Audi TTS

Adds real sporting substance to the style

GLENN BUTLER

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

I CAN’T make up my mind how I feel about these Hankook Ventus tyres.

My first reaction is the new-generation Audi TTS coupe deserves better.

coupe deserves better.

The TTS, as Wheels readers would know, is a sportier version of the TT. This is the third-gen model, but only the second to get the ‘S’ treatment, which costs an extra $15K over the TT quattro S-Line.

TTS scores a more powerful 2.0-litre turbo four (up 41kW and 10Nm), a 10mm-lower ride height, more sporting adaptive suspension tune, a sharper steering rack from the Audi S3, and some sporty visual embellishments.

But these tyres… They’re giving up at the front, letting the nose run wide, scrubbing away precious cornering momentum. Then I look at the speedo; we’re going quicker than I thought, but it just doesn’t feel that quick. The TTS is so calm, so composed, so comfortable at this velocity. Surely there’s more to be had out of this little sports car...

We’re hoofing along at a reasonable pace on Victoria’s wonderfully serpentine Lake Mountain road – closed for the occasion so we can give the TTS a red-hot run in controlled conditions. Until now I had no complaints. The tyres do a great job getting the turbo four’s 210kW and 380Nm to the road. And the all-wheel drive TTS is crisp and energetic out of corners, as its 0-100km/h time of 4.7 seconds would suggest, engine singing, guns firing with every deliciously quick gear change – if you keep your throttle eagerness below the threshold of the traction control fun police. Engaging ESC Sport allows the driver to overstep a little, and to have first option of correcting that exuberance, before it steps in and takes over.

I’d like the quattro all-wheel drive system to be more rearbiased, to make the tail more involving, but the payoff of allwheel drive out of corners is hard to begrudge.

The tyres also do a great job communicating grip levels back through the TTS’s suspension and chassis to the driver. The steering wheel, too, provides some feedback, though the weighting itself doesn’t convey the stress the tyres are under.

No, I think this imbalance is the car’s fault. There’s a disconnect here between how stressed the tyres are, and how stressed the TTS is. This is one stoically composed yet ballistically quick little coupe that refuses to become ruffled or rushed no matter the speed. There’s a Germanic efficiency to everything it does that suggests it cannot be surprised, nor be upset by the unexpected.

The TTS is a top sports coupe in its own right. Just as exciting, it provides a very competent foundation for the even more powerful TTRS that’ll surely come. i

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Audi TTS 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v turbo 210kW @ 5300-6200rpm 380Nm @ 1800-5200rpm 6-speed dual-clutch 1385kg 4.7sec (claimed) 6.8L/100km $99,000 Now

PLUS & MINUS

Steering quick but also a bit numb; does it look special enough?

Sharp styling; sharp handling; rorty engine; loads of traction; ride

Inner beauty

THE third-generation TT’s interior is just brilliant. Love those temperature displays inside the vent dials, and the huge TFT screen in the instrument binnacle is sharp and clear. ‘S’ touches include a sportier steering wheel, unique dash material, and aluminium-finish console.

‘S’ model includes software for setting suspension, throttle, transmission and sound, and is easy to move between presets, though tailoring the Individual mode could be easier.