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Audi TTS a fine work of art

For 2009, Audi is offering a considerably hotter version of its 2.0L TSFI direct-injection turbo-four powered TT dubbed the TTS.

For 2009, Audi is offering a considerably hotter version of its 2.0L TSFI direct-injection turbo-four powered TT dubbed the TTS. Available in both coupe ($57,600) and Roadster ($61,900), horsepower count jumps from 200 to 265. and torque sees an increase of 51 lb.-ft. to 258 at 2500 r.p.m.

All TTS are equipped with upgraded quattro all-wheel-drive, a six-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch manumatic transmission and S-specific tuned adaptive magnetic ride suspension. Visually, you can spot a TTS by its 10mm lowered ride height, unique 18” wheels, chrome-look mesh grill, bi-xenon headlights, dual twin tail pipes, aluminum-look mirrors and black brake calipers.

There’s no question this car is a stunner, and its beauty is more than skin deep. The 2009 TTS Roadster beat out the refreshed Mercedes-Benz SLK and Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder to capture Best New Convertible category at the 2008 TestFest.

But is it a real sports car? My wife and I took our red specimen on a two day tour of northwest Ontario to find out.

With maximum torque arriving at 2500 rpm, the TTS can get caught flat-footed in the lower rev range, but once the turbo spools up this red rocket truly flies. The six-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch box is a delight. It shifts smoothly on its own, but the real fun is in using the paddle shifters to flick through the gears, hearing the rev matching on downshifts, and the cute little woofs on upshifts.

Speed is deceptively effortless in the TTS. On a few occasions, after blowing by some slower traffic, Ms. Navigator was quick to alert me to the fact we were well into impoundment territory by a quick left jab to the right shoulder. Thanks dear.

In this part of Ontario, curves in the grid of arrow straight country roads are about as scarce as two-headed sheep, so most of the accelerative forces we experienced were linear, not lateral.

Which suits the TTS to a “T”. Despite its 10-mm lowered ride height and 245/40R18 performance tires, Audi’s style icon is more of a swift and comfortable two-seat tourer than a true sports car. Yes, it goes, steers and grips like crazy, but it’s strangely aloof and uninvolving. It’s also let down by somewhat uncommunicative steering that is over-assisted at lower speeds.

Compared to the benchmark Porsche Boxster (starting at $58,400), it’s not quite there. The steering lacks the Porsche’s wonderfully tactile feel, and the chassis, while undeniably capable, doesn’t communicate or respond like the mid-engined Boxster.

Get back to the touring side of the equation, and the TTS excels. The standard adaptive magnetic ride sports suspension serves up a pleasant and controlled ride, the bolstered sport seats proved comfy over the long haul, and the $1350 Bose audio upgrade with XM sounded fab. Add in the $1500 Enhanced Leather Package (fine nappa seats, leather cowl, console and door pulls), and every aspect of this exquisite cabin is a visual and tactile delight. If God is in the details, this is one holy drop-top.

And as an object of rolling fine art, the Audi TTS Roadster is unparalleled.

2009 Audi TTS Roadster
Type: Sports car
Price: from $61,900
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC four-cylinder
Power: 265 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm

• Effortless speed
• Exquisite looks

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