Car of the Year
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Sure the Chevrolet Bolt is a break the mold electric, but what about those who think handling, speed and sportiness are more important than volts in the Bolt?
Enter the Car of the Year, the Audi TTS.
The TT coupe and Roadster come with a 2.0-liter, 220 horsepower turbo four with 258 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 run of 5.3 seconds for the coupe and only three-tenths more for the convertible.
Those seeking more fun can opt for the TTS coupe with 292 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque that gets you to 60 in just 4.6 seconds. Both are tied to an S tronic transmission, AKA, a responsive six speed automatic. Paddle shifts did there thing quickly to keep things on the boil, and of course Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive was standard.
Top track speed in the TTS is 155. In the real world, there was more than enough grunt in this 3,241 pound two seater to make you happier than the ending of Rogue One.
It is interesting to note the new Quattro all-wheel drive varies torque delivery percentage front to rear by measuring the coefficient of traction at all four wheels via 150 readings every 10 milliseconds and can be controlled through the drive select system. To the less technical, all that means the TTS is a hell of a lot of fun to drive.
The “magnetic ride” allows the driver to choose a driving mode to suit conditions and their mood. Some genius came up with a system that uses a synthetic blend of oils that contain tiny magnetic particles and can adjust the firmness of the dampers within a few milliseconds by creating a magnetic field within the shock absorber. I could use that some mornings.
Some say the exterior styling is on the plain side, and while curls and swirls are a subjective thing, I thought the design was simply outstanding. It is just plain enough to make a fellow with blue lights on his roof think twice about an infraction or two – Certainly think about it more than that other driver in the shocking YELLOW Corvette.
Driver-centric is the term Audi uses to describe the interior, one that is rather different from the competition. You will notice there is no center console screen, instead everything is displayed on a 12.3 inch screen right in front of the driver. One could not think of a better place!
The “virtual cockpit,” when in classic view mode, has the circular instrument dials, i.e. the speedometer and rev counter, more dominant. In “infotainment mode” it displays additional functions such as the navigation system, telephone, Audi connect and media more prominently.
Other controls came readily to hand, and there is ample room up front for two adults. The space to the rear is best reserved for whatever small cargo you are hauling. Odds and ends storage up front is a bit skimpy.
The $950 Bang & Olufsen audio system, I felt, was well worth the money with outstanding sound. Early on you might wonder where the ventilation controls are. You rotate knobs around the vent itself!
The bottom line in all this for me was the impeccable handling on rural back roads and off ramps. It just hangs in there in a turn as the turbo winds up like a major league strike out pitchers’ fastball. The pneumatic side bolsters will keep you firmly in place when you turn exuberant.
Further, you will not see a ton of TT’s coming the other way, so there is the exclusivity thing to consider.
With $575 for the Daytona Gray paint, $3,250 for Audi’s MMI navigation, and the B&P sounds, the TTS I drove came to $57,600 with delivery.
The 2017 is virtually unchanged with only some minor trim alterations. The biggest change is an Optional Technology package with a smartphone interface for Apple CarPlay and Google Android. And the TTS is available with a black grille surround, exterior mirror housing, rear diffuser, and not to forget the 20” V spoke design wheels with Titanium finish.
TT sales, while small in the overall Audi scheme of things, rose 36.4 percent in November and are up substantially for the full year. People who don’t want to go full bore into the R8 are catching on.
Now, coming up on Monday I will start the New Year with my Truck of the Year, and much more. Do check back when you have recovered from welcoming in 2017.