Audi TTS long-term test
The Audi TTS is a stylish coupé with fun at its core, but does it still have a place in a world dominated by high-riding SUVs? Our deputy editor is living with one to find out...
The car Audi TTS Black Edition | Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor
Why it's here To see if this hugely successful car still deserves a place on your driveway
Needs to Combine entertaining handling and grin-inducing performance with a comfortable ride and top-notch interior quality
Mileage 2499 List price £49,200 Target Price £46,229 Price as tested £51,270 Test economy 30.4mpg Official economy 34.0mpg Running costs (excl. depreciation) Fuel £482.82 Dealer value now £45,632 Private value now £40,561
1 February 2023 – One last hurrah
Do you remember those adverts for a well-known comparison site that promised to make you feel epic? Well, I’ve had much the same experience over the past few months from behind the wheel of my Audi TTS.
Let me explain. You see, looking at my TTS, with its bright orange paintwork and sporty black detailing, you expect it to go like the clappers. And with 316bhp available, it has the capability to leave anything this side of a Porsche 718 Cayman in its rear-view mirror.
For some drivers, the ability to access such performance can be a bit, well, intimidating. The way the TTS takes you by the hand and allows you to play with its substantial toybox while also making sure you don’t run out of talent is nothing short of remarkable.
I can’t recall a single journey in the TTS when I didn’t exit the car with a smile on my face. Its combination of accessible performance, agile handling and light, accurate steering was as grin-inducing in morning rush-hour traffic as it was on a countryside B-road at sunset or even, for a few brief minutes, on a race track during a break in What Car? testing.
The downside to pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor so often, you might imagine, would be horrendous running costs, but actually my final economy figure of 30.4mpg isn’t too far removed from the model's official figure. Fuel prices have been extortionately high for much of my time with the car, but I don’t begrudge the amount of money I spent keeping its tank topped off.
The TT eschews the layout of many coupé rivals by not having a central infotainment screen – instead funnelling every function into its digital instrument cluster. That frees up extra space inside, but could lead to the sole screen space feeling a little crowded.
In reality, though, it worked surprisingly well, keeping all the relevant information in one place, with nothing to distract me from the road ahead. Even better, you can control the TT’s infotainment software using a rotary dial, so inputting destinations into the sat-nav was easier than on the touchscreen-based setups of cars I’ve run previously.
Then there were the neat touches of the TT’s interior – the circular dials you turn to adjust the temperature or activate the heated seats, for example. Each moved with such satisfying precision, and emitted such a soft clicking sound, that I often found myself playing with them in traffic. In fact, everything I touched regularly inside my car felt built to last and made from high-quality materials.
There were niggles, though. I wasn’t a fan of the TT’s bar-like fuel gauge, which made my petrol reserves appear to disappear in large chunks rather than in the smaller increments you’d see on a traditional dial. And while we managed to squeeze three passengers inside my car for short trips, I’m convinced that seating four adults in the TT for anything more than a trip to the local shops is fanciful. At least the deceptively cavernous boot meant we didn’t have to contend with coats and bags as well as bodies.
To answer the question I set out with at the start of my time with the TTS, then, does it still have a place in a world increasingly populated by SUVs? The answer is absolutely and unequivocally yes. It’s not as practical as an SUV of course, and getting in and out of the low-slung seats with dignity is not as easy as sliding into a car with a high-set interior, but for sheer driving joy? For me, the TTS wins it.
All things considered, it’s little wonder that the Audi TT is one of the most decorated cars in What Car? history – indeed, we've just named it as the Best Coupé for Value at our latest What Car? Awards. And if this really is the last generation of this sporty coupé, my TTS shows that it’s going out with a bang.
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