Registered: December 2007
LA's Best Audi is taking the wraps off a new sports car – the Audi TTS, the top of the TT model line. It will be coming to dealer showrooms in the early summer. Under its hood lies a two-liter TFSI high-performance engine delivering a mighty 200 kW (272 hp). This intense power propels the TTS Coupe to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) from a standstill in just 5.2 seconds and on to a governor-limited top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph). The Audi TTS is available as both a 2 + 2-seater coupe and as a roadster.
Designed to appeal to a young and dynamic clientele, the TTS represents the Audi brand's Vorsprung durch Technik (“advancement through technology”) in its very latest form. The TFSI engine in the TTS takes the two Audi technologies of gasoline direct injection and turbocharging and blends them to form a perfect partnership. Aside from its output of 200 kW (272 hp), it is its peak torque of 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft), which is constantly on tap between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm, that makes the compact and lightweight four-cylinder unit so impressive.
Compared to the engine it was derived from, the two-liter power unit has been reengineered and strengthened in a number of key areas to ready it for operation in the TTS. Thanks to its excellent efficiency, the sporty-sounding TFSI has an average fuel consumption of just 8.0 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (29.375 mpg) in the Coupe when partnered by the six-speed manual transmission, while the figure for the roadster averages 8.2 l/100 km (28.659 mpg). These figures are improved by 0.1 and 0.2 l/100 km (by 0.372 and 0.716 mpg), respectively, if the optional S tronic dual-clutch transmission is fitted.
S tronic, which deploys two clutches, is capable of performing extremely quick gear shifts at high engine loads and rev speeds; consequently, the time taken to sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) is cut by a further two-tenths of a second in both the Coupe and Roadster. Loss-free transfer of power to the road is the task of the standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive that enables the TTS to accelerate quicker and with greater stability than its rivals. At the heart of this system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch that works faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir.
The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech module – the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system. This gives the driver the choice of two characteristic settings: “Standard” mode is designed for a well-balanced, comfortable ride, whereas in the “Sport” setting the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension – which lowers the body by 10 millimeters
(0.39 in.) – to deliver uncompromisingly dynamic handling. Its front suspension is mainly made of aluminum, while the efficient technology of the precision electromechanical steering also helps to improve fuel consumption considerably. The sports car is safely brought to a standstill by the high-performance braking system with its 17-inch discs.
Yet another factor in the supreme performance of the TTS is the hybrid construction of its body. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum. ASF (Audi Space Frame) technology optimizes axle load distribution and reduces the overall weight. The manual Coupe weighs just 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lbs), which equates to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 kg/hp (11.24 lbs/hp).
Powerful looks: 18-inch wheels plus new headlights
The Audi TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line. The standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are a highlight of the exterior design, as are the headlights, comprising newly designed bi-xenon units with LED daytime running lights. Inside, passengers are welcomed by deep-set sports seats trimmed in a mixture of leather and Alcantara, with Silk Nappa leather seat upholstery in four different color combinations available as an option. The gray instrument panel as well as the multifunctional steering wheel add further styling touches.
The TTS Roadster comes with an electrohydraulic drive for the soft top, a power wind deflector, plus, for added practicality, a load-through facility. The rear seats in the Coupe have a split-folding design, allowing luggage capacity to be increased from 290 to 700 liters (10.24 to 24.72 cubic ft.). The hard-top TTS is priced at 44,900 euros and the convertible version at 47,750 euros.
The unveiling of the TTS also marks something of an anniversary for Audi: It was 10 years ago that the TT Coupe first took to the road, swiftly acquiring the status of design icon. And the TT has stayed firmly in the fast lane ever since.
The TFSI engine fitted in the TTS summons its power from a displacement of 1984 cc, and blends two separate Audi technologies – gasoline direct injection and turbocharging – to form a partnership that is perfect for a sports car. It is with good reason that an international jury of motoring journalists has crowned the two-liter four-cylinder power unit "Engine of the Year" three times in succession since 2005.
It is not only the 200 kW (272 hp) of output that makes the TFSI so scintillating, there's its hefty pulling power too – the maximum torque of 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) is constantly on tap from 2,500 up to 5,000 rpm. The Coupe with manual transmission takes just 5.4 seconds to race from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph), while a mere 4.4 seconds are required to speed up from 80 to 120 km/h (49.71 to
74.56 mph) in fourth gear. The Roadster is almost as impressive, recording times of 5.6 and 4.6 seconds respectively for the same two exercises. The electronic limiter calls a halt to this outstanding propulsion at a speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) in both models.
Compared to the engine it was derived from, the two-liter power unit has undergone extensive reengineering and strengthening to ready it for operation in the TTS – overhauled areas include the engine block, the cylinder head, the pistons, the connecting rods and the turbocharger, which can build up as much as 1.2 bar of relative air pressure. The intake and exhaust systems have undergone elaborate honing to allow the refined four-cylinder engine to both breathe freely and generate a powerful, resonant soundtrack. An optimized and highly efficient intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air, producing a crucial increase in the quantity of air supplied for combustion.
Thanks to its outstanding efficiency, the TFSI has impressive fuel consumption of 7.9 liters per 100 km (29.747 mpg) in the Coupe when partnered by the S tronic transmission, and just 8.0 l/100 km (29.375 mpg) in the Roadster. The two-liter engine is extremely light, weighing in at 153 kilograms (337.31 lbs). This has considerable benefits for the overall weight of the TTS as well as for the axle load distribution and, consequently, for the vehicle's handling.
High-tech gearshifting: S tronic
Transmission of the engine's power is handled as standard in the TTS by a manual six-speed gearshift with a light-weight magnesium housing. As an alternative, customers can opt for S tronic, which operates using six gears and two clutches positioned one behind the other. At high engine loads and rev speeds, it is capable of shifting in just two-tenths of a second. As a result of this high-speed shift work and its dynamic start-off capabilities, the dual-clutch transmission from Audi shaves a whole two-tenths off the time taken for the sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in both the Coupe and the Roadster.
S tronic, which likewise boasts excellent efficiency, also allows the driver to shift gears manually using the one-touch lever or by means of paddles on the steering wheel, just like in a racing car. There is also a choice of two automatic operating modes: N for “Normal” and S for “Sport.” The clutches also have an adaptive design, enabling the start-off characteristics to be varied – whereas caution is exercised on slippery surfaces, full power can be unleashed at the driver's command when there is firm grip.
The standard-specification quattro permanent all-wheel drive ensures loss-free transfer of the engine's power to the road. With drive power being delivered to all four wheels, the TTS is able to accelerate quicker and more safely than its rivals, delivering dynamism coupled with supreme stability under all conditions.
At the heart of the quattro system is an electronically controlled and hydraulically operated multi-plate clutch, which now works even faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir. If required, all of the drive force can be redirected from the front to the rear wheels within a matter of milliseconds. To make allowance for the high torques produced by the TFSI engine in the TTS, the drive train has been reinforced as required.
Audi has opted for a McPherson front suspension with lower triangular wishbones for the TTS. The suspension is largely made of aluminum, thereby reducing the unsprung masses. With a view to increasing rigidity, the subframe is bolted to the body at six points. The sensitive, high-precision power steering is driven electromechanically, a technology that improves fuel consumption by 0.2 liters per 100 km (0.716 mpg). The characteristics of the steering's power assistance have been adapted to reflect the dynamic nature of the TTS.
The four-link rear suspension offers considerable benefits for vehicle handling, as it is capable of dealing with the longitudinal and lateral forces separately from one another. All of the links are made from high-strength grades of steel, while modified bearings emphasize the taut feel of the TTS. The coil springs and shock absorbers are fitted separately from one another, meaning that they take up little space.
The TTS comes standard with 18-inch cast aluminum wheels that sport the five-arm parallel-spoke S design and are shod with 245/40-size tires. Further wheel variants are optionally available, including a new 19-inch cast aluminum wheel designed by quattro GmbH. The exceptionally dynamic top-of-the-line TT model comes equipped with a high-performance braking system. Large disks are fitted front and rear, with the front disks being internally ventilated too. Inside the black-painted calipers, which bear the TTS emblem at the front, are the sport brake pads. Audi has devised a second, sporty level for the ESP stabilization program which enables controlled drifting.
Audi magnetic ride – crisp and versatile
The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech solution — the Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension system. Circulating inside the damper pistons is a special fluid containing minute magnetic particles. When an electrical voltage is applied, the oil's flow properties change the characteristics of the suspension.
Audi magnetic ride works adaptively, meaning that it adjusts automatically to suit the prevailing conditions. The driver can select one of two suspension settings. In “Normal” mode, when oil viscosity is high, the TTS offers a well-balanced, comfortable ride. In the “Sport” setting, meaning low viscosity, the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension – which lowers the body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in.) – to deliver uncompromisingly dynamic handling.
The Audi generates non-stop fun at the wheel as it speeds around corners like a go-cart with absolute crispness and precision, seemingly glued to the road. Any body roll is suppressed from the moment the vehicle starts to turn. The steering becomes more responsive and direct, and selective bracing of the wheels makes the self-steering more neutral.
The superior performance of the TTS can be partly attributed to the technology of its bodywork, whose hybrid construction combines two different types of materials. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum.
Audi first developed this principle, known as the Audi Space Frame (ASF), in the early 1990s, triggering a revolution in body manufacturing. Extruded sections, pressure die-castings and load-bearing aluminum panels together form a light, rigid and extremely safe structure. On the Coupe, the side sections and the roof are laser welded together, producing a precision seamless joint — another clear indication of how Audi strives for perfection when building its cars.
The construction of the TTS has the added major benefit of optimizing distribution of the axle loads and reducing the vehicle's total weight. The Coupe's body weighs a mere 206 kilograms (454.15 lbs), of which 140 kg (308.65 lbs) is aluminum and 66 kg (145.51 lbs) steel. In the case of the TTS Roadster, whose body incorporates special reinforcements, the figure is 251 kilograms (553.36 lbs). All in all, the manual version of the Coupe weighs in at just 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lbs), equating to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 kilograms (11.24 lbs) per hp. The Roadster's weight of 1,455 kilograms (3,207.73 lbs), meanwhile, corresponds to a ratio of 5.4 kg/hp (11.90 lbs/hp).
The Audi TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line. One of the design highlights is undoubtedly the headlights – newly designed bixenon units featuring a horizontal strip of white LEDs that serve as daytime running lights. The single-frame grill in a platinum gray finish is embellished with slender chrome strips, while large air intakes in the restyled front apron add to the striking look.
When viewed in profile, it is not only the large 18-inch wheels that stand out; the widened, deeper door sills are equally eye-catching. A muscular rear bumper, a gray-colored diffusor trim, plus two sets of twin tailpipes protruding from the left and the right inject the vehicle's tail with a sporty character all of its own. The spoiler on the TTS extends automatically when the speed reaches 120 km/h (74.56 mph) and retracts again when it drops back to 80 km/h (49.71 mph).
Both the Coupe and the Roadster measure 4,198 millimeters (13.77 ft) long and 1,842 mm (6.04 ft) wide; the hard-top TTS is 1,345 mm (4.41 ft) in height, its open-top counterpart 1,350 mm (4.43 ft). The Roadster features an electrohydraulically operated soft top which opens and closes in twelve seconds, even on the move at speeds below 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The soft top incorporates a large glass rear window and folds in a "Z" shape. Neither a tonneau cover nor a cover flap is needed. Extra matting between the headlining and the outer skin improves insulation, and an electrically extending/retracting wind deflector shields the occupants' necks from drafts when the hood is down.
Awaiting the passengers inside are deep-set sports seats featuring seat heating and height adjustment. They come as standard with leather/Alcantara seat covers in either black or black and silver, plus silver-colored contrast stitching. The sports seats are optionally available in Silk Nappa leather upholstery. There is also the option of the Impulse leather package, comprising black trim with silver stitching in the Coupe or chennai brown trim with espresso-colored contrast stitching in the Roadster.
The ****pit in the TTS is molded around the driver like a sleek-fitting suit. Its clean-cut, sporty design and uncompromising quality of construction is another Audi trademark. Instruments with a gray background and white needles, metal pedals, aluminum trim panels, plus a multifunctional leather sports steering wheel with a rim that’s flattened at the bottom add further styling touches. The driver information system with its new, high-resolution white display concentrates all important information where it can be clearly seen by the driver, and includes a timer function that is able to record lap times on race tracks. Mobile entertainment out on the road comes in the form of the chorus audio system with CD player.
As well as being great fun to drive, the new sports car from Audi boasts a host of credentials that make it eminently suitable for day-to-day use. The Roadster is available with an optional load-through facility complete with removable ski bag for added practicality. The trunk has a capacity of 250 liters (8.83 cubic ft). The rear seats in the Coupe have a split-folding design, allowing luggage capacity to be increased from 290 to 700 liters (10.24 to 24.72 cubic ft.).
Sales of the TTS will begin in the early summer. The Coupe is priced at 44,900 euros and the Roadster at 47,750 euros. The TT line's dynamic top model comes generously equipped. Its list of features includes quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension system, 18-inch aluminum wheels, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, plus – on the Roadster – the fully automatic soft top including power wind deflector.
The interior is dominated by the multifunctional leather sports steering wheel. The extended aluminum styling and heated sports seats with their leather/Alcantara upholstery are further highlights. An automatic air conditioning system and Isofix child seat mountings on the front passenger seat are designed to enhance both comfort and safety.
The list of optional extras includes two navigation systems, a Bose sound system, an iPod port, an LED interior lighting package, electrically adjustable seats, as well as the Audi adaptive light dynamic cornering light system. The S tronic dual-clutch transmission is an Audi technology that remains unmatched by anything the competition has to offer.