Much as we car enthusiasts like to whine about being underappreciated and underserved by profit-driven automakers, there are a ton of really good sports cars to choose from these days. That's good for enthusiasts but might be a problem for the Audi TTS.
Considered on its own, the TTS is a well-balanced, refined performance car. It's quick in a straight line and dispenses with corners easily. It has all the expected Audi go-fast hardware, including a turbocharged four-cylinder, a dual-clutch transmission, and a lowered suspension. The TTS even has an R8-like spoiler that rises up at speed. What else could you possibly want?
It's only when you start thinking about all the other wonderful sports cars on offer the TTS becomes less appealing. There's the Mazda RX-8, which handles better and costs $20,000 less. There's a Porsche Cayman, which costs $5000 more and does everything better (except seat four passengers). There's even the Audi S4, which costs about the same and has more power and more practicality, albeit in a slightly less sexy wrapper. Compared with these and other purebreds, the TTS still feels like just a very good TT. That's not a bad thing to be, but if Audi really wants to win in this segment, it should think about scaling down its most expensive model (the R8) rather than dressing up one of its cheapest. Judging by the second E-tron concept we saw at Detroit, this may indeed happen.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor