Released to near universal critical and consumer acclaim, the 1st generation Audi TT was produced from 1998 to 2006 and was nominated for several prestigious awards. The TT was designed around the same time as the Audi A4 and so shares some of the same characteristics, such as powertrain and suspension systems. One of the most noticeable issues plaguing the 1st generation TT is its tendency to suffer from throttle lift-off oversteering.
When a fast car goes into a tight turn, the laws of physics demands that the weight from the back of the car be transferred to the front, lightening up the rear end considerably, and causing the car’s turn to be tighter than the driver initially planned. In the automotive world, this is known as throttle lift-off oversteering, snap-oversteer, or throttle off oversteer. In the best case scenario, it’s called “drifting,” and looks cool when trained professionals do it in movies. In the worst case scenario, lives are suddenly and violently terminated.
From late 1999 to early 2000, many TT’s were reported in fatal high-speed accidents, victims of throttle lift-off oversteer. Although it manifests itself primarily in instances where speeding is combined with sharp turns, you can keep watch for throttle lift-off oversteer even in lower-speed incidents. When you take sharp turns do you feel the back of the car slide at all? Do you find yourself taking turns sharper than you initially thought you might be? These are signs that your TT may be susceptible to this dangerous phenomenon.
Audi issued a recall on the particular years affected by throttle lift-off oversteer, performed a suspension adjustment, and added a rear-wing spoiler to lower the lift. This seems to have solved the problem well enough, but you should still take your TT to a trained German import service shop if you suspect anything is wrong with your vehicle.
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