SAN FRANCISCO – July 15, 2016 — Let’s forget for a moment that the TTS looks like a “chick car” or that it’s rather smallish interior may be a bit too cramped for guys 6’1” or taller. Let’s forget that it’s built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf – back up a second, let that sink in for a moment. Okay, we can proceed to objectively look at the TTS for what it offers at the relative price point Audi has deemed its worth – starts at just over $51,000.
Powered by the infamous 2.0-liter 4-cylindar engine that has found its way in plenty of Volkswagen group autos, Audi ratchets things up quite a bit to 292-horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. While those aren’t astronomical numbers by most of today’s sport’s car standards, bear in mind that this car only weighs 3200 pounds. Of course, the car would be a bit leaner if it wasn’t for the all-wheel-drive Quattro system but the benefits of traction on launch and on the roads makes it worth the trade-off.
We’re looking at 0-60 times around 4.5 seconds using the launch control and the car boasts a top speed of 155 miles per hour – not too shabby for the ol’ 2.0-liter. Additionally, Audi has done a great job tuning the exhaust notes of the TTS – it has a cute little growl which sounds like a toddler farting between shifts during hard launches.
Audi’s Quattro system works very well, especially when using the car’s built-in launch control – you can feel all four wheels grip the asphalt with authority. Not only does it help the car launch but provides some stellar grip on those windy roads as well. We took it over the hills between Reno and Virginia City – easily one of the most fun drives this auto reviewer has had in quite some time. There was little to no body roll – the car stayed flat all the way through any corner we threw at it.
While the TTS doesn’t have the “muscle” other sports cars have in its price range, one could make the argument that it’s one of the most fun to drive. There’s something very rewarding about driving a slower car, fast. That’s not to say the TTS is “slow” per se but it’s nearing the price of a Corvette which could eat its lunch – something to think about.
Moving to the interior we see Audi’s first implantation of its “virtual cockpit” dash layout. This means that the entire area where you’d normally see gauge clusters is made up digitally. This move allows Audi to get rid of pop-up screen in the middle of the dash – using a series of steering wheel mounted switches, allows the driver to adjust the display between car information, navigation mapping, multimedia, Bluetooth and a standard driving cluster. It’s a slick setup and implemented very well – you’d have to see it in action to fully appreciate it.
Virtual cockpit is augmented by a few controls on the center console that includes a dial – the cool thing about the dial is that the top of it allows you to use your finger to draw letters. This makes “typing” in city names, for example, go a lot quicker.
Audio quality from the Bose system is good but far from great and lacks the clarity from competing systems by Harmon-Kardon, Infinity and Alpine. It supports satellite radio, HD FM, FM, AM, Bluetooth, CD and
The front seats have amazing support and comfort along with an under-knee extension which really helps overall comfort on extended trips – I’m not sure why all car seats don’t have this feature. The diamond leather looks sharp and the “S” design cues are prevalent throughout the cabin.
As far as rear seating goes? Unless you’re an infant in a car seat, you’d be hard-pressed to fit back there. It’d be nice if Audi would just take out the back seats to save even more weight as they’re pretty much useless for all intents and purposes.
Audi has slapped together a very fun little car — it’s barely over 3,000 pounds which is liken to finding a two-door unicorn these days as so many of them are far heavier. The main competitor for this car is the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe, which is in the same price range and performance bracket.
While there are cars with a great deal more horsepower in the $55k range, few offer the level of refinement and sheer open road fun that the TTS has in spades. If you’re in the market for a sporty two-door coupe then definitely check out the TTS – it’s far more than a “chick car”.