First look: New Audi TTS sports car
Compared to the engine it was derived from, the two-liter power unit has been reengineered and strengthened in a number of key areas to ready it for operation in the TTS. Thanks to its excellent efficiency, the sporty-sounding TFSI has an average fuel consumption of just 8.0 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (29.375 mpg – European specification) in the Coupe when partnered by the six-speed manual transmission (not available in the U.S.), while the figure for the roadster averages 8.2 l/100 km (28.659 mpg – European specification). These figures are improved by 0.1 and 0.2 l/100 km (by 0.372 and 0.716 mpg – European specification), respectively, if the optional S tronic dual-clutch transmission is fitted (exclusively offered in the U.S.).
The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech module – the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system. This gives the driver the choice of two characteristic settings: “Standard” mode is designed for a well-balanced, comfortable ride, whereas in the “Sport” setting the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension – which lowers the body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in.) – to deliver uncompromisingly dynamic handling. Its front suspension is mainly made of aluminum, while the efficient technology of the precision electromechanical steering also helps to improve fuel consumption considerably. The sports car is safely brought to a standstill by the high-performance braking system with its 17-inch discs.
Yet another factor in the supreme performance of the TTS is the hybrid construction of its body. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum. ASF (Audi Space Frame) technology optimizes axle load distribution and reduces the overall weight. The manual Coupe weighs just 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lbs – European specification), which equates to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 kg/hp (11.24 lbs/hp – European specification).
Powerful looks: 18-inch wheels plus new headlights
The Audi TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line. The standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are a highlight of the exterior design, as are the headlights, comprising newly designed bi-xenon units with LED daytime running lights. Inside, passengers are welcomed by deep-set sports seats trimmed in a mixture of leather and Alcantara, with Silk Nappa leather seat upholstery in four different color combinations available as an option. The gray instrument panel as well as the multifunctional steering wheel add further styling touches.
The TTS Roadster comes with an electrohydraulic drive for the soft top, a power wind deflector, plus, for added practicality, a load-through facility. The rear seats in the Coupe have a split-folding design, allowing luggage capacity to be increased from 290 to 700 liters (10.24 to 24.72 cubic ft.). The hard-top TTS is priced at 44,900 euros and the convertible version at 47,750 euros.
The unveiling of the TTS also marks something of an anniversary for Audi: It was 10 years ago that the TT Coupe first took to the road, swiftly acquiring the status of design icon. And the TT has stayed firmly in the fast lane ever since.
The TFSI engine fitted in the TTS summons its power from a displacement of 1984 cc, and blends two separate Audi technologies – gasoline direct injection and turbocharging – to form a partnership that is perfect for a sports car. It is with good reason that an international jury of motoring journalists has crowned the two-liter four-cylinder power unit "Engine of the Year" three times in succession since 2005.
It is not only the 200 kW or 272 hp (265 hp in the U.S.) of output that makes the TFSI so scintillating, there's its hefty pulling power too – the maximum torque of 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) is constantly on tap from 2,500 up to 5,000 rpm. The Coupe with manual transmission (not available in the U.S.) takes just 5.4 seconds to race from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph), while a mere 4.4 seconds are required to speed up from 80 to 120 km/h (49.71 to 74.56 mph) in fourth gear. The Roadster is almost as impressive, recording times of 5.6 and 4.6 seconds respectively for the same two exercises. The electronic limiter calls a halt to this outstanding propulsion at a speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) in both models.
Compared to the engine it was derived from, the two-liter power unit has undergone extensive reengineering and strengthening to ready it for operation in the TTS – overhauled areas include the engine block, the cylinder head, the pistons, the connecting rods and the turbocharger, which can build up as much as 1.2 bar of relative air pressure. The intake and exhaust systems have undergone elaborate honing to allow the refined four-cylinder engine to both breathe freely and generate a powerful, resonant soundtrack. An optimized and highly efficient intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air, producing a crucial increase in the quantity of air supplied for combustion.
Thanks to its outstanding efficiency, the TFSI has impressive fuel consumption of 7.9 liters per 100 km (29.747 mpg – European specification) in the Coupe when partnered by the S tronic transmission, and just 8.0 l/100 km (29.375 mpg – European specification) in the Roadster. The two-liter engine is extremely light, weighing in at 153 kilograms (337.31 lbs). This has considerable benefits for the overall weight of the TTS as well as for the axle load distribution and, consequently, for the vehicle's handling.
High-tech gearshifting: S tronic
Transmission of the engine's power is handled as standard in the TTS by a manual six-speed gearshift (not available in the U.S.) with a light-weight magnesium housing. As an alternative, customers can opt for S tronic (exclusively offered in the U.S.), which operates using six gears and two clutches positioned one behind the other. At high engine loads and rev speeds, it is capable of shifting in just two-tenths of a second. As a result of this high-speed shift work and its dynamic start-off capabilities, the dual-clutch transmission from Audi shaves a whole two-tenths off the time taken for the sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in both the Coupe and the Roadster.
S tronic, which likewise boasts excellent efficiency, also allows the driver to shift gears manually using the one-touch lever or by means of paddles on the steering wheel, just like in a racing car. There is also a choice of two automatic operating modes: N for “Normal” and S for “Sport.” The clutches also have an adaptive design, enabling the start-off characteristics to be varied – whereas caution is exercised on slippery surfaces, full power can be unleashed at the driver's command when there is firm grip.
The standard-specification quattro permanent all-wheel drive ensures loss-free transfer of the engine's power to the road. With drive power being delivered to all four wheels, the TTS is able to accelerate quicker and more safely than its rivals, delivering dynamism coupled with supreme stability under all conditions.
At the heart of the quattro system is an electronically controlled and hydraulically operated multi-plate clutch, which now works even faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir. If required, all of the drive force can be redirected from the front to the rear wheels within a matter of milliseconds. To make allowance for the high torques produced by the TFSI engine in the TTS, the drive train has been reinforced as required.
Audi has opted for a McPherson front suspension with lower triangular wishbones for the TTS. The suspension is largely made of aluminum, thereby reducing the unsprung masses. With a view to increasing rigidity, the subframe is bolted to the body at six points. The sensitive, high-precision power steering is driven electromechanically, a technology that improves fuel consumption by 0.2 liters per 100 km (0.716 mpg). The characteristics of the steering's power assistance have been adapted to reflect the dynamic nature of the TTS.
The four-link rear suspension offers considerable benefits for vehicle handling, as it is capable of dealing with the longitudinal and lateral forces separately from one another. All of the links are made from high-strength grades of steel, while modified bearings emphasize the taut feel of the TTS. The coil springs and shock absorbers are fitted separately from one another, meaning that they take up little space.
The TTS comes standard with 18-inch cast aluminum wheels that sport the five-arm parallel-spoke S design and are shod with 245/40-size tires. Further wheel variants are optionally available, including a new 19-inch cast aluminum wheel designed by quattro GmbH (USA pricing and options are still TBD). The exceptionally dynamic top-of-the-line TT model comes equipped with a high-performance braking system. Large disks are fitted front and rear, with the front disks being internally ventilated too. Inside the black-painted calipers, which bear the TTS emblem at the front, are the sport brake pads. Audi has devised a second, sporty level for the ESP stabilization program which enables controlled drifting.
Audi magnetic ride – crisp and versatile
The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech solution — the Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension system. Circulating inside the damper pistons is a special fluid containing minute magnetic particles. When an electrical voltage is applied, the oil's flow properties change the characteristics of the suspension.
Audi magnetic ride works adaptively, meaning that it adjusts automatically to suit the prevailing conditions. The driver can select one of two suspension settings. In “Normal” mode, when oil viscosity is high, the TTS offers a well-balanced, comfortable ride. In the “Sport” setting, meaning low viscosity, the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension – which lowers the body by 10 millimeters (0.39 in.) – to deliver uncompromisingly dynamic handling.
The Audi generates non-stop fun at the wheel as it speeds around corners like a go-cart with absolute crispness and precision, seemingly glued to the road. Any body roll is suppressed from the moment the vehicle starts to turn. The steering becomes more responsive and direct, and selective bracing of the wheels makes the self-steering more neutral.
The superior performance of the TTS can be partly attributed to the technology of its bodywork, whose hybrid construction combines two different types of materials. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum.
Audi first developed this principle, known as the Audi Space Frame (ASF), in the early 1990s, triggering a revolution in body manufacturing. Extruded sections, pressure die-castings and load-bearing aluminum panels together form a light, rigid and extremely safe structure. On the Coupe, the side sections and the roof are laser welded together, producing a precision seamless joint — another clear indication of how Audi strives for perfection when building its cars.
The construction of the TTS has the added major benefit of optimizing distribution of the axle loads and reducing the vehicle's total weight. The Coupe's body weighs a mere 206 kilograms (454.15 lbs), of which 140 kg (308.65 lbs) is aluminum and 66 kg (145.51 lbs) steel. In the case of the TTS Roadster, whose body incorporates special reinforcements, the figure is 251 kilograms (553.36 lbs). All in all, the manual version of the Coupe weighs in at just 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lbs), equating to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 kilograms (11.24 lbs – European specification)) per hp. The Roadster's weight of 1,455 kilograms (3,207.73 lbs), meanwhile, corresponds to a ratio of 5.4 kg/hp (11.90 lbs/hp – European specification).
The Audi TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line. One of the design highlights is undoubtedly the headlights – newly designed bi-xenon units featuring a horizontal strip of white LEDs that serve as daytime running lights. The single-frame grill in a platinum gray finish is embellished with slender chrome strips, while large air intakes in the restyled front apron add to the striking look.
When viewed in profile, it is not only the large 18-inch wheels that stand out; the widened, deeper door sills are equally eye-catching. A muscular rear bumper, a gray-colored diffuser trim, plus two sets of twin tailpipes protruding from the left and the right inject the vehicle's tail with a sporty character all of its own. The spoiler on the TTS extends automatically when the speed reaches 120 km/h (74.56 mph) and retracts again when it drops back to 80 km/h (49.71 mph).
Both the Coupe and the Roadster measure 4,198 millimeters (13.77 ft) long and 1,842 mm (6.04 ft) wide; the hard-top TTS is 1,345 mm (4.41 ft) in height, its open-top counterpart 1,350 mm (4.43 ft). The Roadster features an electro hydraulically operated soft top which opens and closes in twelve seconds, even on the move at speeds below 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The soft top incorporates a large glass rear window and folds in a "Z" shape. Neither a tonneau cover nor a cover flap is needed. Extra matting between the headlining and the outer skin improves insulation, and an electrically extending/retracting wind deflector shields the occupants' necks from drafts when the hood is down.
Awaiting the passengers inside are deep-set sports seats featuring seat heating and height adjustment. They come as standard with leather/Alcantara seat covers in either black or black and silver, plus silver-colored contrast stitching. The sports seats are optionally available in Silk Nappa leather upholstery. There is also the option of the Impulse leather package, comprising black trim with silver stitching in the Coupe or chennai brown trim with espresso-colored contrast stitching in the Roadster.
The cockpit in the TTS is molded around the driver like a sleek-fitting suit. Its clean-cut, sporty design and uncompromising quality of construction is another Audi trademark. Instruments with a gray background and white needles, metal pedals, aluminum trim panels, plus a multifunctional leather sports steering wheel with a rim that’s flattened at the bottom add further styling touches.
As well as being great fun to drive, the new sports car from Audi boasts a host of credentials that make it eminently suitable for day-to-day use. The Roadster is available with an optional load-through facility complete with removable ski bag for added practicality. The trunk has a capacity of 250 liters (8.83 cubic ft). The rear seats in the Coupe have a split-folding design, allowing luggage capacity to be increased from 290 to 700 liters (10.24 to 24.72 cubic ft.).
The Features (Pricing and Equipment TBD prior to U.S. Launch)
Sales of the TTS will begin in the early summer (late November 2008 in the U.S.). The Coupe is priced at 44,900 euros and the Roadster at 47,750 euros (TBD in the U.S.). The TT line's dynamic top model comes generously equipped. Its list of features includes quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension system, 18-inch aluminum wheels, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, plus – on the Roadster – the fully automatic soft top including power wind deflector.
The interior is dominated by the multifunctional leather sports steering wheel. The extended aluminum styling and heated sports seats with their leather/Alcantara upholstery are further highlights. An automatic air conditioning system and Isofix child seat mountings on the front passenger seat are designed to enhance both comfort and safety.
The list of optional extras includes two navigation systems, a Bose sound system, an iPod port, an LED interior lighting package, electrically adjustable seats, as well as the Audi adaptive light dynamic cornering light system. The S tronic dual-clutch transmission is an Audi technology that remains unmatched by anything the competition has to offer.
Ten Years of Audi TT – A Decade of Success
The unveiling of the TTS marks something of an anniversary for Audi: It was 10 years ago that the TT Coupe first took to the road, swiftly acquiring the status of a design icon. Ever since then the TT has been going from one strength to the next, in both hard-top and open-top form.
The prototype that was premiered by Audi at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1995, painted in silver gray, instantly captured the imagination of the show visitors. The strict consistency of its puristic form drew on the Bauhaus style of the 1920s. The solidly built body, the sleek glass house, the strict geometry of the shoulder line and circular arcs, the large wheels and the aluminum tank cap – all of these elements added up to deliver a new statement from Audi, the innovative technology brand. A few weeks later the Roadster appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show where it was also a tremendous hit.
The Coupe started to roll off the production line in 1998, followed one year later by the Roadster. The shortened floor assembly of the Audi A3 proved to form an ideal base for the car – its wheel suspension endowed the TT with dynamic handling characteristics. The puristic design was also retained for the interior. Here, the classic emblem of the TT concept, the circle, had a leading role to play, featuring in the styling of the air outlets and many of the controls.
The first TT was powered by the turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder drive unit, which came in two different versions. The basic unit delivered an output of 132 kW (180 hp) and the top version 165 kW (225 hp). The more powerful engine was available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission and quattro drive. Customers buying the basic version had the choice of either the six-speed technology again or front-wheel drive combined with a five-speed transmission.
Audi started to expand the range of drivetrain options in 2001. First came a new version of the 1.8-liter unit generating 110 kW (150 hp), followed in 2003 by a 3.2 liter V6 developing 184 kW (250 hp). This new engine could be matched with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission as an option. The six-speed tiptronic transmission became available for the 132 kW (180 hp) four-cylinder model with front-wheel drive. In 2005, this engine's output was increased to 140 kW (190 hp) and the power output of the entry-level unit jumped to 120 kW (163 hp). Production of the coupe and roadster versions of the first TT model series ended in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
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