Audi TTS

15Jan08

Audi took the wraps off the top of the TT model line Detroit 2008. The unveiling of the TTS also marks an anniversary for Audi: It was 10 years ago that the TT Coupe first took to the road, swiftly acquiring the status of design icon. The Audi TTS will be coming to dealer showrooms as both a 2 + 2-seater coupe and as a roadster. Under its hood lies a 2.0 TFSI engine delivering 265 hp. This intense power propels the TTS Coupe to 62 mph from a standstill in just 5.2 seconds and on to a governor-limited top speed of 155 mph.

The TTS represents the Audi brand’s Vorsprung durch Technik (“advancement through technology”) in its very latest form. The two-liter four-cylinder power unit that won “Engine of the Year” three times in succession has been reengineered and strengthened in a number of key areas.  The TFSI engine combines gasoline direct injection with turbocharging, produces its peak torque of 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft), between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm.

S tronic, which deploys two clutches, is capable of performing extremely quick gear shifts at high engine loads and rev speeds, cutting the 0 – 62 mph time by two-tenths of a second in both the Coupe and Roadster.  The standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive enables the TTS to transfer the power to the road loss-free. At the heart of this system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch that works faster than ever thanks to a new pressure reservoir. If required, all of the drive force can be redirected from the front to the rear wheels within a matter of milliseconds.

Audi’s Magnetic ride gives the driver the choice of two characteristic settings: “Standard” mode is designed for a well-balanced, comfortable ride, whereas the “Sport” setting releases the full potential of the sports suspension. Its front suspension is mainly made of aluminum, while the efficient technology of the precision electromechanical steering also helps to improve fuel consumption considerably. Large disks are fitted front and rear, with the 17-inch front disks being internally ventilated. Audi has devised a second, sporty level for the ESP stabilization program which enables controlled drifting.

The TTS body is a hybrid construction. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum. The manual Coupe weighs just 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lbs), which equates to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.1 kg/hp (11.24 lbs/hp).

Powerful looks: 18-inch wheels plus new headlights

The standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are a highlight of the exterior design, as are the headlights, comprising newly designed bi-xenon units with LED daytime running lights. When viewed in profile, it is not only the large 18-inch wheels that stand out; the widened, deeper door sills are equally eye-catching. A muscular rear bumper, a gray-colored diffusor trim, plus two sets of twin tailpipes protruding from the left and the right inject the vehicle’s tail with a sporty character all of its own. The spoiler on the TTS extends automatically when the speed reaches 75 mph and retracts again when it drops back to 50 mph.

Inside, passengers are welcomed by deep-set sports seats trimmed in a mixture of leather and Alcantara, with four different colors of Silk Nappa leather available as an option. The gray instrument panel as well as the multifunctional steering wheel add further styling touches.

The DrivetrainCompared to the engine it was derived from, the two-liter power unit has undergone extensive reengineering and strengthening including the engine block, the cylinder head, the pistons, the connecting rods and the turbocharger, which puts out 1.2 bar of boost. An optimized and intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air, increasing the quantity of air supplied for combustion. The intake and exhaust systems have undergone elaborate honing to allow the refined four-cylinder engine to optimize perfomance and soundtrack. The 2.0 liter TFSI engine is extremely light, weighing in at 153 kilograms (337 lbs). This has considerable benefits for the overall weight of the TTS as well as for the axle load distribution and, consequently, for the vehicle’s handling.

High-tech gearshifting: S tronic

S tronic is the only transmission offered in the U.S. which uses six gears and two clutches positioned one behind the other. The clutches have an adaptive design, enabling the start-off characteristics to be varied – whereas caution is exercised on slippery surfaces, full power can be unleashed at the driver’s command when there is firm grip. There is a choice of two automatic operating modes: N for “Normal” and S for “Sport.” S tronic also allows the driver to shift gears manually using the one-touch lever or by paddles on the steering wheel.

The Chassis

Audi has opted for a McPherson front suspension with lower triangular wishbones for the TTS. The suspension is largely made of aluminum, thereby reducing the unsprung masses. To increasing rigidity, the subframe is bolted to the body at six points. The sensitive, high-precision power steering is driven electromechanically, a technology that improves fuel consumption by 0.7 mpg.

The four-link rear suspension is capable of dealing with the longitudinal and lateral forces separately from one another. All of the links are made from high-strength grades of steel, while modified bearings emphasize the taut feel of the TTS. The coil springs and shock absorbers are fitted separately from one another, meaning that they take up little space.

The TTS comes standard with 18-inch cast aluminum wheels that sport the five-arm parallel-spoke S design and are shod with 245/40-size tires. Further wheel variants are optionally available, including a new 19-inch cast aluminum wheel designed by quattro GmbH.

Audi magnetic ride – crisp and versatile

The TTS rolls off the production line equipped with Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system. Circulating inside the damper pistons is a special fluid containing magnetic particles. When an electrical voltage is applied, the oil’s flow properties change the characteristics of the suspension. Audi magnetic ride works adaptively, meaning that it adjusts automatically to suit the prevailing conditions. The driver can select one of two suspension settings. In “Normal” mode, when oil viscosity is high, the TTS offers a well-balanced, comfortable ride. In the “Sport” setting, meaning low viscosity, the TTS harnesses all of the potential of its sports suspension and lowers the body by 10 mm (0.39 in.).The Body

The superior performance of the TTS can be partly attributed to the technology of its bodywork, whose hybrid construction combines two different types of materials. Steel is used at the rear end, while the front and center sections of the body are built from lightweight aluminum.

Audi first developed the Audi Space Frame (ASF), in the early 1990s, triggering a revolution in body manufacturing. Extruded sections, pressure die-castings and load-bearing aluminum panels form a light, rigid and safe structure. On the Coupe, the side sections and the roof are laser welded together, producing a precision seamless joint.

The construction of the TTS has the added major benefit of optimizing distribution of the axle loads and reducing the vehicle’s total weight. The Coupe’s body weighs a mere 206 kilograms (454.15 lbs), of which 140 kg (308.65 lbs) is aluminum and 66 kg (145.51 lbs) steel. In the case of the TTS Roadster, whose body incorporates special reinforcements, the figure is 251 kilograms (553.36 lbs).

Both the Coupe and the Roadster measure 4,198 millimeters (13.77 ft) long and 1,842 mm (6.04 ft) wide; the hard-top TTS is 1,345 mm (4.41 ft) in height, its open-top counterpart 1,350 mm (4.43 ft). The Roadster features an electrohydraulically operated soft top which opens and closes in twelve seconds, even on the move at speeds below 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The soft top incorporates a large glass rear window and folds in a “Z” shape. Neither a tonneau cover nor a cover flap is needed. Extra matting between the headlining and the outer skin improves insulation, and an electrically extending/retracting wind deflector shields the occupants’ necks from drafts when the hood is down.

The Interior

Awaiting the passengers inside are deep-set sports seats featuring seat heating and height adjustment. They come as standard with leather/Alcantara seat covers in either black or black and silver, plus silver-colored contrast stitching. The sports seats are optionally available in Silk Nappa leather upholstery. There is also the option of the Impulse leather package, comprising black trim with silver stitching in the Coupe or chennai brown trim with espresso-colored contrast stitching in the Roadster.

Instruments with a gray background and white needles, metal pedals, aluminum trim panels, plus a multifunctional leather sports steering wheel with a rim that’s flattened at the bottom add further styling touches.

The driver information system with its new, high-resolution white display concentrates all important information where it can be clearly seen by the driver, and includes a timer function that is able to record lap times on race tracks. Mobile entertainment out on the road comes in the form of the chorus audio system with CD player.

As well as being great fun to drive, the new sports car from Audi boasts a host of credentials that make it eminently suitable for day-to-day use. The Roadster is available with an optional load-through facility complete with removable ski bag for added practicality. The trunk has a capacity of 250 liters. The rear seats in the Coupe have a split-folding design, allowing luggage capacity to be increased from 290 to 700 liters.

The Features

Sales of the TTS will begin late November 2008 in the U.S. The TT line’s dynamic top model comes generously equipped. Its list of features includes quattro permanent all-wheel drive, the Audi magnetic ride adaptive suspension system, 18-inch aluminum wheels, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, plus – on the Roadster – the fully automatic soft top including power wind deflector.

The interior is dominated by the multifunctional leather sports steering wheel. The extended aluminum styling and heated sports seats with their leather/Alcantara upholstery are further highlights. An automatic air conditioning system and Isofix child seat mountings on the front passenger seat are designed to enhance both comfort and safety.

The list of optional extras includes two navigation systems, a Bose sound system, an iPod port, an LED interior lighting package, electrically adjustable seats, as well as the Audi adaptive light dynamic cornering light system. The S tronic dual-clutch transmission is an Audi technology that remains unmatched by anything the competition has to offer.

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