More than 16 years ago, when the very first Audi TT hit Perth streets, this curvy little coupe caused an absolute sensation.

The Volkswagen New Beetle had been introduced only a year earlier, and the TT looked like a chopped and shortened version of that. So iconic has the original TT shape now become, it’s already being referred to as a modern classic.

By Alex Forrest

In February 2015, the third generation TT was launched. Its styling was more integrated and restrained, but its dramatically raked rear hatch, distinctive wheel arches and pert roofline mean this is still unmistakably a TT.

Then, in October 2015, the TTS version arrived and like the TTS of the previous generation, this one has brought with it proper sports car performance and handling.

However, as you’d expect, the 2015 TTS has been improved even further over the previous generation TTS.

Digital dials only

As we saw at the launch of the current TT, on which this TTS is based, the key new piece of technology is Audi’s ‘virtual cockpit’. This comprises a TFT screen directly in front of the driver in place of conventional gauges.

The display can be changed depending on the priorities of the driver, so it can have navigation information prioritised with smaller digital speedometer and tachometer gauges, or when driving is the main focus the two main gauges are made larger.

It’s been designed to reduce driver distraction by reducing the amount of time the driver’s eyes spend away from the road and works surprisingly well.

Further, with this large screen directly ahead of the driver, it negates the need for a separate touch screen.


The central console area is now home to three beautifully designed and engineered air vents, complete with a digital display in each of their centres. It sounds odd, but these things really need to be seen and used to be fully appreciated.

The rest of the TTS interior is typical Audi, with its benchmark build and materials quality. Buttons and dials have extraordinarily precise movements and their cool brushed metal finishes provide a luxurious tactility akin to the feel of a luxury watch.

Space isn’t huge inside, and the cabin is cosy, but the rear hatch area can still hold a reasonable amount of gear – we easily got a couple of suitcases in there with plenty of room to spare.


The TTS is well equipped on the safety front, with a reversing camera and lane keeping as standard. Also standard is Audi’s secondary collision brake assist, which after an initial impact, automatically applies the brakes to prevent the vehicle from continuing to roll.

Pay an extra $1,900 for the assistance package, and you’ll get side assist (lane change warning), park assist, auto dimming and folding mirrors, as well as high-beam assist.

On the road

Since it was first launched all those years ago, the TT has suffered – sometimes falsely – the stigma of being a poser’s car that’s more about show than go.

That may have had some truth to it in 1999, when the TT could be had with a 132kW engine.

With this third generation TT, it’s a completely different story and in the TTS, we have a serious performance sports car.

To help squeeze out that extra capability, the TTS has been lightened by 45kg compared with the regular TT, a feat which was achieved in part through the use of aluminium wiring in parts of electrical system.

Further, the bodywork is almost completely made of aluminium. The only steel section is the spoiler, which needed the added strength of steel given the forces it bears. The TTS also has significantly lighter brakes (by 5kg) compared with the regular TT.

The whole vehicle is based on the widely-utilised Volkswagen Group MQB platform (Golf 7, Skoda Superb, Tiguan, Passat), however given the extreme number of uses the platform can adapt to it’s more a toolkit than one specific platform.

All versions of the TTS are all wheel drive and there is some very clever software (not emissions-related) controlling it. Specifically, the system can send more power to the rear wheels – up to 100 per cent – before you accelerate out of a corner, based on the quickness of the steering turn-in.

Essentially, turn in quickly to a corner and the car knows you want to get out of it in a similar fashion and reduces its tendency to understeer.

The engine makes 210kW, which is plenty for a mid-range sports car with performance sitting between a Toyota 86 and Porsche Boxter S.

Most impressive though is the engine’s incredible torque availability – its peak output of 380Nm is starts at 1800rpm and hangs around all the way up to 5,700rpm. This incredible flexibility helps the TTS easily span the gap between everyday driveability and sporting performance.

Coming out of a corner, the engine feels like it has truckloads of torque all over the rev range, which of course it does.

The combination of this astonishing flexibility, the standard magnetic ride control and the new, Audi-developed all-wheel drive management software make the TTS them most driver-focused iteration of the TT we’ve seen yet.

 2015 Audi TTS Specifications

Price driveaway (ast tested): $112,244 driveaway
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol turbo
Power: 210kW @ 5,300 – 6,200rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 1,800 – 5,200rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 6.8L/100km
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 141g/km