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Published on Sat, Jul 18, 2009
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
By Harvey Schwartz
MORE OF EVERYTHING By Harvey Schwartz
For 2009 Audi brings us more power and performance with the new TTS model coupe and roadster. It is now even more fun and exciting to drive than the original TT. The iconic TT is built to appeal to a young and dynamic group of consumers and the TTS represents the Audi brand's advancement through technology in its very best form. The TFSI engine takes the two Audi technologies of gasoline direct injection and turbocharging and blends them to form a perfect partnership. Aside from its output of 265 horsepower, it is its peak torque of 258 pound-feet which is constantly on tap between 2,500 and 5,000rpm, that makes the compact and lightweight 2.0 liter four-cylinder unit so impressive. Compared to last year's engine, the 2.0 liter power unit has been reengineered and strengthened in a number of key areas.
The S-tronic 6-speed automatic, deploying two clutches, is the only transmission available in the TTS.It is capable of performing extremely quick gear shifts at high engine loads and rev speeds, and consequently, the time it takes to spring from 0-60 mph is cut to 4.9 seconds in the coupe and 5.1 seconds in the roadster. Transfer of power to the road is the task of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that enables the TTS to accelerate quicker and with greater stability than its rivals. An interesting feature aiding the TTS in its quest for acceleration is the Launch Control system, and it works like this: With the engine running, briefly press the ESP button. The message 'ASR off' appears in the instrument cluster display. Then shift the gear lever into the 'S' or tiptronic position, then step on the brake pedal with your left foot and keep the brake pedal fully depressed for at least one second. With your right foot, floor the accelerator to the wide open throttle position or Kickdown. The engine speed settles at about 3,000 rpm. Then take your foot off the brake and it is hammer time as all four wheels rush you to 60 mph in about five seconds. The new TTS rolls off the production line equipped with yet another high-tech module-the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system. This gives you the choice of two characteristic settings: Standard mode is designed for a well-balanced, comfortable ride, whereas the Sport setting lowers the body by 10 mm - the latter to deliver dynamic handling at high speeds on an open road, and improved grip when cornering at high speeds.
Up front is a new gas-charged MacPherson strut set-up , coil springs and a tubular anti-roll bar. The suspension is largely made of aluminum, thereby reducing the unsprung masses as you turn the steering wheel. The four-link rear suspension is capable of dealing with the longitudinal and lateral forces independently. I felt more confident when cornering as I gained speed, the car just goes where you point it. Helping you stay on course is the speed sensitive, electromechanically driven rack & pinion steering system. At lower speeds the feel is light, especially when parking, but it quickly tightens up as you increase speed. I was impressed with the total driving dynamics of the new TTS. Braking on the TTS is handled by high-performance and internally vented four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 13.5-inch discs clamped with 6-piston calipers and 12.5-inch discs clamped with two-piston calipers in the rear. Inside the black-painted calipers, which bear the TTS emblem up front are sport brake pads. Also of note is that Audi has devised a second, sporty level for the ESP stabilization program which enables controlled drifting when you want the rear to get loose on steep turns.
This 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 it starts to turn. The steering becomes more responsive and direct, and selective bracing of the 18X9 standard wheels make the self-steering more neutral. The standard 18-inch wheels are wrapped high-performance 245/40ZR18 tires. The optional 19X9 cast aluminum wheels were designed by Quattro and are wrapped with Continental Contac 255/35ZR18 low-profile, high-performance tires with exceptional grip. The new TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line. One of the design highlights is the horizontal strip of white LEDs in the bi-xenon headlight units that serve as daytime running lights. The single-frame grille in a platinum gray finish is embellished with slender chrome strips, while larger air intakes in the restyled front apron add to the striking look. When viewed in profile, the large wheels, widened deeper door sills, and flared fenders are eye catching. The spoiler on the TTS extends automatically when the speed reaches 74.5 mph and retracts again when speeds drop to 49.7 mph. The roadster features an electro-hydraulically operated soft top which opens and closes with one touch in about twelve seconds. The soft top incorporates a large glass rear window with defogger, 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 noise restriction, and an electrically extending/retracting wind deflector shields your neck from drafts when the top is down.
Awaiting the driver inside are deep-set sport seats featuring heating and full power adjustment including lumbar and height adjustments. They come standard with leather, or Alcantara (or optional Silk Nappa Leather) seat covers in either black or black and silver, plus silver-colored contrast stitching. The cockpit in the TTS is molded around the driver like a sleek-fitting suit. Its clean-cut, sporty design is an Audi hallmark. Instruments with a gray background and white needles, metal pedals, and aluminum trim panels give a sporty look. The multi-functional, leather sports steering wheel with a rim that's flattened at the bottom adds further sporty cues plus it contains buttons for the audio system, mute, different mode functions, and the gear-changing paddles. The driver information system with its new, high-resolution white display concentrates all important information where it can be clearly seen by the driver, and includes a timer function that is able to record lap times on race tracks. Mobile entertainment out on the road comes in the form of the Chorus audio system with CD player. The roadster is also available with an optional load-through facility complete with removable ski bag for added practicality. The trunk is larger than I thought for a roadster, 8.83 cubic feet , because the top folds into a 'Z' and takes up less room. The TTS standard features include just about everything you might want. Among them, power express windows, power door locks, two folding vanity mirrors, nine-speaker 140-watt audio system with SIRIUS satellite radio, electronic climates control/air filtration, electronic cruise-control, variable-speed intermittent wipers/washers, center console with a leather wrapped and aluminum topped stick shifter, self-dimming rearview mirror, power-remote side mirrors finished in aluminum with turn-signal indicators, and leather-wrapped parking brake.
Options include a choice of two Audi navigation systems, interior LED lighting package, 10-way power adjustable seats, Bluetooth phone preparation, rain-sensing wipers, and power folding top. Standard safety features include thick steel hoops mounted behind each headrest, dual-threshold front airbags, front seat-mounted airbags, front knee airbags, rigid body structure with front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, tire pressure monitoring system, traction control, electronic stability control, ABS, Brake Assist, keyless entry, 3-point safety belts with load limiters/pretensioners, and Audi backup sensors when driving in reverse. The new Audi TTS is a step up for Audi in the small, two-seat, high-performance sports car segment which includes the Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, Pontiac Solstice and Mercedes-Benz SLK. Audi keeps the edge with its outstanding handling ability thanks to Quattro AWD and top notch interior. It is fun and exciting to drive, and costs less than the Porsche or M-B models. Â© Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT More power, more fun - it's like a ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain. For more information about Audi products, go to www.audiusa.com More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2009 Audi TTS Roadster Price: $47,600.00 base/$6,600 includes destination, loaded EPA mileage: 21 mpg/city, 29 mpg/highway Engine: Four-cylinder inline, spark-ignition with gas direct injection, exhaust turbocharger with intercooler, DOHC Horsepower: 265 hp @6,000 rpm Torque: 258 lb.ft. at 2,500-5,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel drive Quattro system Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch gearbox with electro-hydraulic control Front suspension: MacPherson stru (gas-charged) with three-point lower control arms, subframe, tubular anti-roll bar, track stabilizing steering roll radius Rear suspension: Four-link with separate spring/shock absorber arrangement, subframe, tubular anti-roll bar Wheels/tires: 18X9 aluminum/245/40R18 standard, 19X9 lightweight alloy wheels/255/35ZR19 optional Brakes: Front: 13.5-inch vented discs/6-piston sport brake calipers Rear: 12.5-inch vented discs/2-piston sport brake calipers ABS, BA Total length: 165.3 inches Total width: 72.5 inches Total height: 53.1 inches Curb weight: 3,373 pounds Performance (0-60 mph): 4.9 seconds (coupe) 5.1 seconds (roadster)