Audi is reportedly killing the TT as we know it, turning it into a longer, wider and more practical four-door apparently in line with customer demand, but we have a soft spot for the divisive little coupe. Especially for one of the rarer and more charismatic entries into the TT back-catalogue: the V6.
It was the initial range-topper for the MkII generation, sitting above the 197bhp EA113 four-cylinder unit with a handier 246bhp from its not-actually-a-V6 VR6 lump. This single-block, staggered line of six cylinders was shorter than a straight-six and narrower than a V6, making it easy to package into compact cars like two generations of TT and three shapes of Golf.
Compared to the four-cylinder versions the VR6-powered TT was in a whole different league of charisma. The EA113 was arguably VW’s last four-pot with inherent character, but the VR6 blew it away for aural charm and creamy, linear torque, even without the forced induction that gave the blown 2.0 a low-end advantage. Quattro four-wheel drive gave the V6 a traction advantage, too.
Unfortunately it had two major problems. The first was that it was a bit thirsty and expensive to tax, so in many European countries with emissions-based tax systems it wasn’t the wisest financial move. The EA113, after all, had enough punch for most people and would average over 40mpg on a run if you knew how to get it there.
The second problem was the TTS, which arrived in 2008 with a four-pot under the bonnet. It was based on the EA113 but had a new block, cylinder head, fuel injectors and more in order to pump it up to a reliable 268bhp. On a slight tangent, that’s why a 260bhp remap on those engines with stock internals might not be the best idea, whatever the tuners say. If Audi could have just remapped it safely, they wouldn’t have gone to the expense of all that work.
Anyway, with that much power the TTS quickly rendered the TT V6 obsolete and the latter was canned from the range. It was a move that split opinion. On one hand the TTS was more powerful, faster and could be tuned more easily if desired. On the other, the V6 was a GT-lite that ticked a lot of boxes including mature, understated class – which the brasher TTS didn’t.
Now you can own a TT V6 (VR6) for not a lot of cash. Starting at the very bottom, a 157,000-miler is as cheap as £3500, which, admittedly, is still about twice the price of a used A3 V6 with the same engine and the same output. We’ve picked a tidier, lower-mileage option from the classifieds, for £5790, with a few light cosmetic modifications like black wheels.
Yours in Brilliant Red with a black leather interior, this 90,000-mile manual model is packed with desirable (if expensive to fix) options like the Magnetic Ride suspension, rear parking sensors, heated seats and a Bose premium stereo. Trade seller iDeal Car Centre is offering a warranty in the asking price, which is good, because the MOT pass/fail history is a bit chequered – plus, the current certificate only runs to January.
Still, it’s a charming and capable coupe with a few handling quirks and a lot of equipment to enjoy. We say it’s a cracking buy – and it’s cheaper than a MkV Volkswagen Golf R32…