In the automotive world, there are three things that drive sales: style, fun, and price. And usually you can only pick two when choosing a car. A few examples: the first generation Audi A5 was a beautiful car and offered at a relatively low price point of $40k. It’s a bore to drive. The Volkswagen GTI has all the function and drivability you could want at a great price. We bet you’ve never heard anyone accuse the GTI of being too beautiful. But, we think the 3rd generation 2017 Audi TTS may just break this trend. It may just be the automotive equivalent of having your cake, and eating it too.
We recently test drove a 2017 example through the Audi on Demand service. Offered at a starting price of $53k, the Audi TTS is fun to drive and looks great – especially in the Vegas Yellow variant. We picked up the TTS after sunset and couldn’t appreciate the brilliant yellow shine from the Vegas Yellow paint initially. In the daylight, though, it’s the perfect color for making a statement. Passerbys frequently commented on the color and asked if the TTS had the performance to back it up. The good news is that the TTS absolutely does.
2017 Audi TTS Performance
Equipped with a 292hp/280ft-lb turbocharged 2.0L engine, and offered only with a dual-clutch automatic, the Audi TTS can hit 60 miles per hour in about 4.7 seconds. The transmission is the perfect match for the engine, quickly firing off shifts in less than 50ms. Taking the TTS to the twisty hills outside of Marin, we can confirm that the TTS handles very well and is a blast to throw around corners. Turbo lag is present but very subdued.
Much like the previous generation TTS, the grip feels never ending but thankfully is much less robotic than before. We only wish the steering didn’t feel so numb. The steering can be slightly improved by selecting ‘Sport’ from the Drive Select – standard on the car, and allows you to choose settings for the transmission, suspension, and engine mapping.
The TTS is loaded with other tech features too. Standard on the TTS is the Audi virtual cockpit, which places a 12in LCD screen where traditionally the speedometer and tachometer sit. The screen can be customized with a digital speedometer, tachometer, turbo boost gauge, and other performance meters, or can display your current location, music, or other relevant information. The tech doesn’t have any hint of lag and is relatively intuitive to use. Our biggest complaint is that it leaves out the passenger from song selection or aiding with navigation.
Supple quilted leather line the driver and passenger seats and Alcantara is used generously throughout the cabin and dashboard, giving the TTS a premium and sporty feel. The interior is lined with quality materials and limited use of cheap plastics. No one would assume the car is based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, which is shared with the Jetta, Golf, and other VW cars.
They also wouldn’t guess the shared platform from the outside, either. It’s perfectly proportioned, with a sleek fastback design. Separated LED headlights add a more aggressive look as does the quad exhaust. The 19in rims don’t add much firmness to the ride but provide a more sporty look.
In all, we highly recommend the 2017 Audi TTS. It’s sporty, fun to throw around corners, sophisticated and stylish. The car has got it all – style, fun and available at a moderate price of $52k. Used 3rd generation examples are already available in the low $40s.
What We’d Get
Prices continue to drop on used examples of the 3rd gen TTS, with an expected future depreciation of 10% per year. Leases should be coming to completion for 2015 models this summer, so if possible, wait until there is more supply in the market. We recommend picking up a TTS with the technology package, which adds navigation, as it brings out the best features in the virtual cockpit.