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The TTerrific Audi TTS Coupé 2.0T FSI


WHAT is the collective term for Audis? An awesomeness of Audis? Perhaps - because right now the Ingolstadt manufacturer's vehicles are universally superb. Right from the little A1 - which only the cruel would call a very expensive VW Polo, for it's based on the same platform - through to the big A8. This is a car I especially revere. It might not be quite as technologically advanced as the precedent-setting Mercedes S-Class, or indeed the new BMW 7 Series whose launch I'll be covering later this month. But its subtlety, its ability to shrink around the driver and so feel far wieldier than the super saloon it is, and its hewn-from-the-solid build quality is almost peerless.

The huge Q7 SUV is yet another excellent vehicle, while its smaller Q5 sibling is very possibly the machine I'd choose if I had to select just one Audi for daily use in all conditions.

And then there's the TT - you knew we'd get there.

An all-new version of this little sports car was launched in South Africa last year but brilliant as it is, it didn't entirely have the firepower to match the looks.

Say hello then to the new TTS - essentially the juiced version of the TT with an output of 210kW and 380Nm (versus the normal car's 169kW and 370Nm). This comes courtesy of the same turbocharged two-litre powerplant found in the S3, and translates into a run from rest to 100km/h in a rapid 4.9 seconds. Top speed is governed to 250km/h, and a six-speed S tronic transmission takes care of gearchanges. Fuel consumption is a claimed (and I stress "claimed") 6.9 litres per 100km in the combined cycle.

This baby is available only in quattro guise, and besides a hotter motor, the body is lowered by 10mm, while TTS-specific styling cues include a dedicated grille, wider air intakes, four rear exhaust pipes, and 19-inch wheels as standard.

Also standard are nuclear-blast-bright LED headlamps, while as with the rest of the TT range you get the remarkable Audi Virtual Cockpit - essentially a digital dashboard that allows drivers to switch the layout and functions.

Equipment levels are high, from electrically operated front sports seats to climate control, and the little TTS with its absolutely miniscule rear seats is a taut, tight, unflappable beast - even in extremis.

The only drawback with this car - and other sports machines of its ilk - is that it's low, of course, riding on big wheels and rubber so minimal that it looks like it's painted on.

So on the disintegrating roads that increasingly abound, more driver effort is often expended on dodging potentially damaging potholes and surface irregularities than on driving and enjoying the car. And that takes me back to the old argument that if you have the choice, an SUV or similar is arguably the best option for a daily driver, with machines such as the TTS filling the role of special-occasion cars.

Yours for R700,500 - including a five-year/100,000km Audi Freeway Plan (maintenance plan) but excluding options.


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