What's New for 2010
After its introduction last year, Audi's performance-tuned TTS coupe and roadster head into 2010 unchanged.
The Audi TT has always been a stylish little coupe and roadster that's more of a fashion statement than a sporting machine. The second-generation TT introduced two years ago comes closer to being a driver's car, but compared to Porsches, BMWs and the Nissan Z, it's still a foxy stiletto to their cross-training Nikes. The 2010 Audi TTS represents Audi's attempt to bring the TT up to speed. It's a high-energy variant with enhanced performance and handling for those who want a little verve with their fashion.
Like Audi's other S variants, the TTS starts by adding more power. With the demise of the V6-powered TT 3.2 for this model year, the TTS becomes the only choice for shoppers who want more power than the standard 2.0T provides. And more power they'll certainly get, as the TTS features 265 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque -- the product of adding a bigger turbocharger and intercooler (among other bits) to the 2.0T's turbocharged four-cylinder. The result is a car that can keep up with other performance-minded sport coupes and roadsters, including Porsche's base Boxster and Cayman and the BMW Z4.
However, there's more to a performance car than just straight-line grunt, and the TTS has its bases covered here as well. The standard S tronic dual-clutch automated manual is a modern marvel, providing rapid shifts in either automatic or manual mode. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system has been tuned for quicker response, while the ride height has been dropped by 10mm to improve handling. The TTS further sets itself apart with standard electronically adjustable magnetorheological dampers (optional on the regular TT). In short, this fashionista is fully capable of hanging with the jocks.
Unfortunately, there are trade-offs. For one, even the normal suspension mode will likely be too firm for many buyers, let alone the Sport mode. Also, the Audi TTS may offer tenacious road-hugging abilities, but it never feels quite as connected to the driver as its countrymen at Porsche. A sports car is all about visceral traits like "character" and the ability to meld man and machine; by these measures, the TTS quite frankly comes off as a little cold.
There's also the matter of price. The TTS may top out where the Porsches and BMW Z4 sDrive35i begin, but less flashy sport coupes and convertibles like the BMW 135i, Infiniti G37 and Nissan 370Z offer similar performance for less coin. So while the 2010 Audi TTS offers more substance to match its style, we're not sure how many people are searching for its particular brand of fashion.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Audi TTS is available as a 2+2 hatchback coupe or a two-seat roadster, each available in a single trim level known as Premium. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires, electronically adjustable magnetorheological dampers, quad exhaust pipes, an automatically deploying rear spoiler, xenon headlights, foglights, a 50/50-split-folding rear seat (coupe only), leather/faux suede upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The roadster includes a power soft top, a power wind deflector, roll hoops and a cargo pass-through with a removable ski bag.
The Prestige package adds 19-inch wheels (also available as a stand-alone option), rain-sensing wipers, heated 10-way power front seats with power lumbar, upgraded leather upholstery, a DVD-based navigation system, a dash-mounted MMI electronics controller and a 12-speaker Bose stereo with a six-CD changer. An iPod interface can be specified in place of the CD changer. Another option is upgraded leather upholstery that features stitching reminiscent of a baseball glove.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Audi TTS is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 265 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that works like a traditional automatic or through driver inputs via the shift lever or wheel-mounted paddles.
In performance testing, the TTS went from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined -- exceptional given this car's level of performance.
The TTS comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags (to protect the head and thorax) and front knee airbags. In brake testing, a TTS with the standard 18-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 113 feet -- a solid performance for this type of car.
Interior Design and Special Features
True to Audi tradition, the interior of the 2010 TTS is beautifully built, with top-notch materials and meticulous fit and finish. The standard controls are straightforward and easy to reach, though the navigation system's dash-mounted electronics controller is a little unintuitive in its function and placement. The flat-bottomed wheel and supportive front seats give the interior a sporty feel, while the coupe's hatchback design and fold-down rear seats offer practicality and ample luggage space, to the tune of 23 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded. However, the coupe's backseat is only usable for parcels and those shorter than 4-foot-10.
The two-seat roadster has a lightweight fabric-trimmed top that folds down flush with the rear bodywork, enabling the car to retain its clean lines with the top down. Also, the drop top's multilayer headliner and glass rear window help keep the car quiet and well-insulated, though it's no substitute for the retractable hardtops offered by some rivals.
The 2010 Audi TTS boasts considerable performance improvements over the standard TT. The 2.0-liter inline-4 isn't the most stirring engine to listen to, but its power delivery is quite broad, and the S tronic automated manual gearbox works brilliantly in both automatic and manual modes. Even so, some enthusiastic drivers may miss having a true manual transmission.
The TTS devours curvy roads at a rapid clip, responding much more sharply and keenly than the regular TT. Certainly, it's the best-handling TT to date. However, there's a certain level of passion missing from the TTS, much of which can be attributed to its uncommunicative, overly speed-sensitive power steering.