2018 TT New Car Test Drive
The 2018 Audi TT, in the third year of its third generation, is a sophisticated all-wheel-drive sports car with the right stance, styling and handling. It's quick and nimble when it needs to be, and relaxed at the right time. It's called a four-seater, but it's more like a 2+2 Coupe, or a Roadster with small shelf in back.
For 2018 there is a new model, a hotrod called the TT RS, packing a 400-horsepower turbocharged five-cylinder engine under its hood and a paddle-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The RS rides lower, corners on a magnetic suspension, stops with 14.6-inch front brake discs and 8-piston calipers, and its quattro all-wheel-drive has been tuned for the mission. It accelerates from zero to sixty in a phenomenal 3.7 seconds, as quick as any old 600-horsepower V8.
The standard Audi TT engine is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with direct injection, making 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission. Audi basically invented the dual-clutch, which has the gears of a manual transmission, but acts like an automatic, only sharper. The TT accelerates from zero to sixty in 5.3 seconds, quick enough to be thrilling.
The Audi TTS adds boost to the turbo four to make 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, accelerating to sixty in 4.6 seconds, a thrill and a half. The TTS gets a magnetic suspension, bigger brakes and cooler wheels.
The TT is EPA-rated at 26 miles per gallon Combined, the TTS gets 25 mpg.
The quattro all-wheel drive is the Haldex clutch-pack system that's front-wheel-drive based, and responds to not only acceleration and traction but also steering inputs from the new variable ratio rack. The TT also has Audi Drive Select, with modes that allow the drive to select the level of response from the throttle, transmission, steering and stability control.
For the 2016 redesign, Audi developed a new body structure with a low center of mass, using high-strength steel in the floor and firewall to supplement the aluminum that saves weight.
A rearview camera comes standard. Active safety features are available, including the system that's intended to keep the car in the absolute center of its lane. We find lane-keeping assist features bothersome.
The Audi TT comes as a coupe or roadster. Audi TT Coupe ($43,950) and Audi TT Roadster ($47,450) come standard with automatic climate control; tilt/telescoping steering column; power features; ambient interior lighting; leather; 12-way power front seats with heating, Audi's MMI infotainment system; Audi's virtual cockpit programmable instrument cluster; a nine-speaker audio system; HD and satellite radio; Bluetooth; keyless entry; a rearview camera; front and rear parking sensors (new for 2018); a drive mode selector; automatic LED headlights; LED taillights; an adaptive rear spoiler; and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Audi TTS ($52,950) and TT RS ($64,900) only come as coupes. Audi TTS Coupe ($52,950) adds leather and Alcantara seats, magnetic ride suspension, larger brakes, and 19-inch wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
A Technology package for the TT and TTS features a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system with 12 speakers and 680 watts of power, navigation, blind-spot monitors, a smartphone interface, and Audi Connect wife hotspot capability with access to apps, social media, and weather, fuel prices, and other information.
New for 2018 is the S line Competition package with high gloss exterior accents, brushed aluminum door sills and inlays, red brake calipers, S line sport suspension, leather and Alcantara sport seats with S line embossing, and a flat-bottom S line steering wheel.
Also new for 2018 is the TTS model's Exclusive Interior package that includes Nappa leather, S embossed front seats with diamond stitching and extended leather trim and controls.