REVIEW | The 2020 Audi TT S is a practical everyday sports coupé
In a strange but striking Pulse Orange paint job, Audi’s TT tested here in “S” flavour is the brand’s two-door sports coupe and junior to the R8. It’s been available either in practical 2+2 coupe or two-seater roadster guise since the first TT was launched in 1998 whereas its BMW rival is singularly soft-top and its Merc competitor a convertible hardtop.
The captivating and unforgettable shape of the first generation is still there to see and swoon over.
The future of the TT is unknown, with Audi hinting that it may be discontinued. Whether the badge will return as some form of EV in the next chapter or not remains a mystery but in the meantime, the minimalist interior design remains with large round vents dominating proceedings retained but upgraded to the latest spec, which means they are now integrated with climate control buttons.
The general TT interior rewards: you just keep on finding clever details as you live with it. From the concise and clear digital menu that pops out in direct view from the standard fitment Audi Virtual Cockpit, to the supportive and electric Alcantara/leather clad seats, to the centre stack of buttons, all is neat and chrome-tipped for a luxury texture. It’s smart, sporty and has a quality feel.
On the move the TTS has an accomplished ride quality with the suspension set to its softest mode. All-round visibility is also superb for the niche and there’s an excellent driving position which allows for an ultra-low seat squab position. It needs to be as you are in charge of a supremely comfortable but fast car.
The 2.0l engine outputs 228kW/380Nm channelled to all four wheels via a compact six-speed DSG transmission. It can accelerate to 100km/h from standstill in 4.9 sec and run to 250km/h. The turbo four-cylinder doesn’t pop and crow as much and it’s got a bit of lag early in the rev range but it’s a lusty motor which injects the TT S with tractability that makes it an easy drive around town, with the nimbleness to duck in and out of spaces, flexibility, grip and a big enough sting for reeling in long distances.
The Quattro system has evolved into a genuine aid for sporty handling than the understeering hindrance of earlier decades. Turning is quite sensational with not a jot of complaint from the front wheels no matter how testing you become with steering into sharp corners.
There are five driving modes, from efficient to sporty, which evoke different driving textures from the car’s engine, suspension, transmission and all-wheel drive system.
Audi has managed to keep evoking positive adjectives and sufficient enthusiasm of life with a sports coupe in these tricky times of austerity and strict emissions controls and thumbing in “Comfort” mode on the adaptive drive button infuses an entirely smooth and creamy compliance to the dampers.
When I last drove the TT S in second generation form it was a tauter, angrier car that needed to be driven at nine-tenths to unearth its capabilities. Not this vintage. It’s easy to drive slow or fast and civil enough for daily use, and it’s drop-dead gorgeous. It doesn’t sound quite as animalistic as the five-cylinder TT RS but it’s cheaper to buy and thriftier to live with and quite likely the perfect, racy middle ground to have.
Type: Four-cylinder turbo
Type: Six-speed auto
Type: Quattro all-wheel drive
Top speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 4.9 sec (as claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 7.2l/100km (as claimed), 9,5l (as tested)
ABS, stability control, six airbags, Drive Select, climate control, Bluetooth, navigation, auto on/off, LED lights, cruise control, adaptive suspension, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, keyless entry, front and rear park distance control, multifunction steering wheel controls, rain sensing wipers, suede and leather upholstery
Warranty: One year/unlimited km
Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km
Lease*: R16,709 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Audi TT S Coupe
Looks, performance, handling, ride quality
Nothing untoward here
Accomplished daily race car
*****Value For Money
BMW Z4 sDrive20i, 145kW/320Nm — R785,542
Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Track, 250kW/500Nm — R972,100
BMW Z4 M40i, 250kW/500Nm — R1,070,452
Mercedes-AMG SLC 43, 287kW/520Nm — R1,239,261