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2017 Audi TT and Audi TTS: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2017

The 2017 Audi TT and TTS are premium compact sports machines, the kind of car you'd buy for yourself as a reward -- for a well-negotiated high-dollar contract, perhaps, or floating your tech startup on the financial markets. Following the debut of an all-new generation a year ago, the TT comes in coupe and convertible body styles; the higher-performance TTS comes only as a hardtop.

The TT coupe is referred to as a 2+2, which means a pair of seats for normal people up front with accommodation for two elves behind them. We could put "ridiculously small back seat" in the "What We Don't Like" section, but the TT has been in existence for more than 15 years, so it's not like it's some big unpleasant surprise.

Over those years, the TT has gone from being a touchstone for car stylists while not holding much sway among driving enthusiasts to something that drives quite well but has lost some design mojo in the process. With this third generation, Audi is aiming for both targets at the same time.

It's no coincidence that the current TT's looks evoke the Audi R8 supercar. The R8 is a fantastic machine, but it's way of out most people's price range. The TT can bring some of that brilliance into the hands of more drivers.

What's New for 2017?

Heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors and a rearview camera join the list of standard equipment. New options include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and a Black Optic exterior appearance package.

What We Like

Sharp design; sharp handling; sharp acceleration

What We Don't

No TTS Roadster version; cupholders are small; no convenient cubby for a cellphone

How Much?

$44,450-$53,450

Fuel Economy

Regular TT models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automated manual (it can be used just like an automatic, or the driver can get more involved with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters; Audi calls this S tronic) and all-wheel drive is standard (as always, Audi calls this quattro).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving for both the coupe and the slightly heavier convertible.

The TTS has the same engine, but output is boosted to 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is also the same, and fuel consumption is 23 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Audi TT comes in coupe or 2-seater convertible (Roadster) form. The TTS is available solely as a coupe.

The TT coupe ($44,450) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED lighting, an automatic rear spoiler, keyless entry/ignition, selectable drive modes, automatic climate control, a flat-bottom steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, leather/faux-suede upholstery, heated/power-folding/self-dimming side mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth and a 9-speaker audio system with satellite radio, two USB ports, an SD card reader and an auxiliary input.

The TT Roadster ($47,950) has essentially the same equipment, but naturally has a power-operated soft top, plus a power wind defector, rollover hoops and a microphone in the seat belt for voice control of the infotainment system.

An optional Technology package includes navigation, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Other options include 19-in alloys, leather upholstery and a Bang & Olufsen 680-watt/12-speaker audio system. The convertible also offers a warm-air neck-heating feature.

The TTS coupe ($53,450) comes with 19-inch alloys, a lowered suspension that's also adaptive, quad exhaust tips and the more powerful engine. It's also eligible for the Technology package and several other options mentioned above.

The Black Optic appearance package brings a black grille, black mirror housings and titanium-finish alloy wheels: 18-in versions for the TT, 20-in versions for the TTS.

Luggage space in the coupe is 12 cu ft. Those small rear seats fold to create a little more trunk area. The Roadster's trunk measures 7.5 cu ft. So stowage space is not a TT strength, but that comes with the high-style territory. If someone really wants to play golf, perhaps they should look at another car.

Safety

Naturally, the new TT comes with mandatory safety equipment like traction control and anti-lock brakes. The airbag count includes protection for the front occupants' knees as well as front side airbags. The coupe also comes with side curtain airbags, while the convertible has specific rollover protection.

At the time of writing this review, no version of the current TT has been crash-tested in the United States.

Behind the Wheel

It isn't just the look of the cabin, which is great, it's also the precision feel of the switches. Ergonomics play a big part in the experience. It's easy to slide one's knees under the flat-bottom steering wheel and sink into the supportive sports seats. Space for the front occupants is not an issue.

There is no center console. The infotainment system and navigation (if specced) are all part of the "virtual cockpit." This 12.3-in display is right in front of the driver, where the usual dials would be in less advanced cars. It's all configurable, but there's a shortcut button on the steering wheel to snap back to the full-size speedometer and rev counter.

The TT enjoys a smooth engine, superb grip, precise handling, a relatively quiet cabin and a ride quality that's obviously sporty but not jarring. The TTS amplifies those qualities, just as it amplifies engine power. The TT and TTS are now fully qualified to compete with sporty compact coupes (and convertibles) from BMW and Porsche.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 BMW 2 Series -- The 2 Series has less visual impact than the TT, but it's so rewarding from the driver's seat.

2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class -- A retractable hard top means not having to decide between a coupe or a convertible. The rear-drive-only SLC (nee SLK) now comes in 362-hp SLC43 AMG form.

2017 Mini Cooper S -- The front-drive Cooper S is quick and has more interior space to accompany its inimitable style.

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster -- The base 2.7-liter Boxster is a true sports car. And it gives away few (if any) fashion points.

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman -- The regular Cayman is a fine alternative to the regular TT coupe, while a potential TTS buyer really ought to test-drive the 350-hp Cayman S.

Autotrader's Advice

Any TT is a good TT. It just depends on budget and whether or not a convertible is preferred.

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2017 Audi TT and Audi TTS: New Car Review - Autotrader