Full 2012 Audi TTS Review
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Audi TTS is unchanged from last year.
Introduced more than a decade ago, the Audi TT represented an intriguing design, yet its performance seemed secondary to aesthetics. The second-generation 2012 Audi TTS adds some substance to all of that style, with more power under the hood and sharper handling in the curves.
Offered as either a 2+2 coupe or a roadster, the TTS returns largely unchanged from last year. It uses the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the standard TT, but the use of an intercooler and a larger turbo helps kick output up to 265 horsepower (compared to the TT's 211 hp). The TTS also rides slightly lower and benefits from a sportier suspension and standard all-wheel drive. As a result, the TTS is a much more entertaining and athletic sibling to the standard TT.
Some of this added athleticism has some drawbacks. For one, the stiffer suspension might be too harsh for some, especially when compared to the TT or the refined BMW Z4. And even though the TTS is certainly more communicative on the road, it still isn't as engaging as the entry-level Porsche models.
To the TTS's credit, it won't cost as much as a similarly equipped BMW Z4 sDrive35i, Porsche Boxster or Porsche Cayman. But there are also less expensive alternatives like the BMW 135i, Nissan 370Z and the latest batch of surprisingly good muscle cars from Detroit. Ultimately, choosing a 2012 Audi TTS will depend on your taste for varying degrees of style and performance.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Audi TTS is available as a 2+2 coupe or a two-seat roadster, each available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, summer performance tires, an automatic retractable rear spoiler, adjustable drive settings (altering suspension firmness, steering assist and exhaust note), automatic xenon headlamps, LED running lights, automatic wipers, cruise control, automatic climate control, eight-way power sport front seats (includes four-way power lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack.
The TTS roadster adds an electrically powered convertible top, a power-operated wind deflector and a trunk pass-through with ski bag. The optional navigation system brings with it real-time traffic and a choice of either a six-CD changer or an iPod/MP3 player interface. Heated seats are a stand-alone option.
The TTS Prestige gets the heated seats and navigation system with CD changer as standard equipment and also gains rear parking sensors, an upgraded Bose sound system and an interior LED lighting package. The iPod/MP3 player interface is an option and replaces the CD changer. The Baseball Optic Leather package is available for both trims and offers additional leather trim and seat stitching that resembles that of a baseball glove.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Audi TTS is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 265 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. This power is transmitted to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission known as S tronic.
In Edmunds performance testing, the TTS coupe went from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined -- truly impressive given the car's performance.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Audi TTS include antilock disc brakes, hill-hold assist, traction and stability control, front side airbags (to protect the head and thorax) and front knee airbags.
In Edmunds brake testing, a TTS came to a stop from 60 mph in a very competent 113 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
As we've come to expect from all Audi models, the 2012 TTS features a tastefully designed interior that makes use of top-notch materials. The TTS differs slightly from the standard TT by offering two-tone color schemes in silver, orange and red for some added visual pizzazz.
The navigation system's dash-mounted controller placement isn't ideal, nor is operation as intuitive as those from other manufacturers, but most other controls are straightforward and within easy reach. The sporty front seats are both comfortable and supportive, but the coupe's rear seats are better suited to trunk overflow than accommodating people.
The coupe's rear seats do fold flat, however, to expand the trunk's ample 13-cubic-foot capacity to a capacious 24 cubes. The two-seat Roadster can accommodate only 8.8 cubic feet, but it does feature a pass-through with removable ski bag for longer objects.
The roadster's folding cloth top might seem a bit outdated compared to the slick retractable hardtops that can be found on some of its rivals, but it does retain the TT's clean lines and folds flat into the rear bodywork. Its multilayer headliner and glass window also manage to keep the cabin quiet and well-insulated.
The 2012 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 dual-clutch automated manual gearbox works brilliantly in both automatic and manual modes. Even so, some enthusiastic drivers might miss a true manual transmission.
The TTS devours curvy roads at a rapid clip, responding with a level of agility missing in the regular TT. Nevertheless, there's a certain level of passion missing from the Audi TTS, much of which can be attributed to its uncommunicative steering.