Audi's sports car heritage is as rich as any manufacturer's, dating back 100 years to competition at the Isle of Man. In the 1930s Audi achieved real fame with its awesomely powerful Auto-Union grand prix cars, and today it continues to rush forward with the RS6 sedan winning in the Speed Challenge touring car series, and the R8 prototype, fastest sports car in the world, dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans and international endurance racing, including the American Le Mans Series. It's this heritage that drives the 2005 Audi TT. The TT got its moniker from the legendary Tourist Trophy race, which started on the Isle of Man in 1907. But the TT is not an uncompromising car that would rather be on the track; it's an eminently civilized sports car that employs tricks learned from racing adapted comfortably for the street. Of particular note is the new six-speed gearbox that's mated to the 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine on Audi's most powerful TT. Is it a manual transmission? Is it an automatic? Car and Driver magazine's engineering editor calls it a manual, while Audi's press material calls it an automatic; we'll call it a hybrid because it doesn't make much difference to the driver what it is, only how it works. It works like both; and, unlike some automatic transmissions with a manual mode, it's the best of both. The TT, Audi's first true sports car, comes as either a coupe or roadster. It offers solid Volkswagen mechanicals and durability, as well as VW's attention to detail in a sporty upscale design with high-quality materials and excellent fit and finish. The styling is retro yet pure, the interior is very stylish, the handling is exceptionally stable and the brakes are among the best.
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