Audi TTS review: 2015 first drive

More driver-oriented than ever. But it still won’t be the first choice for keen drivers.

Andrew Brady | March 2015

It’s more powerful than a Porsche Cayman. It’s faster than a Cayman. It’s cheaper than a Cayman. It’s the new Audi TTS – and it’s about time you started taking the TT seriously as a driver’s car.

The TTS is the warm version of the TT. We say ‘warm’, simply because there’s a hotter TT RS model due next year. But this packs 310hp and, combined with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission that we’ve tested here, it’ll hit 62mph in 4.6 seconds (4.9 seconds with the six-speed manual ’box).

It’s actually pretty hot, then. A fact alluded to by unique front and rear bumpers, as well as a rear diffuser and chrome-plated quad exhaust tailpipes. The TTS takes the already attractive TT (with its imposing, angular headlights and bold grille) and makes it 10-year-old kids point in a way a TT never has before.

What’s the Audi TTS like to drive?

What’s the Audi TTS like to drive?

It’s true that still, rivals such as the rear-wheel drive M235i coupe will perhaps offer a slightly more entertaining drive for the fully-committed petrolhead wanting to explore the limits in a way that shouldn’t really be encouraged on public roads.

But that doesn’t mean the new TTS isn’t a lot of fun to drive – whether you’re upgrading from an A3, or race Caterhams at the weekend.

For a start, it’s fast. Boy is it fast. Fast in a way that you wouldn’t expect from an Audi TT. The only Cayman that’ll beat the TTS to 62mph is the recently unveiled GT4.

But it’s theatrical too. We tried it in dual-clutch automatic S tronic flavour, and found it more than happy to instantaneously drop a few clogs when you press hard on the accelerator and make a pleasing bark as it changes up through the gears.

The magnetic-ride suspension, 10mm lower than a regular TT, provides a firm but not uncomfortable ride. On the less-than-perfect Cotswold roads where we gave the TTS a thorough test, it’s hard to imagine anything being more capable at making progress.

It’s small and nimble, easy to place, while its four-wheel drive system has a staggering amount of grip. But we wouldn’t expect anything less where quattro is concerned.

Drivers can select just how four-wheel drive they want their TTS through the drive select system. In ‘dynamic’ mode, more torque is distributed to the rear wheels, meaning it feels more like a sports car to drive.

Should I buy an Audi TTS?

Should I buy an Audi TTS?

Few manufacturers can beat Audi when it comes to quality interiors. So much thought has been put into the TT’s cabin. The driver sits with everything directed in their direction – from the air vents to the clever virtual cockpit which displays the sat-nav and dials on a TFT screen where you’d conventionally find the speedometer.

The ‘super sports’ seats look fantastic (particularly in the red of our test car), if borderline firm, finished in Nappa leather with S embossing.

Not only is the interior up there with the best, the new TTS proves fun can be frugal. Sort of.

Thanks to innovation such as the S tronic gearbox’s freewheeling function (which kicks in when you select ‘efficiency’ via the drive select system and lift off the accelerator), the TTS returns an official combined MPG of 41.5mpg (manual 39.8mpg) and emits 157g/km CO2 (manual 164g/km).

All this comes at a cost, however. The S tronic TTS starts at £39,445, but our test car featured over £8,500 worth of options.

This can be forgiven if it’s a plethora of expensive features that customers are unlikely to want, but they included Audi’s parking system plus (£840 – with no rear-view camera), electric front seats (£995) and £945 for LED headlights.

Before you know it, you’ve specced your Audi TTS to £50,000. That’s £50,000 for a very competent Audi TT – but £50,000 for an Audi TT, nonetheless.

VERDICT: Audi TTS (2015)

VERDICT: 2015 Audi TTS

We like the new Audi TTS a lot. It’s more fun to drive than a TT has ever been – and it’s got serious amounts of grip and, in turn, pace.

Would we choose one over a Porsche Cayman? Probably not. But the fact that we’re even considering it alongside a Cayman shows just how far it’s come.

It finally has the driving experience to go with the looks (and it looks better than ever). But it’s not just about how it drives – it such a complete proposition. The interior, the running costs, the image… it all adds up to make a fantastic package.

Its biggest stumbling block? The price, and rivals. Only you can work out whether you can justify this kind of money on a TT.

Rivals: 2015 Audi TTS

  • BMW M235i
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Porsche Cayman
  • Volkswagen Golf R

Starting at £36,080 with the automatic gearbox, the BMW M235i appears to be a bit of a bargain compared to the TTS. It’s slightly up on power (326hp) and will be a more rewarding drive for serious drivers. The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is slightly larger than the TT meaning it’s a bit more practical, but priced slightly higher. The Nissan 370Z is a left-field alternative from Japan – the automatic costs £33,965, but it’ll feel cheaper too. The Porsche Cayman has the brand image, and prices start worryingly close to the TTS. The Volkswagen Golf R is a hot hatch so more practical than the TTS, but shares a platform and an engine.

Specification: Audi TTS

Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol

Gearbox Six speed manual/six speed S tronic

Price from £38,790

Power 310hp

Torque 280lb/ft (380Nm)

0-62mph 4.6 – 4.9 seconds

Top speed 155mph

MPG 39.8 – 41.5mpg

CO2 157 – 164g/km