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Audi TTS Coupé in the super test on the Nordschleife and Hockenheimring

Frank Herzog
Audi TTS Coupé 2.0 TFSI in the super test
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E s would be for the Audi TTS alone but a little too much of the honor to name it as the trigger for the escalated dispute between Porsche AG and its most recent acquisition, the Volkswagen Group. But despite the trade union and family policy intrigues that have become public, this idea can be ascribed a bit of truth. Audi's ambition, which has been aggressively expressed for years, not only to overtake Porsche in motorsport, but also to be extremely disrespectful to the sports car brand in terms of model politics, can be seen as an affront that, given the new ownership structure, has a high degree of explosive power. Porsche currently holds the majority of shares in the VW Group with over 35 percent of the shares, which means that Audi is already a de facto subsidiary of Porsche Holding. And by the end of the year it should be more than 50 percent. The thesis at least thought by the new owner, according to which the determiner should always be granted the authority to issue guidelines, is without question in stark contrast to the self-image of the Ingolstadt-based company, who - spoiled by multiple Le Mans and DTM victories and impressive sales successes - is completely right Exuberant confidence. Even if the Porsche dominance in the sports car sector is not denied by a single word, Audi has the striking target objects in its sights.

Confident attack on Porsche

Just as the R8 developers had the 911 Carrera on their agenda right from the start, the TTS, presented in the TT anniversary year 2008, is undoubtedly chosen to have the Cayman clientele also envisaged by Porsche on its side to pull. They are mainly recruited from newcomers, i.e. from a new group of buyers who are generally characterized by lower brand loyalty and are therefore more open to one or the other experiment. Who says - for example - that a sports car has to have six or more cylinders? What speaks against four-wheel drive in this genre? And what is it that the TT tradition has only lasted ten years? The TTS can confidently attach the slogan of the new broom that sweeps to the side window, although its technical building blocks in sumall in all, have almost no news value. The chassis, engine and drive are basically known to have been taken from the group's modular system, which does not exactly satisfy the greed for sensation, but also suggests a high degree of maturity and well thought-out solidity.

Reasonable aspects with which Sports cars are usually confronted on the sidelines, therefore by no means ricochet off the TTS, but remain stuck in the long term. In this context, the two-liter turbo engine installed across the front in the aluminum chassis undoubtedly plays the main role. After all, the exemplary four-valve engine, which works with direct injection, has a standard consumption of just 8.0 liters per 100 kilometers. What remains of this standard size in practice is - of course - on a different sheet, as always. The possible disappointment that it is starting as an aggressive sports car in the 50,000 euro class with only four cylinders becomes less and less important the deeper one looks into the secrets of its crankcase.

The long-stroke engine, which is based on the TFSI engine of the two-liter TT and largely identical to the S3 engine, was given a package of far-reaching further developments for use in the TTS. Modified pistons with stronger bolts, more resilient connecting rods and a cylinder head made from a new aluminum-silicon alloy with improved details are the basis of a performance cure, which in the end is documented in figures that are remarkable for a two-liter ratio. The high output of a good 137 hp per liter of displacement confirms the remarkable technological competence of the engine, which weighs only 153 kilograms. At 9.8: 1, the compression reaches a level that was previously reserved for naturally aspirated engines. In conjunction with the exhaust manifold, the turbocharger, which is equipped with a larger turbine wheel, is designed as an integral module in heavy-duty cast steel. The maximum boost pressure is 1.2 bar.

A lightweight engine with top values ​​

The bottom line is that we are dealing with a pleasingly petite one in terms of its dimensions completely straightforward and efficient drive to do. Because also - and above all - when it comes to motivation and development, this direct injection engine, with all the blessings of the latest technology, can draw sympathies on its side. In view of the output of 272 hp and the maximum torque, which is between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm with a constant 350 Newton meters, the risk of falling behind with the TTS is low.

The favorable power-to-weight ratio of 5.3 kilograms per hp, resulting from the reported 272 hp and the measured total weightof 1,438 kilograms, already on paper, identifies him as a serious opponent. The fact that, in view of the only one pressure medium in the form of the monoturbo, the horsepower processing is given so spontaneously and evenly, i.e. without the previously usual turbo commemorative second - and also the acoustic concerns were not neglected, underlines the persuasive power of the four-cylinder. The TTS doesn’t sound intrusive or even proletarian, but rather sonorous, robust and powerful, but completely renouncing the turbocharger whistle that has always been so stimulating. After a short warm-up phase, you can be certain that it is not only sporty with its striking 18-inch models and double tailpipes - there is also a considerable sporty substance behind it.

The spontaneous readiness to perform goes, so to speak, from idling speed up to the red speed range starting at 6,800 rpm with a smooth running that is not unlike an electric drive in terms of its freedom from vibrations thanks to two balance shafts rotating at twice the crankshaft speed. The four-cylinder engine has also copied something from its continuity in power delivery, so that in the end the only question that arises is the emotional effect on the sports driver's psyche. Let's put it this way: in its technically polished perfection, it is almost a bit antiseptic, but the four-cylinder sometimes finds it a little difficult to cause a lasting tingling sensation in the stomach. But there is still the quattro drive with which the TTS is introduced as standard. And which helps him to a certain extent to be able to meet the sometimes adverse demands of everyday life even more casually. Its heart, the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, is located at the end of the cardan shaft in front of the rear axle differential - which benefits the weight distribution, but negatively affects the overall weight of the TTS.

Tingling in the stomach is rare

Recapitulate: The two-liter TT, driven only by the front wheels, weighs a moderate 1,322 kilograms. Which does not mean that the all-wheel drive alone is responsible for the difference of a good two hundredweight. But around half of the 116-kilo package is due to the system, which has been significantly revised in the TTS from the cardan shaft to the differentials to the drive shafts. Thanks to a new pressure accumulator in the vicinity of the electrically operated axial piston pump, which compresses the disk pack running in the oil bath according to the requirements determined by the electronics, the process of shifting the drive torque takes place from the front to the rearDrive wheels are now about twice as fast as before, in the millisecond range. This actually means that the force assignments to the two driven axles are almost imperceptible, in contrast to previous experience. This means nothing less than that the previously determined sensitivity of the all-wheel drive to load changes has completely disappeared. The turning movements around the vertical axis, or in other words: the constant change from understeer to oversteer as a result of a nervous foot on the accelerator is no longer an issue in the TTS.

A slight understeer in the corner entrance, which is approached a little too briskly, is all that the TTS allows itself with a somewhat unorthodox driving style. The borderline behavior is thus fundamentally characterized by a directional stability and reliability that animates the driver to complete serenity - according to the motto, which is certainly deceptive in case of doubt: What should happen? Or let's put it this way: The technology-based problem-solving potential that is effective as standard has reached a new level of quality in this all-wheel drive vehicle. It is just as inexplicable as it is annoying that against this background, of all people, the Audi executives themselves withdraw their trust in their model athletes and allow the redundancy system in the form of the ESP to ultimately prevail. The ESP distinguishes between a moderate increase in the intervention modalities and a so-called sporty working level, but in an emergency, the brake intervention remains in the be careful position as a supposed lifeline. As a result, the ESP cannot be completely deactivated.

No trust of the developers

The stabilization program is at least to be credited with the fact that the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and the Does not regard the small course in Hockenheim as an emergency per se, at least at the athletic level, and does not make any noticeable interventions in the determination of lap times. However, if you want to experience how humans and electronics can counteract each other, you should try on safe terrain to drive through the Wechselgasse, which simulates a sudden lane change, as it is driven in the evasive test, on the last groove. The abrupt, selective braking interventions that the ESP mutually induces at the limit, together with the immediately subsequent intuitive reactions of the driver, lead, so to speak, to the incapacitation of all good spirits: the system brakes to the right and the driver stops against it - which in the excitement of the action seems to be slapstick-like movements entails. To force the TTS, so sovereign and graceful in its natural movement patterns, to such unworthy behavior and /or the driverPossibly encouraging people to cross their arms in apparently opaque situations, giving in to fate and technology, certainly does not correspond to the self-image that manufacturers of sports cars and their customers should agree on. After all, anyone who switches off the ESP knows what they are getting into.


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