Five First Impressions After Driving Audi’s New TTS

For a fashion statement, the Audi TT doesn’t seem to age.

It’s had a couple procedures to keep it fresh, but most of that has been to cure a different ailment – its sports car credentials. Audi let me drive two TT variants back to back, because I’m trying to find out if the TT is really the baby R8 Audi would have us believe it is – the R8 for well, people who can afford a $58,000 coupe. I got out of the TT Roadster and into the TTS, which I’ll be driving this weekend. Here are some initial impressions.

Sharp suit

God, I love the way this car looks. I always have, but the latest iteration is sharpened in the latest Audi tradition. It has just enough of that aggressive sports car lurking look about it that’s seductive when you look at it in your driveway. Especially on this TTS, the brushed metallic accents and sleek gray color of my test car make it epically cool.

Wearing a hoodie and sneakers that have seen better days, I was totally under-dressed to drive it. Or maybe the father and son who walked by the TTS and said, “I really like the way those look now,” thought I came into some Silicon Valley money or something.

Well, it’s not the least practical car…

It may have roots in practical cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3, but the TT is short on space. The vestigial rear seats continue in the TTS coupe, while the TT Roadster’s trunk is the most shallow thing since Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s last romcom. Got me and my luggage to the airport, though. And the gorgeous diamond-stitched red leather seats are ridiculously comfortable, even on long highway runs.

And then it sits, waiting for your return.

Tech that just works

I’ve known this for a while now, but this is the longest I’ve spent with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. And it’s breathtakingly good. There’s just enough information and it’s easy to figure out after a few minutes, rather than a few sessions with an Audi expert. Best of all, I’ve yet to have an incident in this car where I had to turn off and restart everything because the infotainment system crashed. Which is good, because the Virtual Cockpit is also the only way to find out how fast you’re going.

Yes, it’s fast

The TT has a 2.0-liter turbo four with 220 horses, and that’s fine. But the TTS gets 292 horsepower and that really changes things. It feels angrier and more immediate when you ask it for more propulsion. The Audi isn’t brutal in its power delivery, either, unless you ask it to be. Oh, yes, it has a dual-clutch transmission and that’s the only way it comes. I haven’t really cared about that yet.

But bring on the TT RS, please.

And yes, it grips

In comfort mode, the TTS is a mostly docile thing, like a low-slung Golf GTI. Push it, however, and the Quattro system wakes up to tie you to the ground. Turn it up into Dynamic mode and it’s like a roller coaster. Curved freeway ramps will be your new best friend. That’s what a sports car should do.

A full review is forthcoming, but you may have been able to tell I thoroughly enjoy driving the TTS. It’s a sports car, and it might just be the right amount of sports car for everyday driving. But what are your questions? Sound off.