Audi TTS Coupe - First Drive

Audi has squeezed more performance out of its TT Coupe to turn it into the TTS. Tom Stewart has driven it.

Those familiar with the Ingolstadt brand will know that Audi’s more powerful models are prefixed with an ‘S’, eg: S1, S3, S4, S5, SQ5, S7 and S8, with the most powerful prefixed ‘RS’ in similar vein. This being the case I feel the need to point out the inconsistency of the sportiest TTs having their ‘S’ or ‘RS’ as a suffix.

I’ll leave you to ponder why that might be, but in the meantime here’s the lowdown on the latest and speediest addition to the current ten-model TT Coupe range, the TTS Coupe.

I’ve recently driven a TTS Coupe with S tronic transmission and quattro AWD and in many respects it’s similar to the latest regular TT Coupe. But the equivalently specced TTS’s price of of £40,270 on the road (OTR) – or a little over £8,000 more than the range-topping TT Coupe – does buy you a little more.

The 2-litre TFSI engine in TT guise puts out 230PS with 370Nm of torque, and that translates into 0-62mph in 5.3 secs and a 155mph max (S tronic, quattro). The 2.0 TFSI in TTS guise produces 310PS with 380Nm due to its bigger turbo and intercooler, modified pistons, higher-strength con-rods and various other internal mods, all of which means the same (electronically-limited) 155mph top speed but 0-62 in a fleeting 4.9 secs, (or 4.6 secs for the 6-sp manual version).

Now while in purist circles Audi’s compact coupe has a reputation as a slightly effete sports car with pretty aesthetics but limited driver appeal, make no mistake, this sub 5-second TTS is quick, very quick indeed. And it handles well too with precise steering, brakes that bite, excellent body control, and an impressively rigid chassis with taut suspension.

However, the TTS Coupe I drove rolled on optional 20-inch alloys with very low profile 255/30 Michelin Pilots, and while these bestow the car with lashings of grip and even greater security at speed, they’re also responsible for a vision-blurring, tooth-rattling ride, at least on Cotswold B-roads. And neither Audi’s magnetic ride suspension damping nor switching the 5-mode Drive Select control to Comfort (both standard on the TTS) offer respite.

Essentially, it’s like this; Audi TTs ride comfortably on 17 or 18-inch wheels, acceptably on 19s and unacceptably on 20s, so I’d strongly advise potential customers to weigh-up the pros and cons before shelling out an extra £850 on 20-inchers.

Apart from the added power and speed, the TTS also comes better equipped than the TT. Standard items include LED head and tail lights, MMI touch, Audi Music Interface and heated, nappa leather, torso-hugging ‘super sports’ seats. The TTS also boasts instrumentation displays unique to the more driver focused TTS.

Despite the high spec and a beautifully designed, well-appointed and well finished interior, don’t pretend that you’ll not be tempted by the TTS’s options list. My test car sported a Comfort and Sound package (£1,320), a Technology package (£1,795), Audi ‘Matrix’ LED headlamps (£945), electric front seats (£995) plus about half a dozen other options which all conspired to bump its total to £48,930 OTR.

If you’re spending close on £50k on a fun two-seater then fuel frugality may not be a primary consideration, but if the official EU combined figure is to be believed then the TTS Coupe quattro S tronic should return 38.7mpg (with 169g/km CO2 emissions), or 1mpg less (and 174g/km) with the optional 20-inch wheels. My 20-inch equipped TTS’s trip computer recorded a 25.1mpg average, although it would doubtless have been a little less juicy with a less frisky driving style.

Like its newest TT siblings, (and those 20-inch wheels aside), the TTS Coupe quattro is a highly capable and well honed sportscar, but faster still. Purists may still argue that, despite the TTS’s superior power and acceleration, ultimately it’s less rewarding to drive than the benchmark, mid-engined, rear-drive Porsche Cayman 2.7, and they’ll have a point. For most, however, the subtle dynamic distinctions between the two will be inconsequential.

For those wanting more, the TTS Roadster is due to hit UK showrooms in June, while those awaiting news of a new TT RS roadburner will have to wait a little longer, but it’s bound to be along before too long.