Geneva Motor Show 2019 Preview: Audi TT-TT

The fate of Audi’s landmark TT sports car model had been put into question recently. Now the car maker from Ingolstadt responds to the hearsay – with a vengeance!

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‘Mediocrity reacts – superiority acts’ is the introductory statement of the press release Audi have published to announce their TT-branded concept car, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The Ingolstadt brand’s TT model, whose first iteration stunned the automotive world back in 1998 with its bold Bauhaus-inspired looks, has become something of a marginal note in recent years, with many commentators suggesting time was up for a model line that has lost impact with each successive generation and is, above all else, part of an automotive niche that’s falling into oblivion anyway: the sports car.

“The past is set in stone, but the future we can shape. Which is why TT evolves. Its qualities and capabilities are squared. For that reason, TT becomes TT-TT.”

The exact specification of this new TT-TT concept car remains unclear for the time being, but Audi’s press release also includes a moody sketch that seems to suggest this new iteration will turn into the erstwhile sports car into a crossover of some kind.

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Some further insight regarding the nature of TT-TT comes courtesy of a few quotes by Audi’s head of Brand Advancing Design, Archibald von Hodenberg: “The TT is a rightfully much loved design. For that reason, we wanted to be respectful and not turn TT-TT into some kind of pastiche. Instead, we further evolved our successful recent form language of technical sharpness and combined it with traditional TT cues such as the rounded greenhouse. The combination of the two we call geometric macho.”

Said to combine the agility of the sports car with the attitude of the crossover, TT-TT is aiming for a “style conscious clientele that puts design ahead of usability. ” According to von Hodenberg, Audi’s rich heritage in this area was fully exploited: “No other car maker has as intimate a relation to Bauhaus as Audi does. This enabled us to be playful with it, rather than rigid. Bauhaus has never been as cool, as casual as in TT-TT’s case.”

It remains to be seen if this new attitude is enough to convince the car-buying public of the merits of a 2+2 seater performance car, albeit one of increased ride height. Furthermore, Audi are clearly intent on proving that the brand has ended an era of navel-gazing and stagnation. For these reasons, it would appear as though TT-TT has its work cut out.


The author of this piece runs his own motoring website, which you are welcome to visit at


Author: Christopher Butt

car design critic // runs // contributes to The Road Rat magazine // writes a column for Octane France //

10 thoughts on “Geneva Motor Show 2019 Preview: Audi TT-TT”

  1. “Form language” sounds so much better than mere “styling” but it´s such an unhelpful way to think of what stylists do.
    I don´t think of Audi´s current style as technical sharpness.

  2. “Geometric Macho”? Let’s dissect that descriptor for a moment:

    “Geometric: characterized by or decorated with regular lines and shapes.”

    Yes, there’s certainly plenty of lines and shapes, regular or otherwise, decorating the current range of Audi vehicles

    “Macho: adjective: masculine in an overly assertive or aggressive way.”

    Yep, that too.

    That descriptor could be extended to cover all of Audi’s current designs (and many of its customers).

    1. Macho is simply not a positive term. I wonder if the fellow knows the connotations. I see it as short-hand for negative aspects of masculinity.

    2. Time for Audi to launch their TT-TT aftershave and male grooming products line, I think!

  3. Whatever it is (or will be) sounds terrifying. If the future of TT is as a SUV then I’d rather it had no future at all.

  4. No wonder the glasshouse is so small; it has been crushed by the weight of this piffle…

  5. Unfortunately for Audi, Geometric Macho has been done before, by JLR, no less:

    1. Judge Dredd’s wheels. Now he WAS macho and had no problem in dealing with you if you thought otherwise.
      I can see the Tee Tee Tee Tee becoming the darling of Audi-philes. Will indicators be an optional extra?

  6. If they really think they can get away with branding
    a high-heeled ‘impractical’ SUV with the TT letters
    (irregardless of how many Tees, or tee-tees), then
    they chose to live on the edge, from
    a heritage point of view.

    From a commercial point of view, however, they
    might be onto something big here.

    We also said, once, that the X6 was an answer to a question which ended with an exclamation mark. They don’t care. It sells.

    Even before seeing this Quattruple-T exercise, I’m almost sure
    it will sell incredibly well. It is the current sociology landscape
    of automotive playing field, that leaves no doubts that
    noticable & ‘retweetable’ sells well, especially
    in ‘premium’ categories.

    In the more mass-oriented circles, boring and invisible
    seems to sell.

    Go figure.

    Marketing must be the most complex thing known to man.

  7. Never could get on with the style of the original TT personally, which I mentally classified with the reborn Beetle as too round, and the same car underneath, near enough anyway, at least as they were sold around these parts. Not that many TTs were sold, buyers staying away in droves at the aspirational pricing if nothing else. As the key interior feature was leather seating held together like baseball catcher’s mitts or mocassins it was entirely too twee for many. Obviously, however, I concede it seems to occupy high status among many far more experienced at critiquing design than I am.

    If BMW can apply corporate blinders for years and continue to dub its SUV/crossovers as SAVs, or Sports Activity Vehicles, then perhaps that cartoonish giant-wheeled TT could be labelled a UAV, Urban Assault Vehicle, because everyone gets annoyed at kerbs (or curbs as we dub them) getting in the way of progress, and they would be invisible to this thing.

    For some reason, I am reminded of a 60 year old phenomenon that originated in California as the Big Daddy Ed Roth Ratfink school of “art”. Here is a ’59 Ford subjected to the same mindset as the TT, but with a driver added. Relax, it’s intended to be humorous!

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