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Audi TTS Coupé in the super test: Potent athlete with one shortcoming

Rossen Gargolov
Audi TTS Coupé in the super test
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G just now, when the Audi TTS into the ant curve Turning on the short course in Hockenheim, the topic for the next lunch in the editorial canteen is fixed: The new Audi TT is the first Audi without 'Audi steering'. Like right now? Audi, without Audi steering? Pardon, if you only understand the train station now - with more or less lukewarm kohlrabi soup at lunchtime, we like to talk shop. So far, there have always been shiny eyes with Porsche and BMW steering systems, with many other brands there have been frowning.

But the tide has been turning lately. From a sporting point of view, the Mercedes-AMG GT S recently surprised with its pointed steering, which felt sportier than that of its test opponent, the Porsche 911 Turbo. Regardless of whether it is an R8, RS 5 or TTS - so far, all Audi steering systems have not been among our favorites from a sporting point of view. Either the steering angle was too large and the feedback about the central position too indirect, or the steering seemed extremely exaggerated in 'Dynamic' mode.

The latter always felt synthetic, especially in the slalom disciplines of our test procedure and unnatural. Overall, you could feel that Audi had to struggle to strike the balance between sport and everyday life. And so the generic term mentioned at the beginning of the rather artificial-looking 'Audi steering' was coined.

Audi TTS surprises with precise steering

The astonishment is all the greater when the Audi TTS is the first Stormed the curve. The standard driving dynamics system 'Audi drive select' has a major influence on the feedback from the electromechanical progressive steering. At the push of a button, you can choose between the modes 'Comfort', 'Auto', 'Dynamic', 'Efficiency' and 'Individual'. While the characteristic curve in comfort mode was designed to run smoothly and therefore very suitable for everyday use, the steering in sporty dynamic mode impresses for the first time with natural-looking linearity, pleasantly firm holding forces and precision around the central position.

Precision must be a thick word in the TTS- Have been specifications. The all-wheel drive not only shines with its steering, which is now very well coordinated for visits to the racetrack, but also with its impressively neutral driving behavior at the limit. Regardless of whether it is fast, medium-fast or slow corners - the newcomer masters the short course without noticeable understeer at the entrance to the corner, which was still criticized with the predecessor.

Neutral, more neutral, Audi TTS

At that time, the Audi TTS had to be given better steering and self-steering behavior with deliberately interspersed load changes. Today one wonders in the front-engine sports coupe what load change reactions exactly are. The TTS only reacts to the play on the accelerator pedal with a minimal twisting rear end. Thanks to the neutral driving behavior and the good controllability, you can enter the limit area as easily as in hardly any other athlete. Anyone who describes this as boring, you should ask yourself why he is out on the slopes with tailored carving skis in winter and no longer slides down the slopes with dead straight boards as he used to. Correct: the search for the perfect cornering.

With TTS that means : The difference between every lap time at Hockenheim is within a tenth of a second. With 1.14.4 minutes, the TTS not only outclasses its predecessor (Super test manual switch with Michelin Pilot sports tires: 1.16.1 min; S tronic with Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tires: 1.15.5 min), but also its larger predecessor TT RS (Supertest: 1.15.0 min).

Excellent traction and harmonious engine

The cooperation of the variable all-wheel drive with the torque vectoring function called' wheel-selective torque control '(see Technology- Spotlight). Even when accelerating out under load, the TTS with its excellent traction cannot be deviated from the ideal line. The 'Drive select' adaptive system not only influences the steering characteristics already mentioned, but also the all-wheel drive, the throttle response, the shift strategy of the S tronic and the adaptive dampers (Magnetic Ride) standard in the Audi TTS.

Keyword Chassis: The S model is ten millimeters lower than the standard TT versions. Especially when dynamic mode is activated and with the 20-inch option wheels on, the Audi TTS stamps bone-dry over bumps in everyday life, but for us, the limit area counts first and foremost. On the racetrack, the TTS prevents any noticeable pitching and rolling movements. Also helpful for improving driving dynamics: thanks to a special mixed construction, the vehicle's center of gravity is now ten millimeters lower. Compared to its predecessor, the wheelbase has also grown by 37 millimeters.

Even if it does not quite achieve the promised performance increase from 272 HP to 310 HP on the dynamometer, the further developed in-line four-cylinder TFSI fits the TTS as well as sweet mustard with white sausage. You won't find any torque dents or turbo holes here. Sonor, but not obtrusively rumbling, the turbo punches over a wide speed range up to the speed limit at 6,800 rpm. During fast upshifts with the optional S tronicthe Audi TTS with its heavy pounding of the exhaust almost acoustically reminds of its own one-make cup racing car, which has been providing a spectacle in the DTM supporting program in the Audi Sport TT Cup since this season.

Audi TTS is struggling with noticeable fading of the brakes

Now comes the big BUT of the new TTS. The braking system didn't digest more than four fast laps on the short course. Despite cooling laps between the timed laps, the brake pedal travel becomes longer and longer - noticeable fading occurs. This was already noticed in the TTS comparison test ( sport auto 4/2015) in Hockenheim. The almost identical Supertest TTS confirms this problem again.

Two days before the Hockenheim laps, it still stops perfectly in the standard measurement with ten successive decelerations from 100 km /h with a braking distance of 34.0 meters. The problems that occurred on the racetrack should not be due to the dimensioning - rather to inadequate ventilation.

After a longer cooling phase, the braking system recovers halfway from the Hockenheim exertions, but the Nordschleife still follows the most important Supertest chapter. Just so that there are no wrong impressions: Between the visit to Hockenheim and the one on the Nordschleife there were 14 days in which the vehicle was driven exclusively under everyday stress. Let's get to the Nordschleife. After two easy warm-up laps, the picture is similar to that in Hockenheim.

Brake problems prevent better lap times

While on the first lap of the Nordschleife the braking system decelerated halfway steadily, on the second lap of the ring the brake pedal became longer again when braking onto the Aremberg curve. Wehrseifen, Breidscheid, Bergwerk - the right challenges for a braking system on the Nordschleife are yet to come. Even when braking onto the bridge in Breidscheid, the pedal becomes extremely long.

After the Lauda left bend under full load, the TTS brakes hard from 189 km /h onto the mine curve. The brake pedal is now on the floor panel. Even more unpleasant: the ABS control, which is excellent when the brakes are fresh, no longer works properly under the conditions described. Now, just as the brakes are applied to the mine section, the brake pedal hardens and the TTS takes a moment to think about it before the deceleration occurs. Another phenomenon: the braking force does not apply evenly under these thermal loads, but to a different extent on all four wheels. 'Brake lining: wear limit reached' reports the instrument cluster - after 2,409 test kilometers, the TTS asks for an unscheduled pit stop, which is made in Ingolstadt. There you will find new brake pads and discs as well as fresh tires.

Five days later, the postponed finale will take place on theNordschleife instead. After a 60 percent roll-in lap, the fast time lap finally follows. But joy in view of the largely neutral driving behavior and the easy drivability does not want to arise on the Nordschleife this time either. Despite the fresh braking system, the thermal load is again noticeable on the fast lap with the symptoms already described. With a lap time of 8.15 minutes, the new TTS is 14 seconds faster than its predecessor, but with a steady brake an even faster ride over the ring would have been possible.

Audi TTS: Technology Spotlight

On the racetrack, the TTS shines even when accelerating out thanks to all-wheel drive with a further developed Haldex clutch and torque vectoring system (' wheel-selective torque control ') under load with excellent traction. Unlike the previous model, the ESC function can be completely deactivated. In the background, even when ESP is switched off, minimal braking interventions on the wheels on the inside of the bend help to improve steering behavior. The excess torque thus reaches the opposite wheel. Thanks to the difference in propulsive forces, the TTS easily turns into the curve. The system is so perfectly coordinated that no control interventions can be felt in the limit area. Fans of mechanical locks (including the Supertester) have to acknowledge this with praise.

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