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Friday, August 29, 2008

Audi TTS a real ripper

HERNDON, Virginia — Arguments about whether the latest-generation Audi TT is a full-blooded sports car are about to be put to rest when the high-test 2009 TTS hits the U.S. in November.

Audi says the TTS, whose heart is a scorching, 265-horsepower variant of Audi's newly revised turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, will not only have best-in-class 0-60-mph times, that bombastic 2.0-liter engine will deliver best-in-class fuel economy. Audi tells Inside Line the Environmental Protection Agency figures just came in: 19 mpg in the city and the same 29 mpg highway — a tasty 24 mpg combined. Serious fuel-sipping for an engine that generates 133 hp per liter.

An Audi spokesperson says the all-wheel-drive TTS, which now is the new top-of-the-line TT, rips off the 0-60 run in 4.9 seconds in coupe form, with the roadster running a 5.1-second 0-60. The coupe will match the V8-packing Mercedes SLK55 AMG and beat the six-cylinder BMW Z4 M Coupe, says Audi.

The extra bonus comes at the high-octane nozzle, where the four-cylinder TTS positively thumps the 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway/18 mpg combined of the Z4 M Coupe and the 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16 mpg combined for the SLK55 AMG.

Audi confirms the TTS coupe and roadster will come to the U.S. with only the six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and not the three-pedal manual shifter.

No detail yet from Audi about TTS pricing, but expect the TTS to begin well north of the $41,500 for the 2008 manual-transmission V6 TT coupe and $44,500 for the manual V6 TT roadster.

What this means to you: An all-wheel-drive sport coupe/roadster with the performance to beat a V8 and the economy of a four-cylinder is the kind of combination that will help keep performance cars viable in the face of increasing environmental concerns. —