A few years ago, I drove the second-generation Audi TT-RS around Brands Hatch. It looked sharp, its five-cylinder engine sang with a nape-tingling burble, and it was bloody quick too. But boy did it understeer; I mean, this thing REALLY understeered. You accelerated through even moderately quick corners and the tyres spun, then they heated up and did it some more. I tried to be neat and accelerate with less steering lock on, I tried to bring the all-wheel-drive system into play, but the RS was a pretty frustrating steer on the racetrack.
So I wasn’t expecting an awful lot when, last week, I arrived at the Ascari race circuit to drive the new Audi TTS. The TTS uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 308bhp, and has Quattro all-wheel drive as standard. It’s also based on the new MQB platform, and features revised Haldex-based all-wheel drive that, promises Audi, is faster-acting and sends more power to the rear wheels.
At Ascari’s first corner, you could feel the difference. The braking zone is over a crest, which plunges downhill into a quickish left-hander. Attack it and the TTS will turn in cleanly, which is an improvement in itself. But when you accelerate, with the front tyres right on the edge of grip, you can feel the TTS very subtly sending torque to the rear, so that you can keep on the throttle and carve a satisfying arc through the corner, gathering speed all the time.
Now, I wanted to capture all this with a proper video, but sadly time was tight and we got only three high-speed laps of the track before we had to drive back down to Marbella (hard life, I know). But I’ve just bought a GoPro, so I thought I’d stick it on the dash, have a quick experiment, and see if I could bring back something worthwhile.
If you have a watch of the quick clip I managed to grab, you’ll see I’ve got a lot to learn about GoPro filming on the fly, but hopefully it gives you a sense that this is a much-improved TT, one that’s far more satisfying to drive on track than its predecessors. And it’ll also allow you to hear just how good this car sounds – it’s a four-pot, but it’s much more intense and five-cylindery than the one in lesser TTs.
So, apologies for the slightly shonky quality, but please treat it as intended: a quick, fly-on-the-wall snapshot of a surprisingly fun few laps.
Read Georg Kacher's full Audi TTS review here. And James Taylor tests the TT 2.0 TDI in our review here.