– Cleveland, Ohio
The Audi TTS is currently the most potent TT you can buy. But as with manyAudi models, an even hotter RS version is coming that will put the potency debate to bed and then smother it with a pillow. Should you wait for the lunatic TT RS, make do with this TTS, or save some cash and buy a base TT? After driving this car for a week, we don’t think it’s the right answer.
- This little guy is seriously fun to drive, and it’s no secret why. Small car + powerful engine + all-wheel drive = fun. But it’s not just those baked in qualities that make the TTS such a pleasure to pilot. I really like the steering that, despite being electric, is very nicely weighted and quick to turn. It’s so good and authentic-feeling, it made me forget to complain about the good old days of hydraulic setups.
- The Audi Virtual Cockpit system is the best attempt by any automaker to grab the attention of younger people who are more into smartphones than cars these days. It’s a fully digital instrument cluster and infotainment system set right behind the steering wheel in one giant 12.3-inch digital display running at 60 frames per second (video gamers will appreciate that stat). It’s the bleeding edge of human machine interface in autos right now, and it actually works really well. With only one screen, there are some compromises, including leaving the passenger out of the equation altogether, but other Audis (except the R8) will still come with a second screen in the dash.
- She’s a looker, ain’t she? This third generation of the TT’s design regains some of the luster lost by the second generation’s less artful form. Nothing can top the original TT, which established Audi in the late ‘90s as a design force to be reckoned with. This third-gen, though, adds some creases and points to the otherwise iconically rounded shape and brings it all back in line with the brand’s new family identity.
- I can’t argue with the car’s overall performance (4.6 seconds to 60 mph ain’t bad), but it’s hard to wrap my head around paying nearly $60,000 (as equipped with a few high-priced options) for less than 300 horsepower. The engine is the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as in the base TT, but massaged to make 292 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. You’re getting 72 additional horsepower and 22 more lb-ft of torque, but you’re paying at least $9,000 for the privilege and still going home with a sub-300-hp car (one that realistically only fits two people, by the way).
- Dynamic mode in the TTS is very dynamic, keeping the revs super high and the suspension, transmission, and steering all taut as a snare drum. It’s really meant for an actual race track, despite the fact that only a handful of owners will probably ever use it there. Dynamic mode wore thin pretty quickly for me on public roads where I couldn’t flat-out accelerate and brake between every corner. The transmission, especially, will hold a lower gear all the live long day, refusing to upshift while the engine wails away impatiently. Your alternative modes in Audi Drive Select, though, are either Comfort, Auto, or an Individual setting where you can choose Comfort, Auto, or Dynamic for each of the car’s major components. I just wish there were another sport setting below Dynamic that was livable enough to leave selected all the time.
- The TTS doesn’t stack up that well on paper with its competitive set, which makes me lean towards recommending you buy the base model or wait for the bonkers RS if you really want a high-performance TT. For one, there’s the BMW M2, a similarly small sports car that’s priced the same but comes with significantly more power. It’s also a true M car and the one we’ve all been waiting for, I’m told. A base Porsche Cayman actually comes with less power than the TTS, but will soon be replaced by a hardtop version of the new 718 Boxster with a 300-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The TT is really aimed at the lover of technology and design, a target it nails dead on, but the base model hits that mark just as well as the higher-performance TTS for a lot less money.
- BMW M2
- Porsche Cayman
- Lexus RC 350 AWD