The first generation Audi TT was a great looking piece of automotive art, there is no questioning that fact. The rounded styling of the J Mays design was a revelation and far more attractive than anything else in the Audi range at the time.
It sold in large numbers to fashion conscious punters around the world who drove it to gallery openings and trendy bars and admired the looks of the TT above every other facet of its being. Sport editions of the TT were released over the near 10-year product life of the first generation but failed to garner the attention of many sporting drivers who stuck to Porsche Boxsters, Nissan 350Zs and other more sporting offerings.
The original was only a mildly sporting car — a soy quarter-shot decaff latte of a sports car, in fact. The new TTS is a full-strength brew that will stir the sporting soul of even the most recalcitrant among the cafe set.
The TTS shape is a little wider in appearance than the pebble-smooth original TT and it has a much more aggressive front end that looks ready to eat up any road put in front of it. It looks just as good as the original but with extra attitude; more masculine but equally at ease at an A-list party as on a twisty mountain road.
The wild ‘look at me’ colour of our test car is not for those who like to go unnoticed. It’s almost identical to the retina-searing orange that Audi-owned Lamborghini uses on the Murcielago and Gallardo, and is a hint to its sporting potential.
The new TTS is the sporty ride that the original TT should have been. It handles like a proper sports car should with great balance, agility and features a gruff sounding turbocharged engine that produces 200kW, enough to hurl the TTS from rest to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds.
Strapping into the supportive sports seat of the TTS you know it means business. All controls are high quality and easy to use. The steering wheel and gear lever are in the right place falling to hand with race car efficiency. Finding the perfect driving position can be a little difficult though and took us several attempts to get it right.
On the move the ride is taut and transmits what is happening at the tyres with great clarity. The quattro all-wheel drive system generates lichen-like grip and allows the TTS to round corners very quickly, even in the wet. We tried it at a rain-soaked Pukekohe Park Raceway, and it was fantastic with perfectly neutral handling through the sweeper and the esses, and the grunt to reach well over 200kph by the end of the back straight.
On slippery roads west of Auckland the Audi was rock solid firing up hills with laughable ease and railing around corners with precision. Hard under brakes coming into a tight left-hand corner saw the bum of the TTS wriggle about a bit but still stay planted. The Porsche-like pop-up spoiler seems to add to the grip offered by the magnetic ride suspension and looks super cool as well.
The acceleration is of the grin-inducing type and pushes you back in the seat hard and makes you wonder why all cars aren’t turbocharged. The engine note is growly and great to hear, especially as new cars have become more detached from the driving experience through extra sound deadening. It seems that Audi really has put effort into the TT-S to make it a proper sports car unlike the first TT which had sporting pretensions but failed to deliver on the road.
The TTS is not a competent-but-dull-experience which is a common criticism of fast Audis; it tells you what is going on at the road and in the engine bay, inviting you be a part of the experience.
Audi really seems to have infused a sporting element into the TTS recipe and it tastes bloody good, combining the great handling quattro package with a feisty turbo four-pot and slick six-speed gearbox.
The Audi TTS is a car that combines aggressive good looks with quality sporting performance. Whether it will be as successful as the original is irrelevant because it appeals to a slightly different audience, but it would be great to see first generation owners to discover the meaning of ‘performance’ in the new TTS.
Click through to the next page for full specifications on the Audi TTS
Price: from $109,500 as tested.
What we like
- Handling with the quattro 4WD
- Awesome stereo
- Good sized boot for a car of this size/type, and it comes with a boot blind (Nissan 350Z, are you listening!)
What we don’t like
- Nissan 350Z is as engaging on the driving front, and quite a bit cheaper
|TTS Specification and Option Sheet||Coupe||Roadster|
|KiloWatts / hp @ rpm||200 / 272 @ 6,000 rpm||200 / 272 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (Nm @ rpm)||350 @ 2500 – 5000 rpm||350 @ 2500 – 5000 rpm|
|Cylinders / Valves Per Cylinder||4/4||4/4|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (secs)||5.2||5.4|
|Top Speed (km/h)||250||250|
|Fuel Consumption Combined in l/100 km (CO2 emission)||7.9 (188)||8.0 (190)|
|Aluminium Space Frame Hybrid Construction||Y||Y|
|Audi Cover Assistance – 3 Year Cost Free Motoring||Y||Y|
|Safety and Security|
|ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution)||Y||Y|
|Front Passenger Airbag Key Deactivation||Y||Y|
|ISOFIX child seat anchorage front left passenger||Y||Y|
|Front Driver & Passenger Airbags||Y||Y|
|Front Seat Side & Head Airbags||Y||Y|
|Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners For Both Front Seats||Y||Y|
|Anti Theft Alarm and Vehicle Immobiliser||Y||Y|
|Remote Central Locking||Y||Y|
|Alloy Wheels||19″ 5 spoke alloys||19″ 5 spoke alloys|
|Automatically Operated Hood (Roadster)||–||Y|
|Exterior Mirrors – Electric & Heated||Aluminium||Aluminium|
|Rear Spoiler With Electric Activation||Y||Y|
|Spare Wheel||Tyre mobility system||Tyre mobility system|
|S Sports Body Kit||Y||Y|
|Dash Inlays||Brushed Aluminium||Brushed Aluminium|
|Enhanced Aluminium-look Interior Trim||Y||Y|
|Anti Glare Interior Mirror||Y||Y|
|Audi Stereo System with 6 CD Stacker||Symphony||Symphony|
|Door Sill Trim with Aluminium Inlays and TTS Logo||Y||Y|
|Electric Front Seats||Y||Y|
|Electric Front Windows||Y||Y|
|Gear Lever Knob with TTS Logo||Manual only||Manual only|
|Height And Reach Adjustable Steering Column||Y||Y|
|Illuminated Vanity Mirrors||Y||Y|
|Interior Trim||Silk Nappa Leather||Silk Nappa Leather|
|Enhanced Leather Package||Y||Y|
|Light and Rain Sensor||Y||Y|
|Multi-Function Trip Computer||Y||Y|
|Roll-over bar (Roadster)||Y||Y|
|S tronic Gear Selector Paddles||S tronic only||S tronic only|
|Multi-function Sports Steering Wheel||Flat bottom||Flat bottom|
Standard Y Optional o Not Available –
Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham