Motoring

Audi TTS a bittersweet swansong

It’s incredible to think that 1998 was 22 years ago. Two decades ago Furbys were a thing, the EU started using the Euro, Titanic had become the biggest movie of all time and of course, Audi unveiled the Type 8N TT.

That generation TT introduced a futuristic design, turbocharging and four-wheel drive to the sportscar loving masses. Fast forward to 2019 and the TT is already in its third and sadly, final generation. I had the updated model, in TTS guise on test recently.

Mild updates

Last year two updated TT models reached local shores, the TT 45 TFSI, a front-wheel-drive variant and the TTS, which features quattro all-wheel drive and a more potent engine. The changes made to the exterior of the TT include a revised front grille, reshaped air intakes and LED headlights as standard. The interior has also received a mild upgrade with S sport seats along with the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit both coming as standard. Those familiar with the pre-facelift model will find the updated version easy to navigate, with the simplistic centre fascia, round air vents complete with digital readouts and the MMI system, which can be controlled via the terminal on the centre console or the multi-function steering wheel.

Powering the TT S

The updated TTS gets the Volkswagen Group’s famed EA888 engine with 228 kW and 380 N.m which is paired with a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox. This potent motor combined with the aforementioned quattro system as well as a 1 385kg kerb weight means that the car will sprint to 100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds and will go on to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

What’s it like to drive

Being an MQB platform-based product, the TTS was predictably pleasant to drive, regardless of which driving mode was selected. Being a relatively compact car with a kerb weight just shy of 1400kg makes the TT an extremely effective way of getting from one point to another, quickly.  While not exactly brimming with feel, the TT does a good job of combining the virtues of sportscar ownership with daily usability thanks to a wonderful gearbox, a responsive engine and well-judged control weights. The engine note piped into the cabin isn’t exactly sonorous, but when combined with the burps on the upshift, you do get the impression that you’re in something rapid.

The rivals

With a list price that puts this particular variant of the TT in a class of its own, unless you count the soon-to-be-replaced BMW M240i, the TTS is your only option if you’re after a 2+2 sporty coupe for around R800 000. The likes of the Ford Mustang, BMW M2 Competition, Porsche 718 Cayman, Jaguar F-Type and Toyota Supra all more aimed at the upcoming TT RS, which, if I am honest, is the right type of swansong for the TT, with that monstrous five-pot under the bonnet.

End of the TT as we know it

In 2019 we heard from the powers that be at Audi that this will be the last Audi TT to feature an internal combustion engine. If the TT is revived at a later stage, we’re told that it will likely be an all-electric model. This means that after just three generations, the famed TT will be gone, joining other cult cars from the VW Group such as the Scirocco on the list of fallen heroes.

Verdict

Driving the striking orange TT around for a few days was a bittersweet moment. While I don’t believe that the second and third generation of the TT has captured the magic of the iconic original, it is sad to think of a world where the TT is no longer produced.

Service plan and warranty

All Audi TT models come with a one-year unlimited mileage warranty as a well as a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

Pricing

Audi TTS coupe R782 000

 

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