Audi TT S

New flagship blends desirability with potent performance

The Audi TT has never been short of style or desirability; the only area in which it has traditionally trailed Porsche has been adrenaline!

Now the TTS has joined the range, the car has gained the racy edge it needs to mix with the Cayman. Reworked bumpers, deeper air intakes, side skirts and a chrome-detailed grille leave you in no doubt that this is the sportiest, most focused model in the range.

These additions blend in well, and the Audi certainly shouts about its performance more than the Porsche. The feelgood factor continues inside. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a joy to hold, the sports seats are supportive and the low-slung driving position is perfect. On top of that, the dashboard is superbly designed. While the two rear seats should give

the TT the practicality advantage over the Cayman, they’re really too small for adults. Fold them, however, and you get a very useful 700-litre load space, and the hatchback tailgate adds to the versatility.

Under the bonnet, Audi’s proven 2.0-litre turbo TFSI engine has been tuned to deliver 268bhp and 350Nm. The four-cylinder can’t match the Porsche and BMW six-cylinders for character – but it’s not short of pace!

Amazingly, the TTS recorded the same 5.5-second 0-60mph sprint time as its competitors, and in-gear thrust is equally impressive. With a delicate and punchy throttle response it was faster than the Porsche once on the move, and even pipped the BMW in third and fourth.

Our car featured the £1,420 S tronic double-clutch gearbox, which not only provides rapid-fire changes, but provokes a rasping exhaust note during upshifts. The sound doesn’t raise the hairs on the back of your neck in the same way as rivals, though.

Even so, this is unquestionably the most engaging and driver focused TT to date. It lacks the purity of feedback or ultimate agility of the Porsche, but it’s sure-footed and inspires confidence. Sharper steering, strong brakes and better body control distinguish it from the standard TT. It turns in positively, and as you apply the throttle in tight corners you can feel the quattro 4WD transferring power to the rear and maintaining traction.

Audi’s excellent Magnetic Ride system ensures the car’s superb body control doesn’t come at the expense of ride quality. In the default setting, the TTS is firm but composed, and deals with broken surfaces better than rivals. In terms of refinement, it sits between the BMW and Porsche.

While there’s an extensive options list, you don’t need to use it. Climate control, xenons, Magnetic Ride and heated seats all come as standard. So the Audi is fast and fun, and a stern rival for the Porsche.

Details

Chart position: 3WHY: The fastest TT to date, the new TTS benefits from four-wheel-drive traction.

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