stands out, for instance, is the exclusive Arrow gray paint finish with pearl effect – alternatively, also available in Nano gray metallic. Above the side sills, the partially matt-finished Audi rings on this anniversary edition are a particularly exclusive feature. Matrix OLED rear lights, glossy metallic gray 19-inch wheels, black brake calipers and special stainless-steel exhaust pipes provide the finishing touches to the exterior.
Now to the interior: drivers of the first Audi TT will quickly feel at home, as a very popular feature immediately jumps out at you when you open the door. The so-called baseball stitching of the seats or, as it is called these days, the Panuka contrast stitching. This embellishes the moccasin-brown Nappa leather, also a permanent feature in the TT’s history. A badge with the actual number of the limited edition as well as a “TT 20 Year edition” badge on the steering wheel and gearshift knob remind the driver what an exceptional car he is sitting in – just in case he should have forgotten.
“In many people’s view, the design of the Audi TT at its premiere 20 years ago was no less than a revolution, a milestone of modern car design. It has had a lasting effect on this make of car of ours. For us, the TT has been one of the central icons for more than three generations”, says Audi designer Dany Garand and adds: “The anniversary model is our gift to the large fan community – a homage to 20 years of the Audi TT and the breathtaking concepts from 1995.”
Strictly speaking, the Audi TT was actually the product of an American-German design cooperation and, as a concept car nearly ready for production, it already attracted everyone’s attention in Frankfurt at the 1995 IAA fair. The exhibition car was available only three months after having been put on display at Italdesign in Moncalieri.
This fact will be unknown or irrelevant to the locals of the Isle of Man. But this doesn’t matter, since their joy at this special, one-off four-wheel show is enormous. Audi TT’s fan community has even grown a bit. And the anniversary model? Confident and showing no signs of weariness, it drives round on the lonely, coastal roads. Open-roofed, of course.