TTS isn’t a chemical abbreviation for testosterone, though it would be an apt one for the more steroidal version of Audi’s sharply handsome coupe.
We’ve already learned the third-generation TT is the most dynamically capable version yet, and with the Golf R/S3 drivetrain under the bonnet… Well, excuse us if we approach the new S-badged version with some anticipation.
If the TTS can serve up the Golf R’s fun in a sexier, two-door body we’ll be laughing, though not necessarily all the way to the bank. The TTS costs almost double, starting at $99,900 for the coupe (or from $103,900 for the drop-top). Equipment levels have increased, but it also drops it right into Porsche Cayman territory.
The typical TTS buyer who prioritises performance almost as much as design won’t be disappointed, though. TTS Mk2 puts its 45kg-lighter kerb weight, uprated 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine and faster-acting quattro system to good effect by knocking six-tenths off its predecessor's 0-100km/h claim.
You’ll need a Cayman S that costs $40K more and still needs the optional Chrono Pack to match that 4.7-second pace. The TTS’s dual-clutch auto certainly wastes no time snapping through its six ratios – at its quickest in Dynamic mode, where flat-out upshifts are also accompanied by delicious exhaust pops.
Using the paddles still brings the best response from the drivetrain, though third and fourth gear almost become exclusive on a driver’s road – trading on the engine’s tenacious torque that peaks from 1800rpm to just 100rpm shy of where peak power of 210kW sets off at 5300rpm.
Veering off the straights and into corners, the TTS displays greater agility than its predecessor. Understeer isn’t entirely eradicated, but the TTS is now more inclined to adopt a neutral mid-corner stance with a right-foot pedal adjustment.
That adjustment can go in either direction, but don’t expect power oversteer despite the latest-generation Haldex system’s ability to pre-emptively load extra torque to the rear wheels when it detects sharp turn-in. The TTS’s quick steering also helps direct the coupe into corners with more immediacy, and you can also carry speed confidently into corners under trailing brakes.
There’d be greater involvement if the steering wasn’t so introverted, though the helm scores well for consistency and accuracy. There’s no need to wait for a twin test to determine where the TTS sits dynamically in relation to the Cayman, though the Audi can still claim some high ground with its sharply cut exterior, quick pace and a stunning cabin that marries high quality with high tech.
A question just lingers over whether the base TT is actually the sweet-spot in the range. With a ride that deteriorates badly over rough roads, the TTS’s beefed-up suspension may be a lesson in the perils of spending too much time in the gym.
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
Engine: 1984cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 210kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 380Nm @ 1800rpm
0-100km/h: 4.7sec (claimed)
Like: Punchy performance; sharper handling; brilliant interior
Dislike: Base TT rides far better; Cayman much more involving