Is an Audi TT a Good First Car? (7 Factors to Consider)

The Audi TT is a luxury sports coupe unsuitable for a first car as it is expensive and impractical, although it isn’t the worst choice if you can afford one.

audi tt for first car

7 Reasons Against Getting the Audi TT as a First Car

#1 Double the Price of a Reasonable First Car

Luxury sports coupes aren’t common first cars because they are expensive vehicles, especially for teenagers getting their first ride.

A brand-new Audi TT costs north of $50,000; compare it to the latest compact Honda Civic, which starts from $23,000.

A ten-year-old Audi TT will still set you back close to $20,000, while a similar-age Honda Civic sells for around $10,000.

Getting a TT is a considerable outlay, and it’s worth rethinking if you can afford one comfortably after factoring in the ownership costs.

#2 Expensive Upkeep

Owning a luxury vehicle means accepting the above-average running costs.

According to RepairPal, an Audi TT costs $924 per year on average to maintain, which is a fair bit higher than luxury compact cars’ average of $801 a year.

It is a considerable expense, especially for first car owners who need to keep costs in check.

Crucially, that is close to 2.5x what you’ll pay to maintain a regular Honda Civic.

Refer to the table below for the year-on-year increase in annual maintenance costs for an Audi TT and how it stacks up against other compact cars.

The Honda Civic sedan is an excellent benchmark because it has a thoroughly affordable ownership cost.

YearAnnual Costs (Audi TT)Annual Costs (Audi A3)Annual Costs (Honda Civic)
TT vs. A3 vs. Civic annual upkeep costs (CarEdge)

The probability of significant repair also increases with the TT’s age:

  • 2.86% in year 1,
  • 13.46$ in year 5,
  • 27.72% in year 10, and
  • 53.42% in year 12.

These probability figures are on par with the Audi A3 but double the Honda Civic.

Although the TT is a sports coupe, its annual upkeep is midpack in Audi’s lineup.

ModelMaint. Costs (avg/yr)
Audi A3$741
Audi A4$739
Audi A5$887
Audi A6$913
Audi A7$1,251
Audi S3$974
Audi S4$1,171
Audi TT$924
Audi Q3$915
Audi Q5$928
Audi models maintenance cost (RepairPal)

#3 Average Fuel Economy (But Good for a Sports Coupe)

High-performance cars with thirsty engines are common knowledge.

However, the Audi TT is a car that thrills without sacrificing fuel economy.

 Fuel Economy
Audi TT26 mpg combined
Audi A428 mpg combined
Audi A330 mpg combined
Toyota Corolla33 mpg combined
Honda Civic33 mpg combined
Hyundai Elantra37 mpg combined
Audi TT vs. other cars in fuel consumption.

Although these cars do not compete in the same segment as the TT, it’s worth mentioning that the Toyotas, Hondas, and Hyundais have class-leading fuel economy.

So, if you want to get the most bang for your gas money, they are the ideal first cars.

First cars can never be too fuel-efficient – the more you can stretch your petrol money, the better it is for your pocket.

#4 Premium Fuel

Luxury vehicles typically require or prefer premium fuel, and the TT is no different.

Running TTs on the more-expensive premium gas is either a recommendation or requirement by Audi.

Regular gas isn’t an option, so your monthly fuel costs will always be higher than regular sedans if you own an Audi TT.

Fuel requirement varies between model years and trims, so it’s best to check if premium fuel is necessary.

#5 Super-Expensive Insurance for Teenagers

Although Audi is the cheapest to insure among the three German luxury automakers – BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi – the Audi TT, being a sports car, is considerably more expensive than other Audis.

See the table below on the average full coverage cost for the various age groups (assuming good driver and credit):

Audi TT$6,943/year$3,135/year
BMW 3 Series$6,019/year$2,717/year
Audi A3$5,884/year$2,656/year
Audi A4$5,441/year$2,456/year
Honda Civic$5,070/year$2,289/year
TT vs. 3-Series vs. A3 vs. A4 vs. Civic insurance costs (CarEdge)

16-year-old male teens can expect higher insurance premiums, although TTs are generally costly to insure because thieves target them.

Insurance costs vary significantly depending on where you live, so it’s best to get quotes from insurers for an accurate estimate.

#6 Low-Slung Vehicle with Restricted Visibility

Sports cars typically have a lower center of gravity for stability and cornering performance.

However, the low-slung styling means you sacrifice convenience and practicality.

Getting in and out of a TT is challenging.

The low seating position exacerbates the difficulty in seeing out of the TT, especially for shorter drivers.

Plus, changing lanes and parking will require considerable concentration to pull off safely.

The reduced height compared to most cars on the road makes night driving a discomfort or hazard because light from those vehicles beams directly into your eyes.

Given these issues, the blindspot warning system is necessary for an Audi TT.

#7 Poor Practicality

Two-door vehicles rarely make good first cars.

Rear seat space is severely limited, and access to it is difficult because the front seats do not slide out of the way to provide an easier entry to the back.

It is virtually impossible to carry adult passengers in the back seat, and it best serves as additional cargo space for a road trip for two.

The cargo room also suffers from the sloping hatchback, so you’ll be limited on the height of items that can fit in the trunk.

Further, the doors are long and heavy, taking up lots of room in parking lots.

Audi TT’s Positives

Strong Value Retention

Value retention in the Audi TT is above-average, losing 44% of its value after five years and 66% at the decade mark.

The table below assumes a brand-new Audi TT that retails for approx. $51,000.

Vehicle AgeDepreciationValue LostResale Value
Audi TT 10-year depreciation.

Audi TT comes with:

  • 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.
  • 4-year/unlimited-mile roadside warranty.
  • 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Audi’s coverage is average for the segment and on par with what BMW offers.

When buying a used Audi, extended coverage is necessary to avoid high out-of-pocket repair costs.

The TT depreciates less than other Audis and premium cars from rival brands.

 5-yr Depreciation10-yr Depreciation
Honda Civic39%71%
Audi TT44%66%
Audi A349%81%
Audi A451%77%
BMW 3-Series55%78%
Audi TT depreciation compared to other cars.


Sports cars typically adopt the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) architecture – the former provides stronger acceleration and the latter more traction.

Conversely, front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars are cheaper and return higher fuel economy.

All Audi TTs from 2010 onwards are all-wheel drives, and the models before that are a mix of AWD and FWD versions.

The AWD Audi TT is excellent news if you live in snowy climes or regions with inclement weather.

Audi TT vs. Cheaper & Better First Cars

Table Guide:

  • Fuel Economy: mpg combined (manual).
  • Maintenance Costs: per year avg. (RepairPal).
  • Safety (IIHS): 1 (poor) to 4 (good); IIHS tests average.
  • Safety (NHTSA): 1 (poor) to 5 (safest); NHTSA overall.
  • Visibility: excellent, good, average, poor.
 HorsepowerFuel Econ.Maint. CostsSafety (IIHS)Safety (NHTSA)Visibility
Audi TT228 hp26$924NANAPoor
Subaru BRZ205-228 hp24$6723.8/4NAGood
Honda Civic Si197-205 hp30$368+4/45/5Good
Mazda Miata116-181 hp29$429NANAAverage
Honda Civic110-158 hp33$3684/45/5Good
Audi TT comparison with better first cars.

The alternatives are less powerful and cheaper to operate.

The Subaru BRZ (or Toyota 86) produces similar horsepower as the TT. Still, it is delivered exclusively to the rear wheels, so it isn’t more suitable for new drivers from a technical standpoint.

However, the BRZ is significantly cheaper than the TT – half the TT price if buying new.

The Honda Civic Si is less powerful than the Audi TT, and its power delivery is through a beginner-friendlier front-wheel-drive system.

The MX-5 Miata may be an RWD, but its 158-hp is more manageable for new drivers.

The Miata is one of the thriftiest sports cars and is as fun to drive as the TT.

Above all, a regular Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla would be the ideal first car.