First Drive: 2016 Audi TTS Coupe

The morning air was crisp as the sun broke cover on the A-357 above Malaga in Spain the last time I sat behind the wheel of the all-new 2016 Audi TTS. We crested the coastal mountains, some forgotten 70’s tune blasting through the speakers while my co-pilot and I tried to keep pace with the music and cars ahead. The target was Circuito Ascari (Ascari Racing Circuit), a state-of-the-art facility that requires a high degree of courage and a strong stomach to master. The racetrack itself proved to be fun, the drive there and back again was equally so.

The memory of that day is still fresh as I activate the start/stop button and take to the roads closer to home. Its not the same as Spain, but then the roads here are familiar, so pushing the limit will be just as intoxicating. Familiarity breeds contempt, or so they say, but in this case contentment may be a better word choice. Stay tuned!

The 2016 Audi TTS is completely new, though at first glance you might not think so. The German automaker has carefully massaged the outer shell so as to not upset the faithful, but take the design and performance to the next level. Whereas the previous generation TTS looked and performed exceptionally well, the latest TTS is significantly better, feeling connected to the driver and the pavement in a bold new way.

Power comes in the form of a 2.0-litre DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Matched to a slick S tronic automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle-shifter, it produces 292 horsepower at 5,400-6,200 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 1,900-5,300 rpm.

MacPherson strut front and 4-link rear suspension with separate spring/shock absorbers feels glued to the road. Of course, quattro drive means traction is rarely a concern, even in the worst snow storm so as I experienced while driving home from Toronto. White outs and drifting, blowing snow and icy patches, were no match for the TTS as it clawed through the worst without breaking a sweat.

Steering feel is equal to any task as electromechanical steering with speed-sensitive power assist is light when needed, firm at higher speeds. The flat-bottom steering wheel is just about perfect and houses a myriad of features right at your finger and thumb tips. Audi drive select is activated with a simple switch mounted in the middle of the dash. I choose Comfort on most occasions, but Dynamic is also a good option when the weather cooperates and roads are for the most part dry.

Brakes are 4-wheel disc with ESP/ABS/EBD, brake booster and hydraulic brake assist. Our test vehicle is equipped with optional red brake calipers at $400. Whether or not they improve performance, they look fantastic. LED lights at all corners work exceptionally well at night and look elegant, a fitting compliment to the optional 20” alloy wheels and Continental tires on our tester.

Inside, the 2016 Audi TTS Coupe is stylish, functional and minimalist. If you are the driver, there is a wealth of information and features easily accessible. If you happen to be the passenger; a great place to sit but nowhere near as much fun as the driver’s seat, there is little more to do than adjust the seat heater control button mounted in the round air vent cover. Audio sound in our test vehicle is provided by the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The center dash highlights a 12.3-inch high-resolution screen that allows for maximum personalization. This week I have opted for a large tachometer with white on black numbers and red needles. Speed is indicated with a digital readout in the center. It is clean and easy to read, offering a fresh take on what’s important in a gauge cluster and in most cases what can be left out. A crystal-clear navigation screen to the left of the dial looks great and functions well.

Rear seat room is minimal at best. Two small children can easily fit, if you don’t mind them kicking the back of your seat that is. Kids get so bored so fast! But if you happen to be one person or a couple at the most, the rear seat is an excellent addition to the rather small trunk and relatively easy to access with the pull of a handle on the top of each front seat.

The 2016 Audi TTS Coupe is an evolution of the original TT rather than a full out change of direction. This is a good thing, as this latest version feels near perfect and looks expensive while maintaining a reasonable price tag in a competitive market. The only thing better would be a new TT RS and supposedly that is coming later this year.

2016 Audi TTS Coupe

Base Price: $61,900.00
Price as tested: $69,090.00
Freight: $2,095.00
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo/ S tronic
Power/torque: 292 horsepower/ 280 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): premium unleaded (55L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 7.2, hwy: 10.5 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 9.3 L/100 km (600 km)
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: BMW 4 Series Coupe, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Porsche Cayman.

Related Links:
Audi Canada: click here
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