The new car is, more or less, the same length as before, at 4177mm, but there is 37mm more in the wheelbase (2505mm) and, it’s claimed, up to 50kg less in the kerb weight thanks, in all, to some 27 percent of the chassis/body being aluminium.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts at the front, four-link at the rear. Steering is electrically assisted with varying ratio – faster on-lock than near straight ahead. Magnetically-controlled dampers are standard on the S, but are also available on other TTs in the range.
The engine is a four-cylinder EA888 turbocharged petrol unit. Here it makes 306bhp between 5800 and 6200rpm, and 280lb ft, which arrives at only 1800rpm, and sticks gamely around until 100rpm before the arrival of peak power. Plump, then. To put it in perspective the TT RS uses the same five-cylinder, 2.5-litre unit bestowed under the bonnet of the departed RS3 with the wick turned up slightly.
In the S it drives exclusively through a four-wheel-drive powertrain that’s mostly front-biased but has an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch at the rear axle. Temptingly, as in the Golf R, it can send up to 100 percent of torque to either axle. It’s said to be good for 0-62mph in 4.6sec, while returning 40.9mpg on the fanciful combined cycle.
The TTS comes with an exceptionally classy interior. If you were being picky you might argue that it’s a bit dark inside, but if you weren’t you’d simply admire the fit, the relative simplicity of the layout and the genuine style and panache with which things are finished. On the standard equipment front, Audi has bestowed two options for potential buyers to muse over - TTS and TTS Black Edition.
The standard TTS model gains all the equipment found on a Sport-trimmed TT, and adds 19in alloys, Audi's adaptive sports suspension, LED headlights, dynamic rear indicators, automatic lights and wipers and an aggressive bodykit on the outside. Inside the TTS is adorned with a Nappa leather upholstery, heated front sports seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, lane departure warning and a TTS version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit.
Upgrade to the Black Edition and you will find the TTS equipped with privacy glass, glossy black exterior trim and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
A digital instrument panel sits in place of analogue dials. Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) has been re-tuned with fewer buttons and for simpler menu navigation. I think it and the digital display works rather well. If you don’t? Well, I’m sure Audi is sorry, but there’s no physical alternative. Do try to like it, because digital displays will be everywhere before long.
Our test car rode on 19in alloys, shod with 245/35 ZR19 tyres (by Hankook, unusually). And in that state the ride, with the usual caveat about being on unfamiliar roads, was busy in the dampers’ firmer mode, and even a touch in the softer mode.
The TTS is still a decent town or cruising machine, mind, thanks to a straight driving position and sound ergonomics. The steering’s also fine; although light, it’s accurate enough.
But up the pace and the TTS is now better, I think, than it has ever been. It is not a clone of a Golf R: it does not quite replicate all of that car’s moves. But here, at last, is a small Audi coupe that I would have no hesitation in calling a sports car.
As well as selectable modes for the dampers, you can select different settings for the engine/gearbox calibration, steering weight and ESC intervention: you can choose pre-set modes or pick and choose your set-up.