A spangly new Audi TTS coupe sparked much excitement when it arrived at the GRR offices the other day.
With Sepang Blue paintwork, black Nappa leather sports seats and a lavish spec (taking the sticker price on the test model to a smidge over £46k), it certainly pulls off the trick of making people want it.
But Audi’s TT has always done that, especially here in the UK where the company sells more TTs than it shifts almost anywhere. More interestingly this time around, reviewers have been claiming the new TT makes you want to drive it…
Yes, in spite of its popularity, it’s fair to say the TT of old has never quite managed to convince enthusiasts of its credentials as a ‘drivers’ car’. So we hopped into this 3rd generation TTS with high hopes.
First-off though, it was time sink into the soft leather sports seats, admire the cockpit’s refreshingly simple and attractive layout, and to play with the TT’s multifunctional digital dashboard which centres all of the car’s control systems deep in the binnacle in front of the driver. (The elimination of a central display being the key ‘simplification’ above.)
It all looks terrific, and works well too – at least for the driver. For passengers who like to play with the stereo controls or programme the satnav, not being able even to see the display is a bit of a slap in the face. And isn’t that everyone who’s ever shared a road-trip? Maybe Audi thinks passengers will spend the journey with their head buried in their smartphone … or else will be so gripped by the TTS’s new dynamism, they’ll be white-knuckled and goggle-eyed in awe!
So let’s see about the fun stuff. We’ve a turbocharged 2.0-litre in-line four making 310PS, which isn’t to be sneezed at but isn’t going to make the TTS supercar quick. However with a 0-62mph time of 4.6secs (and a 155mph maximum), the TTS does deliver an engaging level of vitesse.
Indeed if there’s a sweet spot for sensible fast road performance, this could be roughly where it lies; the TT encouraging you to think through and plan your overtaking wins, rather than relying on those banzai moments of accelerative madness that the 500bhp brigade will entertain.
The twin-clutch automated six-speed adds efficiency to progress, but with the agreeably ‘roadable’ level of performance on offer, it can’t be said to add to the pleasure of piloting the TTS. A manual gearbox with a lever to play with is one of the elements that lifts the Porsche Cayman S driving experience into the realms of the sublime, whereas an automated system designed to save micro-seconds adds nothing meaningful to the TTS’s potential to reward an otherwise engaged driver. Doubtless the system does all sorts of remarkable things for emissions and economy instead.
But the chassis is nimble and quick to turn in, and not too harshly suspended for a car with everyday aspirations. The permanent 4×4 system is unobtrusive too, and generally speaking we found very little not to like about our few days with the TTS on the roads around Goodwood.
And not just because for once we got to choose the radio station…