The skinny: With a shape that's all its own, an iconic definition of modern design, the Audi TT stands apart. Now there’s a hot-shoe TTS version joining the TT coupe and roadster in Audi showrooms.
And it comes with the raw numbers to turn up the heat on performance and handling.
The TTS borrows its oily bits from the S3 range - quattro all-wheel-drive, 210kW and 380Nm - giving it the on-road muscle to match the slinky, hawkish, hunkered down silhouette. And it's quick, very quick.
Inside there's the driver-centric Virtual Cockpit that's slowly spreading through the Audi range. At the wheel of the TTS (and the TT range), it provides a unique and highly specialised look and feel.
Vehicle Style: Two-door sports car
Price: $99,900 (plus on-roads) $109,900 (as tested)
Engine/trans: 210kW/380Nm 2.0 4cyl turbo petrol | 6spd automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.8 l/100km | tested: 8.3 l/100km
Audi's TT? Unique design, intriguing interior, good-old-fashioned fun at the wheel and just begging for a belt... does it need more?
But there’s always room for more - in this case more mongrel, more power, a tweaked aesthetic, and revised handling as part of the TTS package
In Audi-land, as with its German competitors, you must pay to play. For the extra 41kW offered by the TTS, the premium is an extra $21,950 over a regular 2.0TSFI Sport Quattro Coupe.
Not small change, sure, but the TTS builds on an impressive package of lightweight construction and precise handling with more speed and more agility, plus a little more menace to the looks to set it apart from the crowd.
- Standard equipment: Sport front seats with electric adjustment and pneumatic bolsters, leather and alcantara trim, auto lights and wipers, leather wrapped multi-function sports steering wheel with gearshift paddles, sports pedals, single-zone climate control, LED headlights, proximity key with push-button start, 19-inch alloy wheels.
- Infotainment: 12.4-inch ‘virtual cockpit’ instrument cluster, nine-speaker audio, digital radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, dual USB inputs.
- Options fitted: S performance package - privacy glass, Matrix LED headlamps, Nappa leather trim, Bang & Olufsen audio. Assistance package (see Safety for more info). Black package - exterior brightwork gloss black.
- Cargo volume: 320 litres seats up, 712 litres seats folded.
On the inside, the TTS continues the themes established by the current generation TT.
The cabin is intimate, without being cramped, controls fall neatly to hand, and the Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster delivers a wealth of information to the driver.
Audi’s central MMI controller remains, and makes the system pretty simple to use, offering hand-written or voice inputs to speed the process of entering information.
Situated in front of the driver is Audi’s rather gorgeous sports steering wheel with an exposed metal frame and impossibly small hub, with a pair of paddle shifters on the back.
Turbine-look air vents with central climate controls look and feel fantastic, and give the cabin a simple but sophisticated look.
TTS particulars include diamond-quilted leather sports seats, a grid-patterned dash surface, a fatter steering wheel rim, and a set of gripper floor mats to help passengers remain firmly planted.
Move to the back seat, and as with the regular TT there’s not a lot of room to spare. headroom beneath the sloping hatch is at a bare minimum, so pre-teen kids are the only humans you'll be able to squeeze in back there.
Boot space stands at 320 litres with the 50:50 split rear seats up, but fold them flat and there’s 712 litres on offer.
ON THE ROAD
- 210kW/380Nm 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
- Six-speed DSG automatic, all wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front suspension, four-link independant rear
- Four-piston fixed caliper with 338mm vented front disc, single piston caliper with 310mm vented rear disc
- Electromechanical power steering, turning circle: 10.96m
To go with the purposeful looks, Audi hasn’t skimped on the powerplant. Beneath the bonnet you’ll find the same 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as deployed in the S3 range.
With 210kW on offer and a fat 380Nm delivered between 1800 and 5700rpm, a weight of 1385kg, and the ability to dash from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, the TTS feels truly quick from behind the wheel.
More than just straight-line speed though, the all-wheel-drive system underneath has been tweaked, and can deliver up to 100 percent of torque to the rear wheels if the Dynamic drive mode is selected and conditions demand it.
To test the uprated handling, Audi gave us a closed mountain road to put the TTS through its paces.
And we can confirm that the compact two-door really can move if you sink the boot in. More than that though, it had no problems maintaining grip, with a completely level cornering stance and eye-widening corner speeds.
Even as a light shower of rain passed through, the TTS refused to admit defeat. Instead it simply provided almost seamless stability control intervention to keep the whole package on the tarmac.
Theere is something missing to 'the feel' of the drive though. It's as though it is too calculated, too precise - a beast tamed and a little lacking in that unpredictable edge that gives so many sports cars their character.
In fact, in terms of driver involvement, the less powerful TT offers more. (But maybe that's just me...)
There’s still plenty to set the heart racing though. Few cars, certainly, offer the same razor balance when whipped from bend to bend at warp speeds.
Being shoved into your seat at wide open throttle is always a joy, and there’s a distinct engine note, and gutteral ‘grunt’ at each upshift.
The steering ratio is fast, and the front wheels offer faithful, scalpel-like precision, and the brakes - even after a morning of repeated, spirited downhill runs, never lost the ability to pull up faithfully.
As mentioned earlier, there’s five driving modes: Dynamic, Efficient and Comfort, or an Auto mode if you’d like the car to work it out for itself, as well as Individual where you call the shots.
Steering, suspension, throttle, transmission, all wheel drive, and air conditioning parameters are altered depending on your delected setting, and even the headlights adapt if you option LED Matrix lighting.
But the ride quality, even in Comfort, is on the hard side of firm. Both cars we drove on the day were equipped with the smaller 19-inch wheel option, not the available 20-inch rollers, so ride quality might be something to keep in mind if your favourite weekend escape doesn’t offer decent roads.
And fuel consumption? Audi claims 6.8 l/100km, and after a morning of hard-charging up the side of a mountain, followed by a more relaxed highway run back to town we recorded 8.3 l/100km, which given how hard the cars were pushed, is a fairly decent figure.
ANCAP rating: 4/5 Stars - this model scored out of 37 possible points.
Safety features: TTS Coupe models feature six airbags (dual front, dual front side, and dual front curtain), fatigue detection, stability and traction control, ABS brakes with brake assist, and tyre pressure monitoring.
An optional Assistance package adds blind spot warning, automated park assist, front and rear park sensors, rear view camera, and high beam assistant as well as heated, folding, auto-dimming exterior mirrors.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Audi’s TT range occupies a unique niche. There’s few other compact coupes that match for performance and size, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without rivals.
BMW delivers engaging rear-wheel-drive dynamics, Mercedes-Benz delivers four-door flexibility and a much bigger power hit, while the Porsche offers a fantastic feeling of driving purity.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
After a drive in the TTS you’d be hard-pressed to describe it as anything less than a precision instrument. If offers hare-like reflexes, and to dart quickly from corner to corner without a second thought.
It’s possible to change direction in the blink of an eye, and if you so much as breathe on the throttle it’ll whisk you the speed limit smartly.
The sports car credentials are all in place. The emotion, the passion, and the excitement however, are missing.
The TTS is ruthlessly German in everything it does. Precision and efficiency matter more than engagement and involvement.
You will be fast in the TTS, but you won’t arrive any place with a cheshire-like grin on your face. There’s no hairy moments, no white knuckles, no lurid oversteer.
The TTS is as clinical as its meticulous design suggests. Fine for some, but not the ideal solution of every motoring enthusiast.
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