In the course of a year we see our fair share of cars. Most we like, some we don’t, others get nothing more than a ‘meh’. Kind of like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some cars are too ‘this’ or too ‘that’, and rarely just right.
All those cars, we average one a week, tend to become a blur. Sure they are different, but yet the same. We drive them, then report on them trying to convey what we like, what we don’t like and what we experience in the course of a normal week of commuting, running errands, and general life. We never try and get too technical, after all it’s the experience of driving and living with a car that can help a person decide if they will want to make the payment on such a thing every month. That’s why you will rarely hear about us taking a car to a track, reporting the drag coefficient, whatever the hell that is, and such things as the top track speed. After all when have you taken your own car on a track and pushed it to the limit? Heck if you ever get caught trying to reach the top speed on the public roads and are caught doing so, you could find yourself wearing an orange jumpsuit and wondering who will post your bail.
So it is that we report the experiences we have with each car. Most modern cars will get a good review, and that’s because today most cars are good solid machines that are built well. Still these can blend together, become as one with the only differences being style, and gadgets.
Yet, there are the cars we get that stand out; cars that have the perfect blend of interior comforts, design, performance and amenities. We call these the ‘just rights’; cars that bring some focus to the blur, and make us enjoy the experience of driving from point A to point B.
Audi gives us fine cars; more of the ‘this’ and less of ‘that’, and as we learned in a recent week, one that is just right. The ‘just right’ in question was the 2106 Audi TTS Coupe. We’ve always enjoyed time behind the wheel of an Audi, the week we spent with the TTS Coupe however, was a week we enjoyed even more.
Unleashed on the world in 2006, the third generation of the German sports car was introduced in 2014. It isn’t large, or brash, instead the TTS Coupe is more like a well manicured garden, one neatly trimmed and surrounds a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The exterior of the TTS is like a beautiful, refined woman with curves in just the right places. Mae West with a fine English accent (the TT refers to “Tourist Trophy”, a term that pays homage to the annual road race on the Isle of Man, with the “S” designating Sport).
Whatever the origins of the name, what Audi has come up with is a car that, in our experience is one of the best on the road today. There are some peculiarities that might polarize a crowd, such as a dash that is driver centric; this means that a passenger has no control over the radio, navigation or anything else but their seat position. The controls for the AC are actually in the center of the vents and while your passenger can control these, there is little else for them to do besides ride.
The TT is available as a Coupe or Roadster (soft-top) and available with 1.8 to 2.0 liter engines ranging from 180 to 230 horsepower. Adding the S designation will get you the 2.0 TFSI powerplant delivering 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. For us here in the States only the automatic S-tronic six-speed transmission is available. All models are the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.
The interior is sparse, but in a good way. The dash in the TTS has a modern design that could come from an IKEA catalog. There is no nonsense here with nice sharp angles that are reminiscent of an airplane wing. The air vents highlight this with a look that seems like that of a jet exhaust. The lack of traditional AC controls only adds to the sparseness.
Even the door panels are curved to match the angle of the exterior. There are few switches to fiddle with. Below the three center air vents are switches for the hazard warning lights, Audi drive select and some additional functions. The center console contains only the shift lever, the start button, audio volume, a new MMI control terminal and the electric parking brake.
Standard features in the TTS include power doors and windows, ABS brakes, heated 12-way adjustable sport seats with power lumbar, full LED headlights and taillights, remote key, climate control, LED interior lighting, and a leather wrapped three spoke wheel with paddles shifters and controls. There is also Alcantara/leather interior with carbon fiber accents and a rear-parking sensor with acoustic warnings. Our model for the week had the optional navigation plus, side assist, a rear view camera and a great sounding Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The Audi uses a virtual cockpit for the display in front of the driver. It uses three screens that can be programmed either through the MMI control terminal or on the steering wheel. We were somewhat surprised at how easy the initial setup was and how convenient it was to have everything we needed to see at one glance while driving. The tachometer is the center of attention with the speed displayed smartly in the center. On either side the map can be seen and other information, or a blank screen, if desired.
And about that drive; it was in short magnificent.
The power to weight ratio seems perfectly balanced. With Audi’s magnetic ride control and electric steering, in combination with the perfectly tuned automatic shifting and all wheel drive the TTS holds the road in nearly any condition. Aggressive acceleration emits a pleasing bark that has been enhanced in the cabin by those nice German engineers. The 300 horses can launch the TTS smartly off the line or allow it to explode forward at speed. We were able to coax 0-60 in just under five seconds with every little effort all the while being held snugly and comfortably thanks to the side bolsters.
The Audi TTS is for those who would like a high-end Porsche without paying a high-end premium Porsche price. While a base Boxster or Cayman will rival the $51,000 base MSRP of the TTS, our model topped out at $57,525 with all the features you could want; features that would send the price of a Porsche out of the affordable range. The Porsche might have better performance, but it’s the performance combined with the look of the TTS that really sold us. The beauty of this car is that combination of speed, performance and exterior design. Rarely have we turned so many heads and received so many compliments on a car as we did the TTS.
There will be other cars in our life. More weeks that will run together. But the week we spent with the TTS will stand out for quite some time. At least until we find another that is just right.
The 2016 Audi TTS Coupe
MSRP (as tested): $57,525
Engine (as tested): 2.0 liter TFSI, Intercooled Turbo I-4 , 300 hp, 280.3 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 6-speed S-Tronic shiftable automatic with paddle shifters
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 23 city, 27 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested in mixed conditions): 24 mpg
Wheelbase 98.6 in
Length, Overall 164.7 in
Width, Max w/o mirrors 72.1 in
Height, Overall 53.2 in
Track Width, Front 61.9 in
Track Width, Rear 61.1 in
Passenger Capacity 4
Passenger Volume N/A ft³
Front Head Room 37.1 in
Front Leg Room 41.1 in
Front Shoulder Room 53.6 in
Front Hip Room N/A in
Second Head Room 33.8 in
Second Leg Room 28.9 in
Second Shoulder Room 47.9 in
Basic: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion: 12 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 Years/Unlimited Miles
Maintenance: 1 Years/5,000 Miles