2020 Audi TT vs. 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The TT has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The TT has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the TT and the MX-5 Miata have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

The Audi TT weighs 715 to 1056 pounds more than the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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The TT comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The MX-5 Miata’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The TT’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MX-5 Miata’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the TT has a standard 140-amp alternator. The MX-5 Miata’s 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the TT is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the TT’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The MX-5 Miata’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The TT 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 47 more horsepower (228 vs. 181) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The TTS’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 107 more horsepower (288 vs. 181) and 129 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The TT RS Coupe’s standard 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 219 more horsepower (400 vs. 181) and 203 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 151) than the MX-5 Miata’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

In a Motor Trend race course test, the Audi TT RS Coupe was clocked 8.52 seconds faster than the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club (99.95 sec. vs. 108.47 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

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The TT has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the MX-5 Miata (14.5 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The Audi TT comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the MX-5 Miata.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi TT, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MX-5 Miata.

The TT offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer an SMG.

All-wheel drive, available in the TT, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all-wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is not available with all-wheel drive.

The TT RS’ launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the TT’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MX-5 Miata:

TT 45 TSFI

TT RS Coupe

MX-5 Miata

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

14.6 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.2 inches

11 inches

The TTS Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MX-5 Miata are solid, not vented.

The TT RS offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The TT stops much shorter than the MX-5 Miata:

TT

MX-5 Miata

70 to 0 MPH

140 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

116 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

122 feet

133 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the TT has larger standard tires than the MX-5 Miata (245/40R18 vs. 195/50R16). The TTS/RS’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MX-5 Miata (255/30R20 vs. 205/45R17).

The TT 45 TSFI’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MX-5 Miata Sport’s standard 50 series tires. The TTS/RS’ optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TT 45 TSFI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the MX-5 Miata Sport. The TTS/RS’ optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the MX-5 Miata Club/Grand Touring.

The Audi TT’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mazda MX-5 Miata only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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The TT offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The MX-5 Miata’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The TT has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the TT’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the MX-5 Miata (98.6 inches vs. 90.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the TT is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the MX-5 Miata.

The TT 2.0 TSFI Roadster handles at .99 G’s, while the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The TT 2.0 TSFI Roadster executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring (24.7 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26.4 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The TT Coupe has standard seating for 4 passengers; the MX-5 Miata can only carry 2.

Cargo Capacity

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The TT Roadster has a much larger trunk with its top down than the MX-5 Miata (7.5 vs. 4.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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The TT uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The MX-5 Miata uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The TT has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 46% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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The TT’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MX-5 Miata has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The TT’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The MX-5 Miata’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the TT the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the MX-5 Miata can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The TT’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The MX-5 Miata Sport/Club’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the TT to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The TT has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The MX-5 Miata has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Grand Touring.

The TT’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the MX-5 Miata Grand Touring.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the TT’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The MX-5 Miata doesn’t offer a filtration system.

Model Availability

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The Audi TT comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

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The TT will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TT will retain 45.66% to 46.08% of its original price after five years, while the MX-5 Miata only retains 43.6% to 45.39%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/13

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi TT and the Mazda MX-5 Miata, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Consumer Reports performed a comparison test in its March 2016 issue and the Audi TT 2.0 TSFI Coupe won out over the Mazda MX-5 Miata Club.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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