The Norisring in Nuremberg is traditionally the home game, or the home race, of Audi in motorsport. The DTM is there for the third stop this season and Audi is celebrating the “1st Victory of the Audi V8 DTM ”which took place there exactly 25 years ago.
Runs three and four of the new program will take place in the supporting program Audi Sport TT Cup instead of. A brand cup with 24 identical Audi TT vehicles. 18 of them are given to young racing drivers from 13 nations who were selected from 165 applicants. Six vehicles are used directly by Audi Sport and are reserved for changing guest drivers. International journalists, celebrities with an affinity for racing and racing legends from other racing series get the chance to experience the Audi Sport TT Cup from a cockpit perspective and to contest races as part of the DTM.
We do not belong to any of the categories listed, but to experience a little “Audi - Norisring feeling” we travel in the new one Audi TTS Coupe at. There is a good reason that we are not taking the new 1.8 l TFSI version with 180 hp, with which the engine range will be expanded from July and the TT Coupe will be offered at prices from 32.100 euros. We want more “pressure”. As seen in the Audi TT Cup.
The TT Cup version builds on the TTS, the 310 PS strong two-liter four-cylinder TFSI comes almost unchanged from the series, just as it also thumps in our expressive “Sepang blue” painted test car. Only the ventilation of the crankcase was adapted for the higher centrifugal forces typical in racing. The six-speed S-tronic was also adopted from the series almost unchanged. An active differential electronically adjustable from the cockpit ensures optimal traction on the front axle.
Directions to the Norisring
On our way to Nuremberg, we are first in comfort mode. With a switch located in the center console, the driver can clearly change the character of the TTS. Whether in "Efficiency" fuel is to be saved and the TTS becomes a sailor, right down to the sport mode, which we activate for the last few kilometers before the Norisring, as more and more "race feeling" arises and we can almost smell the racing air.
This is supported by a now sonorous exhaust sound, sporty, aggressive, in addition the 6 gear S-Tronic shifts down to position "S" earlier and, as with the automated upshift, gives gas.
"The excellently translated steering and the ergonomically very good" S-Line "steering wheel force us to leave the motorway and drive on the winding country road."
The chassis is so perfectly balanced that the lightweight - the new TT weighs 50 kilograms less than its predecessor - feels even easier to juggle over the asphalt. Left, right, across Franconian country roads, a sign, Nuremberg still 25 kilometers, why only so short? We have only just warmed up.
The TTS can fully exploit its dynamism on the country road. The newly developed quattro drive brings safe, sporty driving fun to the road, even for non-TT Cup drivers. Depending on the style of the driver and the position of the control systems, the all-wheel drive software controls the hydraulic multi-plate clutch very differently - from stable to highly emotional handling.
The clutch can partially redirect the drive torque from the front to the rear axle when the driver is steering in a sporty driving style. As soon as he accelerates, the forces literally push the car into the curve - spontaneously, without any initial understeer. When changing loads, the Coupé turns into the curve. Under load, the clutch, in conjunction with the wheel-selective torque control on a road with little grip, allows controlled, safe drifts in rear-wheel drive style, at the end of the curve the front axle pulls the car straight again.
An advantage for the drivers of the Audi TTS road like us: we can rely on the quattro drive, while the professionals in the TT Cup have to do with front-wheel drive and a front axle differential.
Even if the racing TT is close to the series, of course it is not as pleasant inside as in our TTS. While the ambitious racing drivers sit on the hard Audi PS1 safety seat from the Audi R8 LMS ultra, we are welcomed by the S sport seats, which are standard in the TTS, with more contoured cheeks.
Lashed down, our eyes look straight ahead at the new “Audi virtual cockpit”. Its TFT display with 12,3 inch diagonal has a high resolution of 1.440 x 540 pixels, it is razor-sharp, brilliant and rich in contrast. Despite strong sunshine on racing Sunday, there are no reflections on the displays and it is always excellent to read. Operation is a bit difficult at the beginning and is hardly possible without reading the operating instructions. The interior, which is greatly reduced by buttons and switches, is first class if you understand it. Before that, it was more like the title of an Edgar Wallace film: "The secret of the door with the seven locks".
Race day on the Noris
On site at the Norisring, it quickly becomes clear why this is the Audi “home game”. Racing fans everywhere with flags on which the four rings can be seen. There is an extra Audi employee pavilion in the paddock and, of course, a TT Cup Team Hospitality. There we can completely immerse ourselves in the Audi universe. Accompany the two races for a weekend - you can read the report here - and talk to prominent guest starters such as Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis. The interview can be read here.
As fast as the 30-minute races of the TT Cup series the weekend also goes by. In the end we ask ourselves: is the new Audi TTS the better Porsche Cayman? You can't answer the question that directly. The TTS is driving dynamically. It sprints from standstill to 4,6 km / h in 100 seconds and is even close to the Porsche in the area of a 911 Carrera S. Of course, the Porsche has the myth of its name and, in the case of the Cayman, has a slight restriction in everyday life, especially in terms of space. The TTS offers enough space inside and its trunk volume of 305 liters is sufficient and practical for this vehicle class. It not only scores points on the racetrack, but also in everyday use.
And when at the end of the weekend the racers sweatily get out of their TT Cup vehicle, our question was answered as to whether we would like to switch roles. When we let ourselves fall comfortably back into our leather sports seats, use Drive Select to give the TTS its cozy character again and quietly listen to the confident click of the rotary button on the center console.
Although the basic features of the TT are already 20 years old, this third generation is at the cutting edge as if it were invented today.
Simply a "great touring athlete" or short, TTS!
Text: Bernd Schweickard | © Photo: Bernd Schweickard