Audi TTS Review
The Audi TTS is a seriously sporty small car with a fabulous interior and lots of high-tech kit, but the back seats are very cramped and some alternatives are cheaper to buy
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The Audi TTS is an even sportier version of the stylish TT sportscar that comes with four-wheel drive as standard and a powerful turbocharged engine. It’s one of quite a few Audi sports cars.
The current Audi TTS was first launched in 2014 but received a few mild tweaks in 2018 to make it look more aggressive and feel sportier to drive. This new model is slightly faster than the outgoing version, but the most noticeable tweaks come in the form of remodelled bumpers and a few changes to its minimalist interior.
You get the same metal air vents, low-slung seats and digital driver’s display as before, but the new TTS’s screen comes with a special display mode that mimics the large central rev counter you get in the even faster RS model.
The front seats are just as supportive as those in the outgoing Audi TTS, and you get adjustable lumbar support to reduce backache on long drives. There’s plenty of space for you to stretch out if you’re very tall and loads of seat adjustment to help short passengers get a good view out, too.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the TTS’s very cramped back seats. There’s only just enough room for two kids to climb on board and fitting a child seat is made more difficult by the narrow gap between the front and rear seats.
Still, at least the Audi TTS’s boot is relatively spacious – for a compact sports car, at least. There’s room for a baby buggy or a few small suitcases and you can flip the back seats down to open up an even more usable load bay with enough space to carry a bike with one of its wheels removed.
The Audi TTS’s brawny new look means it can finally kiss goodbye to that lingering hairdresser image – once and for all…
You probably won’t be too keen to make the switch to two wheels after driving the Audi TTS, however. The 306hp turbocharged petrol engine, quattro four-wheel-drive system and seven-speed automatic gearbox all work together to launch it from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds and help it tear down a deserted backroad significantly faster than the standard TT.
Sure, it isn’t quite as engaging as the BMW M2 and won’t break track day lap records like a 718 Cayman, but the Audi TTS is much easier to drive quickly – especially on an unfamiliar road or in slippery conditions.
When you’ve finished having fun, the TTS’s standard adaptive suspension helps it settle into a reasonably comfortable cruise. You don’t hear too much wind or tyre noise at speed and the TTS is even very easy to drive around town thanks to the decent visibility offered by its reasonably slim door pillars. The standard quattro four-wheel-drive system means you won’t be left stranded by a sudden snowfall, either.
As a result, the TTS is an excellent small sports car, and one that’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a grin-inducing two-seater that you really can use everyday.
Take a look at the very latest Audi TTS deals.
You don’t expect compact sports cars to be practical, but with the back seats folded the Audi TTS’s boot is fairly big. Sadly, rear-seat space isn’t as good as in some alternatives
There’s space in the TTS’s front seats for very tall adults, but you’ll have to set about any extra passengers with an amputation saw if they stand (ahem) any chance of fitting in the back
Despite the Audi TTS’s small size, there’s enough space inside for tall adults to get comfortable – in the front seats at least. Both front seats come with height-adjustment as standard and the driver’s seat gets four-way adjustable lumbar support – just the thing to keep back ache at bay on long motorway drives.
Predictably, the Audi TTS’s two back seats are far more cramped than those in the front. There’s just about enough space for two kids but anyone over five-feet tall will really struggle for leg and headroom. Worse still, it’s all too easy to close the bootlid hard and give your passengers a serious knock on the head.
Surprisingly, rear shoulder room is actually pretty good – a side-effect of the TTS only having two rear seats instead of the more usual three – and there’s room under the front seats for your passengers to tuck their toes.
The Audi TTS’s back seats both come with Isofix anchor points as standard, but there’s barely enough room to lift a bulky child seat through the gap behind the front seats. Thankfully, there’s also a set of Isofix anchor points on the front passenger seat, but mount a child seat here and you’ll have to convince any adults passengers to climb into the TTS’s coffin-like back seats instead – no mean feat. The Audi TTS’s low roof means you’ll have to stoop down to strap in a child if you’re quite tall – regardless of where you fit their seat.
When a car’s cabin looks as good as the Audi TTS’s, the last thing you want to do is clutter it up with bottles, empty coffee cups and discarded food wrappers. Thankfully, the Audi comes with plenty of handy storage cubbies to help you keep it looking factory fresh. The door bins are large enough to hold a one-litre bottle each and there’s space for an equally large drink in the glovebox.
You get a cupholder in the centre console that’s large enough to hold a big service station coffee and there’s a handy tray under the dashboard with a wireless charging feature for your phone. The central armrest is just about big enough to hide away a camera, too.
You don’t expect small sports cars to come with particularly roomy boots, but even compared with the likes of the BMW M2 and Porsche 718 Cayman, the Audi TTS’s 305-litre loadbay is pretty miserly. At least you can squeeze in a large suitcase and a few soft bags without removing the parcel shelf and the TTS’s wide boot opening makes it relatively easy to load wide items, such as a baby buggy.
Flip the back seats forward in a two-way (50:50) split and you will more than double the TTS’s boot capacity. Besides a lip by the bootlid, the loadbay’s completely flat which makes it a doddle to slide very heavy boxes right up behind the front seats.
You can even carry a bike (providing you remove its front wheel first) and a large TV box will slide in with room to spare. You don’t get any handy underfloor storage but there is a smattering of tether hooks to help you secure fragile items and a large elasticated luggage net to stop bags rolling around.
The sure-footed Audi TTS is about as far removed from the lairy M2 as a sports car can get. It’s much more accessible as a result, but die-hard petrolheads might find it a little soulless
The new TTS has less power than the old model, but it actually accelerates from 0-62mph a tenth of a second faster. You can thank some late nights from Audi’s gearbox division for that…
The Audi TTS comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 306hp – enough to blast this four-wheel drive sports car from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds. That’s as fast as an M2 and quick enough to make the more affordable SLC feel pretty pedestrian.
Helping the Audi TTS leap out of the blocks quite so quickly is the standard seven-speed automatic gearbox. The outgoing model’s twin-clutch unit has been redesigned to make the TTS accelerate faster than the old car, and also helps it use less fuel when you’re cruising at motorway speeds.
It responds very quickly to the paddles on the steering wheel in manual mode and changes gear smoothly when you set it to automatic. Audi hasn’t announced official fuel economy figures for the new TTS, but you can expect it to be in the same ballpark as the outgoing car’s 40.9mpg.
Around town, the Audi TTS feels just like the normal TT to drive. You get a good view out thanks to the fairly thin door pillars and the steering is relatively light so your arms won’t start to ache halfway through a particularly tricky parallel parking manoeuvre. You even get a reversing camera as standard to help prevent low-speed bumps and scrapes.
You don’t hear too much wind and tyre noise on the motorway – especially in Black Edition cars with their clever noise-cancelling stereo system – and the Audi TTS’s exhaust doesn’t produce an annoying drone when you’re cruising along at 70mph. WIth the suspension set to Comfort, the TTS is impressively relaxing to drive for a low-slung sports car, too.
Turn off the motorway, and you’ll want to stick everything in its sportiest setting – or ‘Dynamic’ in Audi’s lingo. This makes the suspension firmer, the steering heavier, the exhaust louder and the accelerator more responsive. Sure, with everything turned up to 11 the Audi TTS fidgets and bounces more than the standard TT, but the clever suspension still manages to do a good job of softening the jarring thud of monster potholes on a poorly maintained country lane.
It’s this suppleness – combined with the standard quattro four-wheel-drive system – that makes the Audi TTS very easy to drive quickly. Sure it isn’t quite as nimble as a 718 Cayman and can’t match the M2’s ability to turn its rear tyres into a smokey, molten mess on a race track, but it feels much more sure-footed on a twisty B Road – especially in cold, wet weather. If you live somewhere prone to particularly harsh winters, the Audi TTS could be the ideal all-weather sports car for you.
If, however, you spend more time pottering around in heavy traffic than blasting up a frozen alpine pass, you’ll appreciate the TTS’s standard cruise control and automatic emergency braking features more than its uncanny grip. Also standard is lane-keeping assist, that’ll help stop you straying into the path of other cars on the motorway.
The new TT hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but features such as these should help keep you safe by preventing avoidable collisions.
The Audi TTS comes with a very smart cabin that’s packed with tech. The only real criticism you can level at it is that it looks very similar to the old model inside…