by Deiondre van der Merwe
Audi has had twenty years to build and improve upon the Audi TT range, and it continues to deliver a well-rounded performance coupe in the form of the TTS to US car enthusiasts in 2020. It shares a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the seventh-gen Golf R, and crams it into a beautifully designed compact sports coupe with no questions asked, and then marries it to all-wheel drive for a thrilling driving experience regardless of where you're going. The quattro has been reported as dangerously tempting and TT owners have been spotted launch-controlling their way through McDonald's drive-throughs all over America. Anarchy! All jokes aside, the TTS provides delectation even to those least interested in performance and emanates an undeniable charm, whether you like it or not. Rivals include the back-for-a-vengeance Supra and the Porsche Cayman, so the TTS is going to have to put in the work in order to maintain a strong position in the segment.
As a carryover model from 2019, the Audi adds very minor additions to its 2020 model and notably, this isn't a bad thing because last year's model was superb and came with a host of features that modern-day shoppers look for from a sport-focused coupe. An anti-theft system has been added to the TTS along with an immobilizer and motion sensor, which is a little late to the party, but you know what they say. Pulse Orange is added to the 2020 model as a standard color option and the Black optic package now boasts sporty anthracite-coated 20-inch wheels.
The Audi TTS is a beautiful coupe to behold, with sharp and sporty styling from front to back. A set of menacing full LED headlights flank Audi's signature chrome-lined grille, resulting in a tremendous front end for the compact sports car. Moving to the daring rear end of the TTS, we're met with LED taillights that bookend an adaptive rear spoiler, and none of that abrupt on-off nonsense for the turn signals with the full LED strips allowing a fancy flow from one end to the other when it's time to turn. The TTS is sport-intensified with two chrome dual-exhaust tips and a set of 19-inch wheels, though 20-inch options are available.
Audi has stuck to its guns with the TT and even though it has progressed significantly over the last two decades, it lives on as Audi's foremost bijou coupe. The sports car has a 165-inch length measurement that is shorter than the Nissan 370Z and over seven inches shorter than the likes of the Porsche Cayman and boasts a 98.6-inch wheelbase. Body width is 72.1 inches while height comes in at a low 53.3 inches. A curb weight of 3,263 lbs rounds the TTS off as a competent compact sports coupe that delivers on agility.
An eight-color palette is available for the Audi TTS, though only two paint selections come as standard, so if you want to unlock the other six, you'll have to reach into your pocket for an extra $595. The two standard options are Ibis White and new for 2020, Pulse Orange, which replaces Vegas Yellow of 2019. The only additionally available non-metallic shade available is Turbo Blue. Five metallic shades are available and range from understated Glacier White and Nano Grey through to the sportier Tango Red and Mythos Black. One pearlescent shade is available, the Daytona Pearl and if none of these colors tickle your fancy, Audi's $3,900 "special paint" option allows you to pick a completely custom hue, even that eye-burning Magenta worn by your art teacher in middle school.
A solitary engine is available for the TTS, but the punchy turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot is particularly jaunty and committed, which makes having the choice between other options rather unnecessary. The rapid coupe easily manages a 0-60 mph run in 4.4 seconds which is partly thanks to the standard quattro drivetrain and is slightly quicker than both the Nissan 370Z and the base-level Porsche Cayman. The TTS has an impervious attitude towards rivals and its confidence gives it a demeanor that not many competitors can match, though it's certainly well vied-with. Smooth sailing is hardly a given when you're up against a Porsche of any kind, nevermind the cult-car that is the Nissan 370Z. Imagine going up against a car that is so self-assured in its performance that it ignores progressing its infotainment completely and utilizes the space in favor of gauges and the like. A notable downfall for the TTS would be that it is only available with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Still, the TTS doesn't cower in the corner by any means and is a strong contender in its segment.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is at the heart of the TTS and delivers 288 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque thanks to its shared DNA with Volkswagen's Golf 7R. Its horsepower figure falls behind the Nissan 370Z's 332 hp, but the German coupe produces more torque than its Japanese rival. It produces the same torque figure as Porsche's Cayman but falls slightly behind the Stuttgart-bred machine's 300 horsepower figure and truth be told, it's difficult to match Porsche's offerings in many aspects, but the TTS is certainly not the penultimate contender in its segment.
One of the most notable downsides of the TTS would be the lack of a manual option. We're not crying, you're crying, just something in the eye is all. Both of its rivals offer manual options. Nevertheless, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission performs extremely well and delivers silky-smooth, intuitive changes every time and shows absolutely no signs of struggle in getting the coupe going from a standstill. Aside from its limited one-transmission option, the TTS is a gem in the compact sports coupe segment and provides zealous dedication to a thrilling driving experience, though, for less than five thousand dollars extra, you can get your hands on a BMW M2 Competition that leaves the TTS for dead entirely in terms of performance.
A good blend of sport-focus and comfort is found from the driver's seat of the TTS, and while you can't expect pillow-like ride quality from a sports coupe, you're not going to need any vital organs replaced after a long journey. Adaptive dampers contribute to the manageable comfort levels and the coupe shares Audi's magnetic ride technology with the R8 and boasts adaptive shock absorbers for added comfort. If you're shortlisting sports coupes, you're not likely to have a cushioned ride as a top priority, anyway, but the TTS delivers nicely on ride quality if you resist the temptation of the attractive, ride-punishing 20-inch wheels. The Audi's all-wheel drivetrain delivers impeccable grip and never fails to have the coupe glued down to the road both through corners and off of the line, which gives it the upper hand over the tail-happy in comparison BMW M2. Steering is responsive enough but could use another look from Audi and doesn't provide as much real-feel as the Porsche Cayman.
The TTS is as fuel-savvy as possible for its performance configuration and manages to outperform the Cayman only slightly with an EPA estimated 23/29/25 mpg in comparison to the PDK-equipped Porsche's 22/29/25 mpg figures. It is, however, tied with the BMW M240i's fuel consumption figures exactly, even when the M240i is opted for in manual guise, providing yet another reason for the tough competition between the German coupes. When filled, the coupe's 14.5-gallon fuel tank will most likely get around 360 miles of traveling distance in mixed conditions.
As expected, Audi delivers a fantastically well-plotted out interior and holds up its reputation for gracing its vehicles with opulent yet sporty interiors. The TTS puts an emphasis on the driver's experience with the coupe by dismissing a traditional infotainment screen in the middle and opting instead for a solely Virtual Cockpit-controlled infotainment system. Sporty finishes and premium materials make the inside of this coupe a place that's hard to leave and the obvious driver-focused theme that's shown throughout the TTS is a winning attitude for a compact performance coupe and though it's not the most spacious in the segment, Audi manages to cram barrels of enjoyable aspects into the TTS.
Supposedly, the Audi TTS is a four-seater, technically classified as a 2+2, though. We'd advise you to take that thought, place it gently on the floor and walk away like it never happened. A newborn would be hard-pressed to find a comfortable seating position in the back seats, so to avoid any embarrassment, let's rather agree to view the coupe as a two-seater only with some extra luggage space. The back seat may be relatively non-existent, but the front of the TTS offers enough spaciousness even for taller adults and twelve-way power-adjustable seats with four-way lumbar adjustments allow for optimal seating comfort.
You could inspect the interior of the TTS using telescopes from NASA and you still wouldn't find a hint of cheap materials inside the coupe. All upholstery choices for the TTS are diamond-stitched and S-embossed and choice of two colors are available as standard for the leather and Alcantara upholstery including Black and Rotor Gray. Fine Nappa leather is available in Black with red stitching, plain Black, Express Red or Rotor Grey for an additional $1,000 and the Competition Package contains two options inclusive of Black Nappa leather with red stitching or Express Red with Black stitching that would cost $3,100 as a standalone add-on. Brushed aluminum bits are standard regardless of upholstery choice and soft-touch materials are seen throughout.
The TTS boasts a surprisingly roomy trunk considering the segment it falls into and one could easily fit a few small suitcases in the rear of the coupe. It boasts a 12 cubic foot measurement for the trunk which bests the Porsche Cayman's 9.7 cubic feet of real estate in the back, but the Cayman boasts an additional 5.2 cubic feet of space in the frunk as well, making it more spacious overall. The M240i does, however, eagerly step up to the podium and steals the title of best trunk space between all three with a maximum trunk space of 13.8 cubic feet. The TT does make a successful rescue attempt with foldable back seats that allow for a large suitcase or two without much of a struggle. Storage space throughout the cabin is manageable and the small door pockets allow for a smartphone or two and a purse or wallet, and dual cupholders can be found in the center console. Small-item storage is also available in the ways of a cubby for glasses and the like, though not much can be crammed in there, so it's best to channel your inner Sheldon Cooper and keep it neat and simple in the coupe.
The Audi TTS comes with enough standard features to cement its position in the class and includes a power trunk lid, heated side mirrors and keyless, illuminated entry as well as cruise control. Added to the list of standard features are 12-way power-adjustable front sport seats along with four-way-adjustable lumbar support and automatic climate control. Wireless charging for smartphones also comes as a given in the coupe. The traditional but somewhat limited list of safety and driver-assist features include a rearview camera and park distance control, but blind spot monitoring is additionally available. The TTS has a notable absence of features found on other rivals that include adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning.
Infotainment in the TTS is where things get interesting, with Audi disregarding the typical middle-of-the-dash infotainment system in favor of the driver-controlled Virtual Cockpit screen doubling up as the infotainment system that would otherwise be found separately on all of its other rivals. This is obviously an aggressive driver-focused approach, and we like it. The 12.3-inch digital cluster serves both as a gauge and car information viewer, dubbed Audi Virtual Cockpit, and acts as a centralized hub for all of the tech that the coupe has to offer including HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming that gets your favorite songs out through a nine-speaker sound system, two SD card readers, and two USB ports. Some notable standard features are absent from the list and these include Apple Carplay and Android Auto as well as navigation that are all under the optional features list alongside an understandably-optional 12-speaker premium Bang and Olufsen sound system.
It should come as a relief for prospective purchasers that neither the 2020 Audi TTS nor the 2019 model has suffered any recalls as yet. An average basic warranty of four years or 50,000 miles accompanies the TTS along with a 12-year corrosion warranty and should you find yourself stuck on the side of the road after challenging that Golf R at the traffic lights, four-year roadside assistance is standard on the coupe.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has tested the Audi TTS for crashworthiness, which is to be expected as vehicles accompanied by a hefty price tag such as the particular coupe in question aren't usually tested. We'll have to rely on the standard safety features offered by the Audi, which aren't extensive, but the few that are included aren't likely to let you down.
Safety features are one of the few categories in which the TTS leaves a lot to be desired. A traditional host of eight standard airbags include front-impact and side-impact airbags as well as a knee-airbag. A yawn-worthy stack of standard features sees the inclusion of a rearview camera, cruise control, and park distance control. Collision mitigation technology is a dream in the distance at best considering that the only available additional safety features include blind spot monitoring and lane-departure warning.
The Audi TTS is a fantastically-designed pocket rocket that houses Golf R DNA in a compact coupe body and marries a more than capable engine to an all-wheel-drive system. So, this is a clear recipe for fun or trouble depending on who the reader is! The coupe does a great job of blending sport and luxury perfectly, but we need to bear in mind that the price tag that comes along with it might be the reason people opt for the only marginally more expensive but loads-more-value BMW M2 Competition. Notable downfalls of the coupe include the lack of a manual transmission option and rather stingy safety features that puts the coupe slightly behind rivals, but the TTS shines in terms of an overall engaging driving experience and it's a good purchase if you're willing to spring for the additional technology package that adds Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation.
With just one trim level available for the compact coupe, the breakdown of pricing is simple, though adding additional packages comes with quite a steep dig into the bank account. The TTS has a starting MSRP of $54,500 and is only slightly more affordable than rivals including the Porsche 718 Cayman. Adding notable packages including the Competition Package and Technology Package quickly drives the price up to just over $60,000 and in certain cases, adds features already found on rivals. A $995 destination fee is compulsory with your purchase of an Audi TTS.
Only one trim level is available for the Audi TTS and the sports coupe employs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that drives a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and delegates power to all four wheels thanks to standard quattro.
Standard exterior features include 19-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, and a power trunk lid and keyless entry. Moving to the inside, features include automatic climate control, cruise control and 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats with four-way lumbar support. Audi does away with a central infotainment system in favor of a digital cluster behind the steering wheel as the main infotainment hub, and enables Bluetooth streaming through a nine-speaker sound system along with HD and satellite radio and two USB ports as well as wireless charging. Standard safety features aren't abundant in the TTS and include only park distance control and a rearview camera.
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
A total of four notable packages are available for the TTS. Our favorite would be the most expensive Competition Package that costs an additional $3,100 and adds a host of features including 20-inch wheels, performance tires, red brake calipers, a sportier grille, gloss-black exterior styling, and a leather and Alcantara wrapped steering wheel with S-badging along with carbon fiber trim inserts and fine Nappa leather upholstery. If you're after sportier styling but don't want to break the bank, the Black optic package costs an extra $1,500 and adds gloss black exterior styling and performance-tires embracing bigger 20-inch wheels. For added tech, the Technology Package costs a hefty $2,800 and adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as navigation and a premium 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system.
Given that there is just one trim level available for the TTS, it makes choosing one quite simple. We'd definitely opt for the Competition Package that adds bigger wheels and much sportier styling to the exterior and interior for a pricey $3,100 but makes all the difference. We'd also opt for the additional pearlescent Daytona Gray hue of paint for understated elegance to contrast the added sporty styling and perhaps adding the Technology Package is a good idea, seeing as it adds must-haves like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Audi TT is essentially the detuned version of the Audi TTS and the two share similar features, which inevitably means that the TT is also cursed with limited safety features. But it does come with a $10,000 lighter price tag for consolation, and the gap in power figures isn't as large as you may think, with the two sharing the same engine and transmission - the TTS just has some added fiddling to make it quicker. Inevitably, the TT boasts slightly better fuel economy figures of 23/31/26 mpg due to less power, so if you'd like a fuel-savvy coupe that saves you a couple of thousands and you're willing to sacrifice on some power and sportiness, the TT is worth considering. But if you're after a powerful compact performance coupe, the TTS is the one for you.
The TTS and the 370Z are chalk and cheese in terms of ethos, with the 370Z still being aimed at those who want to feel connected to the car they drive. The TTS wants to have it all, the modern tech, the power, everything. And it pretty much delivers on that, but the result is not a purist's first choice. While the TTS is only available with a dual-clutch ransmission, the 370Z caters for both a manual and an automatic transmission. The interior of the Japanese coupe is noticeably more bare and to the point, and focuses more on channeling its inner race car, with more power from its naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 (that also annihilates the fuel budget). If we look at the bigger picture, the TTS coupe is the far better car. It offers way more luxury and technology, and doesn't skimp on power. Those who are likely to choose the 370Z probably weren't seriously considering the TTS anyway, but then again, they'd be happier in a Toyota Supra.