Sometimes the stars align and all is right in the world. Last weekend was that "some time." Your author was at the 2009 12-Hours of Sebring—which Audi won with its all-new R15 sports prototype racer—and my off-track ride for the weekend was the 2009 Audi TTS Cabriolet.
The more powerful 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo is hugely powerful (265 horsepower). With the torque running through the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) gearbox, the power flow feels endless. When the revs come up, the thrust pins you in the seat, but it's the sound that stays in your memory. It’s really fun and makes you run up through the gears just to hear the great noises. Hit the throttle and the engine spins up quickly; the increasing revs are just as quickly followed by the sound of the turbo's pop-off valve that's synchronized with each shift:
VVvvvrrrPaahhp VVVvvvvvvrrrPaahhp VVVVvvvvvvvvvvvvvrrrPaahhp.
While this writer is among those drivers in the world who maintain a strong love for manual gearboxes, Audi's improved DSG won strong affection over after a few hundred miles, particularly during a jaunt from Miami to Sebring. The DSG shifted with the smoothness of a well-calibrated automatic in traffic. When the roads opened for some more spirited driving, the gearbox responded appropriately.
2009 Audi TTS RoadsterEnlarge Photo
Occasionally, when the gearbox was not in the Sport mode, the 2.0-liter would get caught flat-footed with light throttle tip-in at lower revs. Down low, the engine doesn’t make a lot of torque, but this is not a major complaint.
The modes offered by the TTS's magnetic ride adaptive suspension (Standard and Sport) provide a discernable personality difference. In the Sport mode, the TTS's reactions sharpen noticeably.
As drivers from TheCarConnection.com have come to expect from Audi, the TTS's interior was comfortably straightforward. The supple baseball-mitt styled seats in this example were as supportive as they were good-looking. The navigation system actually proved helpful (not all nav systems are), and the redundant nav display (for turn-by-turn directions) between the speedo and tach was especially useful.
In all, the new Audi TTS is a winner—just like the all-new Audi R15 P1 Sports Prototype racer.