The Audi TT is one of the most popular Audi models and has always been known to handle like a GoKart, but they never were a show stopper. Sure, they had a few racy iterations, but the overall appeal left people wanting more. Audi was determined to change this, to make their TT stand out, perform and have a memorable ride that stays with you for quite some time.
And that brings us to this review, where I did not just get to test out an Audi TT, but its bigger, naughtier brother, the TTS!
Special thanks to Audi Middle East for the awesome weekend ride!
This is not only the third generation Audi TT, but it also comes at a time when Audi is slowly transitioning into a new technologically advanced automotive brand, with a new interior design language. It would have been a shame if they didn’t incorporate that new language in the TT and guess what, they did.
Updated everything, made this Audi TTS one of the most interesting reviews I have had this year. Before we get into the details, lets quickly take a look at what makes this TT an S.
Technicals of the TTS
The TTS is an updated, sportier and harder version of the TTS coming with a 2.0-liter TSFI engine that now cranks up to 310 horsepower, 380 nm of torque with a 0-100 kph time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 250kmph.
Highest performance even in bends. Controlled by new TT-specific software that regulates the power distribution for the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive with the rear-oriented Haldex clutch. For even more handling stability and for dynamic cornering that is reserved for real sports cars.
The new TTS rides stiffer than the standard TT, but that translates into a more sportier focus. The TT in its third generation is also lighter than its predecessor thanks to even more aluminum, and coupled with more power, makes this a true little beast.
The TTS also comes with standard S-Sport Seats with molded head restraints and side bolstering determined to keep you in your place even in the most challenging bends.
The TTS also gets some visual upgrades from LED lighting (LED Matrix headlights is an option), an S-Line body kit and even quad-tip exhaust system, that sounds just as you would expect of a small, speedy little rocket.
Let’s take a look at the outside of the TTS
All previous TT models.. well… looked quite a bit feminine. Which was not an issue for the females that purchased the TT, but some males felt that they would always end up beside a woman in one. For the third gen, they made a stunning looking machine, that for the first time, would suit everyone.
Let’s start from the front.
The first thing to notice would be those LED lights, it is very signature 2016 Audi with straight lines, LED m and can even be ordered with Matrix headlights that can literally choose what the light up on the road. These are stunning and from most angles, give it quite a mean looking stance.
There is a significant line that swoops down from the bonnet, by the edge of the headlights and along the side of the Audi signature grille all the way to the bottom of the car. This line gives it such a mean look and makes it feel in motion, even while standing still.
The front gets a slight update on the TTS with an S-Line kit with side bumper vents for additional air intake, standard parking sensors, and headlight washers.
The side is mostly where the TT DNA exists, with its fairly short wheelbase, rounded wheel arches and the strong rear end swoop downwards. Pretty standard overall look, with the front and rear making the biggest TT statements. The TT has nice long, wide opening doors for easy entry, which is quite necessary being that the car is fairly low riding.
Shall we take a look at the back?
Surprisingly, the back resembles the front quite a bit. The taillights have the similar vertical and horizontal LED lights, large rear window and a continuation of the amazing lines that go around.
This TTS also has a silver metal trim going around the entire car from the front grille, fuel filler cap, side mirrors, and rear diffuser surround. Speaking of the diffuser, remember the quad exhausts?
The quad tips on the TTS makes the car look a lot more aggressive out back, and also sounds it. There is a very throaty growl as the RPM rises and at its peak, has very definitive burbles and pops. Definitely feisty.
Up top, you will find the speed controlled rear wing that can also be raised or lowered at the push of a button. I personally liked the look of it open, all the time. Also, doesn’t raise a flag to the police when you do actually speed with them watching.
Overall, Audi has turned the new TT into a total stunner and the TTS into a stunner with a 6-pack. It comes in drop-dead sexy wheels, colors and trims options that can easily be one of the nicest looking cars on the road today, day or night.
They have made everything look and feel better while maintaining a level of subtlety. For example; the outside only has two TTS badges: One tucked away in the front grille, and the other on the trunk. Not 17 like in other vehicles.
Ready to go inside? I am!
We’ve established that the exterior of the TTS is beautiful, but what has Audi done to keep the interior at the same level?
I wanted to start by talking about the interior space and front seats. Yes, I am leaving the technology second.
Unlike previous TTs, this one is actually quite a lot bigger. I am 5’9, large, and I fit with quite a lot of room to spare. I even did not have to roll the seat all the way back. I am not saying there is space in the rear for a human with legs, but if you absolutely needed to transport someone, there is space. Overall headroom, leg room, shoulder room are fantastic, although the bucket seats take away a bit of the shoulder space.
The seats are phenomenal. Not only do they look good, but they feel epic. You get an enormous amount of support throughout your drive, yet are fairly comfortable for everyday use.
Getting in and out of the car is a breeze now. Sure, it is low, but with a big, wide opening, it’s easier than ever.
Before diving into the technology, the TTS has a gorgeous interior. Everything feels super tight, modern and soft touch.
I have tested the Audi A4 earlier on ihabdrives.com and I praised it a lot for its solid build feel and sound from the clicks of a button to the thump of the door, and the same continues here. The leather is soft, the rubbers are nice and the plastics are not harsh. Every click feels like it was designed to be a pleasure to use and every material feels like it was chosen to be touched. Love the interior.
One more thing I love, no center screen! Might be a shocker, but it made total sense and absolutely loved it. Everything the driver could possibly need is in the central instrument panel but more on that in a bit. The central dashboard has AC controls right on the air vents, and a few other settings like parking sensors, traction, etc but that is it.
As with the new A4, the TTS comes standard with the new MMI that is controlled by this one wheel and supporting buttons. Two side options, a turn wheel with a click, a menu and back button. There are 4 shortcut buttons above that but are not necessary needed.
The system is incredibly intuitive to use but does need some getting used to. Some items are under certain menus which may not be the most appropriate place for them, but once you are familiar with where everything is, it moves super fast, easy and with lovely graphics.
Being a fully digital screen means one thing; Customization.
The Audi TTS has Audi’s beautiful virtual cockpit, which has a few different setups. The first and also my favorite is the center focused one, where you have the tachometer and digital speed reading in the middle, and two optional and customizable screens on the side. The full menu is controlled on the left panel.
There is another mode where there are two side dials with a central screen for the menu and options. There is a bonus mode, for the enthusiasts, where the two dials (speedometer and tachometer) can be minimized to show a map on the whole remaining open space. Looks epic!
There are also very nicely placed, and beautifully clicky buttons on the steering wheel as well, which allows the driver to go through the main menu items, control the volume, radio channels, and voice commands.
Oh, it does not end there! The TTS comes with a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system which is surprisingly perfect for such a small car.
There is limited interior storage, so don’t expect a lot of storage space and cup holders, but it has enough for a single person. You can leave your Starbucks tray in the trunk.
Ok, looks good in and out, but how does it drive?
This is the part I have been waiting for the most!
I am not going to compare the TTS to any of its rivals. If you’re reading this interested in a TTS, get it. If you’re not, drive it then get it.
The vehicle drives, literally, like a grown up’s GoKart. With over 300 horsepower, in a light, compact and low chassis, the TTS gains speed incredibly quickly (0-100 in 3.6 kph) and continues to accelerate hard and loud beyond legal speeds in no time. Throw the TTS around a corner and the stiff suspension, grippy tires, and Quattro 4-wheel drive system keeps the vehicle planted on the road.
During my weekend with the TTS, I kept pushing the vehicle harder and harder, and with every fast turn, tight twist or late braking, I would get closer and closer to the TTS’s limit, but it never let me down.
The TTS hit the perfect balance between handling, performance and usable power.
Placing the car is fairly easy as well, with the way the vehicle is set up across the steering, suspension, and tire, the driver always feels in control and knows where the car is at all times. This does come at the cost of feeling every little bump on the road, but great for driving dynamics.
Visibility out of the vehicle is quite good, and with the big windows, seeing out of the TTS is fairly easy as well. To aid in parking, it comes with front and rear parking sensors.
The tech does not end there though!
You get a full 3D navigation system, which is a Google maps integration, heads-up display, automatic LED headlights, emergency warnings and more.
The Audi TTS also comes several driving aids such as lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic sensors and can be fitted with even more tech, such as lane keep, traffic driving assist, and more.
To wrap up the TTS: it is a compact sports car, with 300+ horsepower, 380 nm of torque, Quattro 4-wheel drive, a beautifully sculptured body and also has technology for days. Simply put, it is the best all-around small sports car around.
If for any unexplainable reason, all the power you get in the TTS is not enough, you can take it a step further with the TT-RS but take my word for it, the TTS is more than enough of a sports car than you would ever need. It is brilliant.