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First drive: Audi TTS. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi TTS
Audi's new TTS is an easy, fast and capable range-topper, that’s more entertaining than ever.

   



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Audi TTS

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Audi's most potent TT of the new line-up underlines the work the chassis people have done to add to the driving fun, though more power means more money and that takes it perilously close to some rather challenging rivals.

Key Facts

Model tested: Audi TTS S tronic
Pricing: £40,270
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: four-wheel drive, six-speed S tronic automatic
Body style: two-door coupé
Rivals: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW M235i Coupé, Porsche Cayman
CO2 emissions: 159g/km
Combined economy: 40.9mpg
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Power: 310hp at 5,800- to 6,200rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1,800- to 5,700rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Taking the familiar, sharp-suited shape of the new for 2014 TT and adding some sporting accoutrements, the TTS ups the ante a touch to signify its greater performance. Not significantly mind, most of the TTS's enhancements coming with the S line specification, though it's not like the TT really needs much in the way of a visual boost. A pair of large exhausts out back, housed in a heavily styled diffuser, some S badges, metal-finishes on the grille, lower bumper and mirror caps all signify that this is the S. As do standard 19-inch wheels.

Inside there's a slightly more sporting bent to the gloriously finished, high-tech feeling interior. There's a different textured surface finish to the dash top, while the Virtual Cockpit adds a few more features, allowing a full-on, huge central rev-counter and lap timer behind the perforated leather steering wheel. That wheel comes, as with all TTs, with the bottom flattened out.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Audi seems to have taken criticism of its TT's somewhat anodyne driving experience to heart. There's talk of far greater resistance to understeer, the configurable quattro drivetrain of the TTS pushing more power to the rear in a bid for greater poise and, whisper it, oversteer. You'll be trying damn hard, not least because there's so much grip, but the TTS is unquestionably a far more interesting car to drive than before. Its not inconsiderable 310hp undoubtedly helps, as too does the quite gloriously naughty sounding exhaust note. The brief cackling that accompanies gearshifts and the slightly off-beat five-cylinder-aping soundtrack hoodwinks, as under the bonnet is a fairly conventional turbocharged four-banger.

The TTS was never short of performance though; its single biggest failing previously was how it managed it. Remotely previously, though that's not true of this third generation TT. Key to the increased driver appeal are those chassis changes, the steering in particular notable in is accuracy and faithfulness. Turn the pleasingly weighted steering wheel and the TT turns briskly and accurately, and it'll hang on doggedly too. Understeer hasn't been entirely banished, but it's more easily managed, a well timed lift bringing a noticeably more neutral stance. Take it on track and the TT will move around far more willingly, further demonstrating Audi's commitment to providing a TT that delivers on more than just looks.

Larger 19-inch wheels do little to upset the TT's new-found suppleness over bumps, the ride being remarkably forgiving for a sporting Audi. The six-speed automatic S tronic transmission is quick-shifting and smooth, whether you're asking everything of the TTS and using the paddles, or leaving it to its own devices in auto. Only the odd unwanted downshift frustrates, the Audi's algorithms clearly preferring higher-rev histrionics than surging mid-range torque. The brakes, by virtue of dealing with both stopping and as part of the stability systems, get a little bit hot and bothered when really pushed, but even when they're smoking like a faulty toaster the pedal doesn't drop to the floor in protest - and stopping power doesn't overly falter either.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Heading the range for now the TTS gets all the standard equipment of its Audi TT relations with the additional S-specific styling details inside and out. The Virtual Cockpit gains some additional instrument set-ups and Drive Select is more configurable, while there's larger 19-inch alloy wheels, S badging - and 310hp...

Worth Noting

You can slip the new Audi TTS under £40,000 if you opt to shift gears yourself via the six-speed manual. Doing so will result in a slower, less efficient TTS - 0-62mph rising to 4.9 seconds, CO2 creeping up to 166g/km and fuel economy worsening to 39.2mpg. Even so we reckon it might be the TTS to have regardless. The £1,370 difference buys you a lot of fuel, too. Unlike the regular TTs, the S won't be reaching the UK for delivery until January 2015.

Summary

In isolation, the new Audi TTS raises the bar, being as effortlessly quick as it always was, with the addition of a layer of driver involvement that's transformative in its appeal. Where it begins to struggle is against its rivals. At over £40,000 it's pitched perilously close to some very senior competition, and good as the TTS is (and even taking into account its greater on-paper pace) it's still outclassed. Though the gap really has never been smaller. On this form the forthcoming TT RS should be a real hoot, though as ever the TT's sweetest spot remains at the entry rather than top level of its range.


Kyle Fortune - 24 Sep 2014



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2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.



2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 

2014 Audi TTS. Image by Audi.
 






 

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