2016 Audi TTS First Impression
Oct 16, 2014
2016 Audi TTS First Impression
by Vincent Aubé
Málaga, Spain -- Like every other model in the Audi lineup, the redesigned TT gets the S treatment in an effort to appeal to performance enthusiasts who want more than just good looks. Based on my recent albeit brief experience in Spain, I guarantee that anyone who takes the hot and spicy 2016 Audi TTS for a spin will have a smile on their face the entire time.
How the TTS stands out
While Audi prefers to use subtle design upgrades to set its sportier models apart from the rest, the TTS does have some distinctive attributes including specific badges, a chrome grille, and larger front intakes.
Another giveway -- and a big one -- is the pair of twin tailpipes in the rear, separated by a contrasting diffuser. Upon closer inspection, you'll also notice that the ventilated discs and black brake callipers up front are larger. As for the wheels, the 2016 Audi TTS comes standard with 18” alloys that can grow to 20” via the options menu.
The German automaker didn't try to reinvent the wheel here, either; they only improved upon it. The 2.0L inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct injection returns, but gains 45 horsepower for a total of 310. Meanwhile, torque has increased to 280 lb-ft (+22).
Power is handled by a 6-speed, dual-clutch S tronic transmission, and then distributed to all four corners through Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system. While European models also offer a 6-speed manual gearbox (same thing with the regular TT), this unit sadly won't be available in North America.
Time to hit the road!
Audi held the media launch of the new 2016 TT and TTS in the gorgeous region of Málaga, in the southern part of Spain. First, I got my hands on a manual version, if only to get a taste of what we'll be missing out on. We left the beach in the wee hours of the morning and headed toward the mountains where we found a surprisingly crowded road. Fortunately, the high-intensity discharge headlights and powerful engine combined to make passing manoeuvres a breeze.
The manual transmission sure is super-precise, but it doesn't match the performance of the S tronic. Through Audi Drive Select, you can select Dynamic mode to improve throttle response, firm up the suspension, and add weight to the already sharp steering. The new TTS is a fascinating car to drive on small, winding roads.
The brand's S models have really found their voice in recent years, and this one serves as a further example. Audi engineers clearly have a knack for dialling up the perfect exhaust note. Every acceleration provides auditory delight as the transmission upshifts and breaks off the sweet, sinister growl of the 4-cylinder engine.
Ascari is a wonderful place
The icing on the cake was a lapping session at Ascari, a private race-track near Ronda. This world-renowned circuit is the longest (4.1km) in Spain and arguably one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. The elevation changes make the driver's job harder, but the TTS brilliantly rose to the challenge and made me look like a champion.
Once again, the quattro system contributed to rock-solid handling, while the Dynamic mode ensured extra pleasure for the senses. On a few occasions, with traction control working to keep me safe and sound, I noticed a bit of understeer; however, I can't say it significantly affected my experience on the track.
I have no doubt in my mind that the new 2016 Audi TTS eclipses the current generation in every respect. It's much more powerful and more capable on the road, while still proving functional and friendly in everyday driving, which is a definite plus.
Audi Canada will announce pricing next summer, but don't expect a huge difference from the 2015 model ($60,800). The wait will be long but totally worth it, believe me.