Monday, 21 January 2008

New Audi TTS Coupe

Click on image to enlargeAudi AG has revealed the most wicked version of its iconic TT coupe - the Audi TTS. Also available as a rag-top Roadster, this top-of-the-line TT isn’t powered by a souped-up 3.2L V6 nor a 4.2L V8. Instead, the very same 2.0L TFSI motor that powers the entry-level TT is now boosted to deliver a near-astronomical 272hp. As such, the TTS Coupe is able to zip from 0 - 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds (S-Tronic coupe version) and marches on to an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The TTS Coupe represents the Audi brand's Vorsprung durch Technik ("advancement through technology") in its very latest form. The TFSI engine in the TTS which brings forth the successful merger of both gasoline direct injection and turbocharging in one powerful and efficient package, has won triple successive “Engine of the Year” accolades since 2005. Apart from its breathtaking output 272hp, its peak torque of 350 Nm constantly on tap between 2500 and 5000rpm, makes the compact and lightweight four-cylinder powerplant ever so impressive.

The same block from the iconic VW Golf GTI and ‘basic’ TT Coupe 2.0 has been reengineered and strengthened in a number of key areas to enable even higher performance operation in the TTS. Upgrades have been made to the engine block, the cylinder head, the pistons, the connecting rods and the turbocharger, which can build up as much as 1.2 bar of relative air pressure. The intake and exhaust systems have undergone elaborate honing to allow the refined four-cylinder engine to both breathe freely and generate a powerful, resonant soundtrack (read: growl and burble). An optimized and highly efficient intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air, producing a crucial increase in the quantity of air supplied for combustion.

Not only is the power output astounding, the sporty-sounding TFSI motor has an average fuel consumption of just 8.0L/100 km in the Coupe when mated to a six-speed manual transmission, while the figure for the roadster averages 8.2 l/100. These figures are improved by 0.1 and 0.2 l/100 km respectively, if the optional S-Tronic aka DSG dual-clutch transmission is fitted.

S-Tronic, which employs dual clutches, is capable of performing extremely quick gear shifts at high engine loads and rev speeds; consequently, the time taken to sprint from zero to 100km/h is cut by a further 0.2secs in both the Coupe and Roadster. Loss-free transfer of power to the road is the task of the standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive that enables the TTS to accelerate quicker and with greater stability than its rivals. At the heart of this system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch that works faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir.

The TTS is standard fitted with yet another high-tech device – Audi’s magnetic adaptive damping system. This gives the driver the choice of two characteristic settings: "Standard" mode is designed for a well balanced, comfortable ride, whereas in the "Sport" setting the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension - which lowers the body by 10mm - to deliver uncompromisingly dynamic handling. Its front suspension is mainly made of aluminium, while the efficient technology of the precision electromechanical steering also helps to improve fuel consumption considerably. The sports car is safely brought to a standstill by the high-performance braking system with its 17-inch discs, hooked up to gorgeous and sporty 18” S-Line aluminium alloys.

Sharper handling and agility of the TTS can be attributed to the hybrid construction of its body. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and centre sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminium. ASF (Audi Space Frame) technology optimizes axle load distribution and reduces the overall weight. As an example, the manual Coupe weighs just 1,395 kgs, which equates to a power-to-weight ratio of 1hp for every 5.1kg.

The Audi TTS instantly stands out as the dynamic flagship of the TT model line with special bi-xenon units showcasing a horizontal strip of LED daytime running lights. Inside, occupants are hugged by sports bucket seats stitched in a mixture of Alcantara and Silk Nappa leather while bits of real aluminium are tastefully inserted on the dashboard, glovebox, centre console and door trims.

*Watch out for a full road test of the 2nd generation new TT Coupe 2.0 TFSI soon.
Picture above by Paul Tan.

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