... there is a real feeling that small inputs are directly transferred to the attitude of the car. Photo Gallery
Neil Dowling road tests and reviews the Audi TTS.
TRUST me - it doesn't matter how bad you look in the morning, you'd look sensational in this. This is Max Factor to the max, Revlon at full revs and Rimmel, er, that is guaranteed to swing heads. And probably hips.
The other good thing about the Audi TT - as if you needed another reason - is that it fits your body perfectly without incurring the monstrous cost of some of the more exotic sports cars. Yet it looks exactly like something from the planet Exotica.
Just because it will change your sex life, don't expect it to come cheap. Yes, it's less expensive than some hot numbers from Italy and Germany, but at $98,900 it will still make your bank manager cough. Audi makes a staggering eight distinct TT models priced from $65,450 to the stove-hot $139,900 TT RS so you can still get the look from the price of a Holden Calais. The TT S adds more mumbo and more panache - from the two-tone stitched leather seats to the premium sound system and the more powerful engine.
Basically, it's like a bulldog. It's all gruff-faced and taper-tailed so in its near-teardrop shape, looks like an advancing bulldog with gnashing teeth and formless head, bulbous chest and narrow hips. It growls like it too. Though a relatively small coupe, the TT is surprisingly accommodating inside. The rear seats are, of course, useless but there's plenty of room for your footsies in the tubs and even sufficient personal storage for two. Personally, the Audi cabins are a favourite blend of form, function and quality and the TT doesn't disappoint.
More boost for the turbocharger ups the ante as the 2-litre four-cylinder engine whacks out 200kW/350Nm, up from the mid-spec TT at 147kW/320Nm. It's enough to shave one second off the 0-100km/h sprint - now at 5.2 seconds - and push out the top speed. All the power goes through a six-speed dual-clutch box to all wheels under Audi's "quattro" drivetrain. The TT S gets adjustable suspension with a button for a sport mode and while it's discernible, it is unlikely to be used in public road applications.
ANCAP lists this as having a four-star crash rating - though I would have thought it was a five. There are four airbags and a series of electronic aids such as stability and traction control, anti-slip acceleration, differential lock and brakeforce distribution. Just in case you didn't know, the TT has an aluminium space-frame beneath its svelte skin.
As you would expect, the handling is brilliant. Yes, wags will tell you it will trend to understeer at high speed but that's really towards the top end and the law of physics should be loud enough to be heard over the squeals of the tyres. I just love the sense that the car is attached to my body. That's assisted by the position of the drive at the centre of the wheelbase, so there is a real feeling that small inputs are directly transferred to the attitude of the car. The gearbox's "S" mode brings a new sound from the exhaust - particularly the raspy blip during downshifts - that urges on the driver. Comfort is surprisingly good. Even bumpy bitumen doesn't come crashing into the cabin via the suspension. On top of that, it has a biggish boot area with fold-down rear seats (again, useless for hauling people). So it's even practical.
Even people like me can get noticed in this. But better than that is the sheer joy of driving this car. Love it.
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited km
Service interval: 15,000km or 12 months
Economy: 7.9 l/100km; 188g/km CO2
Safety equipment: six airbags, ESC, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 200kW/350Nm 2-litre 4-cyl turbo-petrol
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch auto
Body: 2-door, 2 seats
Dimensions: 4198 (L); 1842mm (W); 1345mm (H); 2468mm (WB)
Tyres: size 245/40R18, no spare.
BMW 1M- compare this car
Engine: 3-litre, 6-cyl turbo-petrol, 250kW/500Nm
Transmission: 6-spd manual, rear drive
Body: 2-door coupe
Thirst: 9.6L/100km, CO2 224g/km
LOTUS EVORA IPS- compare this car
Engine: 3.5-litre, V6 petrol, 206kW/350Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, rear drive
Body: 2-door coupe
Thirst: 8.8L/100km, CO2 208g/km
PORSCHE CAYMAN- compare this car
Engine: 2.9-litre, 6-cyl petrol, 195kW/300Nm
Transmission: 7-spd dual-clutch auto, rear drive
Body: 2-door coupe
Thirst: 8.9L/100km, CO2 214g/km