Audi TT S coupe (2019 - ) review
The TT S is a sports car that sits in the middle of the TT range, between the stock TT and the hardcore TT RS. It’s a rival for cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman, BMW M240i and Alpine A110.
The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0
Within the TT range, the TT S is a brilliant happy medium, giving extra exhilaration over the standard TT but without the considerably higher price of the TT RS. Against its rivals, it doesn’t have the final edge of involvement that Porsche’s 718 Cayman and the Alpine A110 can boast, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a very enjoyable car to drive.
- Great engine
- Sharp, solid handling
- High quality interior
- Some rivals are more involving
- Reliability concerns
- Overall costs could be pretty high
Interested in buying an Audi TTS?
How good does it look?
We won’t blame you if you don’t spot any differences between this facelifted Audi TT S and the original third-generation car that launched in 2014. But look closely and you’ll find a revised grille taken from the R8 supercar, and tweaks to the bodywork.
The TT S has aluminium-look bits on the side mirrors, bumper and side skirts, and rides on 19-inch alloy wheels. You also get some TT S logos on the brake calipers, so the keen-eyed will know you’re packing a bit more oomph. The Black Edition version has 20-inch black wheels and black grilles, as well as a black rear spoiler. White paint is included, but other colours are extra.
What's the interior like?
With Audi maintaining a superb reputation for interior quality, it would be hard for the company to mess up the revamped TT. Changes are, again, pretty minimal, which means a very high quality of materials and excellent fit and finish. Leather and Alcantara-covered sports seats are standard, and very comfy they are too, but be prepared to pay extra if you want them to adjust electrically.
Like the rest of the TT range, the S comes with a 12.3-inch display in the front of the driver, rather than traditional instruments or a central screen. This displays both driving information and infotainment options, which is controlled either from the wheel or by a dial and buttons next to the gearstick. It’s certainly cool to look at, and works well once you get to know it, but you'll need to spend some time figuring out your way around the interface.
How practical is it?
You don’t buy a small sports coupe because you want a practical car, but within the confines of the genre, the TT S is actually pretty good. It’s better than Porsche’s 718 Cayman in that it has rear seats. However, these seats are tiny, and really only suitable for small children. There’s a 305-litre boot under a hatchback boot lid, which expands to 712 litres if you fold the rear seats down, and that’s not bad for this type of car. There are small pockets in the doors and a cubby in front of the gearstick, and a single cupholder between the front seats.
What's it like to drive?
Audi calls the TT a sports coupe, and luckily, it has the dynamic ability to back that up, with engineering that’s unchanged in the revamped version. The standard car has strong grip, taut body control and fast, predictable reactions from the steering, gearshift and throttle, making it feel excitingly nimble in a set of bends. And the TT S ups the quality of all that, to create an even more adrenaline-filled experience when you hit the right roads.
All-wheel drive is standard to give you brilliant traction out of the corners, and magnetic suspension is also included. This adjusts itself to suit the road surface beneath, giving you that extra performance, but maintaining a ride that’s more than comfy enough, especially for customers that will be after a sportier experience. On its own then, it’s very good indeed. The only slight fly in the ointment is that it’s not quite as fun, nor as comfortable, as a Porsche 718 Cayman, which is similar in cost. But we're still comparing one very good car to another.
How powerful is it?
The TT S comes with a 306-horsepower, 2.0-litre petrol engine, which together with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox, gives it a very pacey 0-62mph sprint of 4.5 seconds, which is slightly quicker than the 2014 car. It’s really impressive, with plenty of power delivered in a smooth and linear fashion, meaning you always have grunt under your right foot when you want it. While there are more powerful sports cars out there, the TT S never feels underpowered and it’s capable of being a very fast machine.
How much will it cost me?
When it comes to purchase price, the TT S is slightly cheaper than the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Alpine A110, but it’s considerably pricier than BMW’s M240i. And although Audis generally have good resale value, the TT won’t hold onto its worth nearly as well as the Porsche or the Alpine. While the BMW will be worth less in absolute terms down the line, it’ll likely hold on to a higher percentage of its purchase price. This means that while the TT S is very competitive in terms of fuel economy, servicing costs and the like, it’ll likely cost more than its rivals to run over your whole time with it.
How reliable is it?
Despite a strong reputation for quality. Audi’s reliability has not been the best in recent years. The 2018 and 2019 editions of the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study put Audi third from bottom when ranking all the main manufacturers, although that's one place higher than the 2017 study. Audi is similarly low-ranked in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which looks at the reliability of older, out-of-warranty cars. That said, our Owner Reviews for the pre-facelift model don't report too many issues. Should anything go wrong with your TT, Audi offers a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty standard for this type of car.
How safe is it?
The latest TT is largely the same as the car that scored a disappointing four stars out of five in tests by safety organisation Euro NCAP back in 2015. In fairness, the tests had just been made harder when it was tested, but standards have improved again since then. Some modern technologies that you would expect from newer cars, such as automatic emergency braking, aren’t available. Still, there are front and side airbags and two Isofix child seat mounting points in the rear seats.
How much equipment do I get?
The standard features offered in the TT range as a whole is fairly generous. Aside from the extra external pizzazz you get from the Black Edition, the two versions of the TT S get the same kit, which means Bluetooth and cruise control, heated seats and keyless start.
Options include larger wheels in different designs and upgraded headlights. The Comfort and Sound Pack gives you an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, front parking sensors and a reversing camera, as well as keyless entry.
The TT S gives the already-recommended TT a performance hike without costing you the earth, and it’s more than capable of hanging with some pretty illustrious competition. If you’re in the market for a proper compact sports car, then this should be on your list of vehicles to check out.