2016 Audi TTS Quattro Test Drive: Impractical Sports Coupe is Immensely Appealing [Review]

2016 Audi TTS quattro

Don’t kid yourself: luxury sports cars are fun to drive, but they’re sometimes impractical and utterly expensive. The 2016 Audi TTS Coupe is all-new with a stronger, lighter chassis, an amped up engine, prodigious all-wheel drive handling, and a high-quality interior. All of which is a lot more affordable than a Mercedes-Benz SLK or Porsche Cayman.

The base Audi TT Coupe and Roadster come standard with a 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder rated at 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. High performance minded drivers will set their sights on the TTS coupe powered by the same 2.0-liter TFSI four-pot engine, but uprated to 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of twist. This extra measure of power is good for a top track speed of 155 mph (electronically limited) and a zero to 60 mph dash in 4.6 seconds, which is right on par with a Cayman S and 0.7 seconds faster than the TT Coupe.

2016 Audi TTS quattro

The TTS Coupe comes standard with Audi’s new quattro® all-wheel drive system and 6-speed S tronic® dual-clutch transmission. According to EPA estimates, the TTS Coupe gets 23/27/25 (city/hwy/combined) miles per gallon. During my week of hooligan behavior with the TTS, I observed 22 mpg overall.

Audi Drive Select has Dynamic, Auto, Individual, and Comfort modes that can alter throttle response, steering assist, transmission shift points, in addition to adjusting stability and AWD system response. Hard at work at lightning fast speed is a magnetic ride suspension that controls ride comfort and suppresses pavement harshness.

Inside the sporty two-seater, driver and passenger are treated to a cabin adorned with premium materials, graceful shapes, lots of soft-touch surfaces, and build quality befitting a luxury sports coupe. The domed rooftop affords the front passengers with ample headroom, but the sloping roof and minimal legroom leaves only enough space in the back seats for a couple bags, child seat, or less. Driver’s with extra-long femurs might have trouble getting the seat to slide back far enough to extend their legs comfortably.

The virtual cockpit has a configurable 12.3-inch TFT display in the driver’s instrument pod, which can be changed to show instrumentation, navigation, and settings. There is no central display on top of the central stack cluttering up the dashboard. Climate controls are cleverly integrated into three circular air vents; corresponding heat seat controls are integrated into respective left and right side vents.

2016 Audi TTS quattro

Some of the standard comfort and convenience features in the 2016 TTS include full LED headlights, taillights and DRLs, Alcantara leather interior, Sirius satellite radio, automatic climate control, and Audi MMI touch with voice control. Optional equipment that can be appreciated is the 12-speaker, 680 watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, Nappa leather covered seats with ‘S’ embossing, Audi MMI Navigation plus, and parking system plus with rearview camera.

Without a doubt, the TTS delivers a vivid driving experience that really gets going after the turbo gets into its peak power curve. Fortunately, torque comes on strong and early at 1,900 rpm. The German sports coupe’s road-going talents are swift and responsive. Body roll is near absent and grip is obnoxiously tenacious from the set of Pirelli P Zero summer tires on 19-inch wheels. Adaptive damping from the magnetic ride suspension can smooth out some of the rough edges, but there’s no getting around a short wheelbase and a bumpy ride on rough pavement.

2016 Audi TTS quattro

The responsive steering is mildly weighted and transmits a fair amount of feedback into the driver’s hands. The brakes offer linear pedal feel and good stopping power. Updates to quattro’s ECU mean that ‘dynamic’ drive mode and deactivated stability control will setup the differential to send torque to the rear axle early, resulting in rear-wheel drive dynamics. Hook that up with brake-based torque vectoring and exiting corners becomes quicker with a tad more rotation and less understeer. With a little practice you’ll feel the back end pushing you right onto the optimal exit line.

The Audi TTS, built on the VW/Audi impressively-light MQB platform, has a classy interior and poised ride. Hardcore driving enthusiasts will appreciate the TTS Coupe’s sophisticated, new quattro all-wheel drive system that delivers superb handling on any surface in dry or slippery conditions. With head-turning looks on top of a brilliant drivetrain and chassis, the TTS Coupe is a proper sports car that is fun to drive any day of the week — without the stratospheric price tag.

2016 Audi TTS Coupe Specs:

  • MSRP: $51,900
  • Price as tested: $58,500 (includes destination charge)
  • Engine: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Power: 292 hp @ 5400 – 6200 rpm
  • Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 1900 – 5300 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission
  • Drivetrain layout: front mounted, transverse engine, all-wheel drive
  • Curb weight: 3,230 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 98.6 in.
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/hwy/combined mpg): 23/27/25
  • Acceleration 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
  • Top track speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

Rivals to the Audi TTS include the Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z4, Alfa Romeo 4c, Jaguar F-TYPE, and Nissan 370Z.

The 2015 Audi S3 and the 2015 BMW 228i are two fast and fun German cars that don’t really compete…or do they. In this episode of the Fast Lane Car, we “mashup” these two cars to find out which one is faster in a drag race and which one is faster around the race track. But that’s not all.