Motorsport and Audi enthusiasts alike have a reverence for the Audi Sport Quattro world rally championship cars from the 1980s. In fact one sold recently in North America for north of $450,000.
This was the car which launched Audi’s S high-performance models. The Sport Quatrro S1 was actually a limited edition (just 200) short wheelbase model built for homologation of the rally cars.
Now the range of the gorgeous all-new TT coupe and roadster has been boosted by the launch of the sporty TTS.
2015 Audi TTS Overview
As the sports version of the Audi TT, the S model scores a more powerful version of the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine, unique interior and exterior enhancements, larger brakes and extra equipment. Prices are $99,900 for the coupe (that’s $1,000 more than the previous model) or $103,900 for the soft-top roadster (up by only $600).
Audi reckons its S models hit the sweet spot for many buyers. Some extra sporty pizzazz without the full-on RS model brutality.
2015 Audi TTS Engine
The TTS scores its own version of the 2.0 TFSI turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine so it delivers 210kW of power and peak torque of 380Nm from 1800-5700rpm. That’s 10kW/30Nm up on the previous generation TTS.
Compared to the rest of the TT range, the engine in the TTS runs a lightweight aluminium-silica alloy cylinder head, modified aluminium pistons, higher-strength connecting rods, new bearings, new valve springs and seat rings and a high-performance air-to-air intercooler.
Drive is to all four wheels via Quattro and a six-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission.
So we have zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds (coupe) and 5.0 seconds (roadster) – that’s about 0.6 seconds faster than the previous generation.
Combined-cycle fuel consumption scores 6.8l/100kms.
2015 Audi TTS The Interior
The latest Audi TT presents one of the best interiors of any car at any price and the TTS version ramps things up even further. It’s a combination of luxury and performance style which the German brands seem to carry-off better than anyone else.
For the TTS you can add diamond-pattern quilted Audi S Sport seats (heated on the roadster) in Alcantara and leather with electro-pneumatic adjustment for the side bolsters to keep you snug when cornering, the excellent three-spoke S steering wheel, a unique upper component for the dashboard, DAB+ digital radio, brushed aluminium inlays and even grippy carpet floor mats.
A highlight remains Audi’s virtual cockpit with the 12.3-inch TFT screen in front of the driver displaying a full-width view of the satellite navigation map when ‘Progressive Mode’ is selected. The TTS adds a unique ‘Sport Mode’ which sees a large central tachometer and more detail for items like engine temperature.
With plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment you are instantly at home behind the wheel (aided of course by those adjustable seat bolsters) and feeling like this is a true sports car.
2015 Audi TTS Exterior & Styling
As we know, this generation Audi TT takes some front-end design cues from the R8 sports car – noticeable in-front with the long, low single frame grille, the full LED tail-lights and bonnet shape. And only the TT and the R8 have the ‘four-ring’ Audi badge on the bonnet instead of the grille.
While shorter overall than the previous generation, the latest TT runs a longer wheelbase. And despite being 10mm narrower than its predecessor, the front/rear track measurement is actually 19mm wider (so the wheels have been pushed-out in pursuit of this lower/wider dynamic).
This time the TT’s styling direction is more about straight lines than curves. But it’s still obviously at TT in all the design purity the badge brings to mind.
The TTS is distinguished by the red or black painted brake calipers, aluminium look exterior mirrors, honeycomb air intakes, a bodykit, rear diffuser in platinum grey, quad exhaust tailpipes and the 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels.
2015 Audi TTS On The Road
No high-speed test track this time – instead Audi dispatched us onto the excellent roads from Melbourne Airport out to Marysville and beyond to Lake Mountain where a 10kms closed road section awaited. Very familiar for the www.carshowroom.com.au team as this is where we test cars every week.
Compared to the previous generation TTS, the newcomer boasts some impressive arsenal to sharpen the driving dynamics. Yes there’s the extra grunt but don’t overlook a weight reduction of some 45kgs (most of that coming from the aluminium doors and tailgate), a 10mm lower centre of gravity, 23 per-cent stiffer torsional rigidity (thanks to some components from the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform), variable ratio steering from the awesome Audi S3 and of course the Audi ‘Magnetic Ride’ suspension.
There’s the Quattro system too - it’s the new fifth generation version which is 1.5kgs lighter and includes software developed specifically for the TT. In ‘Dynamic’ mode it diverts power more readily to the rear wheels.
And we recalled those bigger brakes when we got a sniff of them working hard at the end of a high-speed blast up-and-down the Lake Mountain road (in ‘Dynamic’ mode so the suspension is firmer etc). That would be one of the best drives we’ve had all year.
Just the chassis balance and grip of the Audi TTS with Quattro at the business end tells confirms this is a very special car. And, to be honest, the performance of the 2.0-litre TFSI engine is perfectly matched to the overall package – that distinctive exhaust note and snappy gear changes from the S tronic’s paddle shifters reminded this is an Audi and overtaking slower cars was a breeze.
So you get that sharp turn-in with nice feedback, virtually no body-roll and a distinctly ‘pointy’ feel, then there’s the tell-tale Quattro grip mid-corner as you feed-in the power and blistering acceleration on the way out. That’s state-of-the-art technology right there.
Despite a warning before take-off we absolutely nailed a large bump mid-corner about one-third of the way down the mountain (Lake Mountain is a ski resort in winter) but this hardly perturbed our TTS – and again we had all that Audi technology to thank.
Before we got to the hills we did sample the Audi TTS in traffic and had no complaints. Unlike some German rivals Audi manages to give its performance cars some appreciated suspension compliance which smoothes the journey in the ‘burbs.
Our first car was a roadster and an unexpected burst of sunshine in Melbourne required us to raise the roof which we tried on the move at around 35-40km/h. No dramas there, the electronic wizardry overcame the TTS being ion the move and closed the roof quick-smart.
2015 Audi TTS Challenges
We’re not deducting points from the Audi TTS on any front. Yes, the rear three-quarter visibility is a bit restricted but hey, this is a coupe/roadster after-all…and you do have front/rear sensors plus the rear-view camera to assist when parking.
2015 Audi TTS Verdict
The Audi TT is one of our favourite cars and the TTS is our favourite TT. So when you combine the glorious looks of the latest model and the extra grunt over the previous TTS…well you can see how we quickly arrived at our 4.5-star rating.
For us the sharper driving dynamics and technology courtesy of Quattro all-wheel-drive tips the scales in favour of the TTS over its major rival.
And, like the majority of buyers (around 80 per-cent), we’d go the extra and look at the optional ‘S Performance’ model with extras including Audi Sport alloy wheels (and we’d snare the 20-inchers!), an even more upscale interior, red brake calipers, matrix beam headlights and Bang & Olufsen audio.
2015 Audi TTS The Competition
It’s when you contemplate direct and relevant rivals that the Audi TTS underscores its great vale ($99,900 for the Coupe or $103,900 for the Roadster).
BMW Z4 comes closest and it’s a ripper. But the sDrive28i (180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo) while comparatively a bargain at $89,900 is only rear-wheel-drive (Quattro for the TT) and isn’t as sporty in its standard specification.
Porsche Boxter starts at $104,700 but the sporty S is $131,100 to kick-off. Or it’s a $106,200 starting price for the Cayman.