Our meteorologists were calling for four to six inches of snow last weekend, but I wasn’t worried – I had the Audi TTS with Quattro. However, our example arrived with its nineteen-inch wheels wrapped in summer rubber, and no matter how valiantly the ESP fought to keep the car in check, the car proved virtually impossible to drive.
I drove the car once things thawed, but I didn’t enjoy the TTS coupe anywhere as much as I did the roadster we previously sampled. There’s little point to coupe’s rear “seats.” They’re best suited for storage, but I think I could make do with the multiple cubbies and the trunk pass-through tucked into the convertible.
Usually, I love Audi’s MMI system, but something seemed amiss with this car’s infotainment system. I lauded the roadster’s Bose speakers as producing brilliant, crisp sound, but those in the coupe made every piece of music flat and muddled. Another annoyance developed soon after: the Bluetooth system would continuously connect and disconnect with my cell phone, which would incite a chime every two minutes. Bizarre.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
It’s interesting that this high-strung turbo four now supercedes the V-6 as the top performing TT engine. The 2.0-liter’s turbo has a massive kick, and I recognize the virtue of the four-cylinder’s weight savings over the V-6 (particularly given the engine’s far forward location). But even this high-zoot, direct-injected unit chugs to life like an old 1.8T in a Jetta or a Golf. The 2.0 TFSI is efficient and powerful, but – unless you’re revving the heck out of it – it just doesn’t have the sexy sound you’d expect from a $50,000-plus sports car.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
I’ve heard a few rumblings about how the new TTS targets the Porsche Boxster, but to me, it feels like an exceptionally well-dressed Mitsubishi Evo. That sounds like a damning comparison until you remember that our Four Seasons Evo MR costs more than $40,000. For $10,000 more, the TTS offers similar turbocharged four-cylinder performance and all-wheel-drive handling prowess, but hides its economy-car origins much, much better. I’d also add that Audi’s dual-clutch unit feels smoother than that in our Evo, and its 24-mpg combined fuel economy rating is a whopping 5-mpg better than our petrol-slurping long-termer.
What do you give up? In a word, steering. The lifeless, disconnected wheel in the TTS is no match for the scalpel found in the Evo. Also, the Evo MR is clearly priced out of the natural asking range for a hotted-up sport compact. The TTS, by adding ten grand in luxury and beauty to the same basic formula, doesn’t become that much better a value.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
By the time I had my turn in the TTS, winter tires were fitted and the temperatures hovered around 50 degrees. Such is life in Michigan.
I found the TTS coupe to be more useful than the roadster we sampled a few weeks earlier due to the extra space it affords in the trunk and the folding rear seats. I was able to put a pair of rifles in individual soft cases in the hatch, which probably wouldn’t be possible in the roadster. There was plenty of room left for all the other supplies needed for a day at the range. I doubt many TTS owners are overly concerned with toting rifles to the range, but now they know it’s possible.
Unlike Evan McCausland, I prefer the TTS in coupe form. In addition to the extra storage, the visibility is a little better when compared to a roadster with the top up – though the steep angle of the rear hatch can still cause problems when you want to back out of a parking spot and there are SUVs or trucks parked next to you. And the coupe will save you $2000. I don’t know that a $2000 difference in price makes the coupe any more of a value proposition, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
This is the most potent TT on the (U.S.) market, and the car looks and feels very good. I’m still a little undecided on the TTS and where it stands in the market, but I’m not going to hesitate to spend more time behind the wheel of one.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Like Phil, I prefer the TTS coupe to the roadster. I love convertibles, don’t get me wrong, but I have a soft spot for the styling of coupes like the TT, the Porsche Cayman, and the Pontiac Solstice. (And, of course, the vintage MGB/GT, which I own.) Other people apparently do, too. No one seemed to notice when I drove the white TTS roadster a couple weeks ago, but this red coupe turned many heads. In fact, it really excited a dude driving a few-year-old, spoiler-delete, black-rimmed Subaru Impreza WRX; as I approached him on the highway, he stuck his arm out the window (on a 25-degree morning, no less) to give me a thumbs-up, and when I passed him, he gave me another approving thumb and grinned widely.
I also love the impressive amount of luggage space (quasi rear seats included) that the TT coupe offers. It’d be a fantastic cross-country tourer for two people, although, most of the time, you’d definitely want to avoid the sport suspension setting, which is dramatically stiffer than the normal mode.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2009 Audi TTS Coupe
Base Price (with destination): $46,325
Price as tested: $52,125
Prestige Model – $5000
(includes: Audi Navigation Plus, Six-disc CD Changer, Audi Parking System, Bose Premium Sound System, Adjustable Power Seats, Bluetooth Phone Preparation, Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers, Storage Package)
19-inch Aluminum Wheels – $800
Fuel Economy: 21 / 29 / 24 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 2.0L DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 265 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Weight: 3252 lb
– 19″ aluminum wheels (size)
– summer performance tires