Saturday, May 9, 2009

2009 Audi TTS Roadster Review & Test Drive


For 2009 Audi brings us more power and higher levels of performance with the new TTS model coupe and roadster.  It is now even more fun and exciting to drive than the original TT.

2009audittsengine01smallThe new iconic TTS 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 265hp, it is its peak torque of 258lb.ft. 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.

2009audittscontrols01smallThe S-tronic 6-speed automatic is the only transmission available in the TTS and deploys two clutches, is capable of performing extremely quick gear shifts at high engine loads and rev speeds, and consequently, the time takes to spring from 0-60mph is cut to 4.9sec. in the coupe and 5.1sec. in the roadster.  Loss-free transfer of power to the road is the task of the great standard quarttro permanent all-wheel drive that enables the TTS to accelerate quicker and with greater stability than its rivals.  At the heart of this system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch that works faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir.  Also enabling the new TTS to spring to 60mph so quickly is the ‘launch control’ system.  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 ‘S’ or the tiptronic position, then step on the brake pedal with your left foot and keep the 2009audittsfuelfillerdoor01smallbrake pedal full depressed for at least one second.  With your right foot, step on the acceleration to the wide open throttle position or Kickdown.  The engine speed settles at about 3,00rpm.  Then take your foot off the brake and it is hammer time as all four wheels rush you to 60mph in about 5sec.

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 in the Sport setting the TTS harnesses all of the potential of is sport suspension-which lowers the body by 10mm-to deliver uncompromising dynamic handling at high speeds on an open road, and incredible grip when cornering at high speeds.

2009audittsheadonaction01smallUp front is a new gas-charged MacPherson strut setup with lower triangular wishbones, 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.  With a view to increasing rigidity, the aluminum subframe is bolted to the body at six points.

The four-link rear suspension offers considerable benefits for vehicle handling, as it is capable of dealing with the longitudinal and lateral forces separately from one another.  All of the links are made from high-strength grades of steel, while modified bearings emphasize the taut feel of the TTS.  The coil springs and gas-charged shocks are 2009audittsfrontbrakewheeltire01smallfitted separately from one another, meaning that they take up little space.  The rear also features a tubular stabilizer bar and is also attached to a subframe to eliminate any noise, vibration or harshness when driving.  I felt more confident when cornering as I gained speed, the car just goes where you point it to go.

Helping you stay on course is the speed sensitive, high-precision rack & pinion power steering system that is driven electromechanically, a technology that improves feel for the road.  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.

Quickly and safely slowing the new dynamic top-of-the-line TTS model down from speed are high-performance and internally vented 4-wheel disc brakes.  Up front are 13.5in. discs clamped with 6-piston calipers and 12.5in. discs clamped with 2-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.

2009audittsrearactionlowangle01smallThis 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 18X9in. standard wheels make the self-steering more neutral.  The standard 18in. wheels are wrapped high-performance 245/40ZR18in. tires.

The optional 19X9in. cast aluminum wheels were designed by Quattro and are wrapped with Continental Contac 255/35ZR18in. low-profile, high-performance tires with exceptional grip.

The superior performance of the TTS can be partly attributed to the technology of its bodywork, whose hybrid construction combines two different types of materials.  Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum.

Audi first developed this principle, known as the Audi Space Frame, in the early 1990’s, triggering a revolution in body manufacturing.  Extruded sections, pressure die-castings and load-bearing aluminum panels together form a light, rigid and extremely safe structure.

2009audittsbeautysideoceantopclosed01smallThe new TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line.   One of the design highlights is undoubtedly the headlights-newly designed bi-xenon units featuring a horizontal strip of white LEDs that serve as daylight 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, it is not only the large 18in. wheels, 19in. wheels optional, that stand out; the widened, deeper door sills are equally eye-catching, as are the flared fenders with the wheels pulls out to the sides.  A muscular rear bumper, unique, wraparound, 2009audittsbeautysideoceantophalfopen01smalltaillights, a gray-colored diffuser trim, plus two sets of twin tailpipes protruding from the left and right inject the vehicle’s tail with a sporty character all of its own.  The spoiler on the TTS extends automatically when the speed reaches 74.5mph and retracts again when speeds drop to 49.7mph.

The roadster features an electro-hydraulically operated soft top which opens and closes with one-touch luxury 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, 2009audittsbeautysideocean01smalland an electrically extending/retracting wind deflector shields your neck from drafts when the top is down.

Awaiting you inside are deep-set sport seats featuring heating and full power adjustment including lumbar and height adjustments.  They come standard with leather/Alcantara seat covers in either black or black and silver, plus silver-colored contrast stitching.  The sports seats are optionally available in Silk Nappa leather, one of the finest in the world.

The cockpit in the TTS is molded around you like a sleek-fitting suit.  Its clean-cut, sporty design and uncompromising quality of construction is amazing and another Audi hallmark.  Instruments with a gray 2009audittsinstrumentcockpit01smallbackground and white needles, metal pedals, aluminum trim panels, plus a 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 you, 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 2009audittsdoortrim01smallski bag for added practicality.  The trunk is larger than I thought for a roadster, 8.83cu.ft. because the top folds into a ‘Z’ and takes up less room.

Standard features not mentioned above includes power express windows, power door locks, two folding vanity mirrors, 9-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.

2009audittsinstrumentcluster01smallOptions 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.

2009audittsbadge01smallThe 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 from Quattro AWD and can hold up with an incredible interior.  It is so much fun and exciting to drive, and costs less than the Porsche or M-B models.



Price: MSRP $47,500

Type: Compact Convertible
Where Built: Not Available
EPA Class: Two Seaters


Length: 165.3 in.
Width: 72.5 in.
Height: 53.2 in.
Wheel Base: 97.2 in.
Curb Weight: 3373 lbs.
Front Head Room: 37.7 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 53.2 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.1 in.
Maximum Seating: 2

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 265 hp
Max Horsepower: 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 2500 rpm
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 36 ft.
0-60mph: 5.1 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 21 mpg / 29 mpg / 24 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 333.9 mi. / 461.1 mi. / 381.6 mi.

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