Recently I’ve written up a string of BMW 135is. A great car and likely future collector, the turbocharged E8x packs a mean punch and stands apart from the crowd, yet is just luxurious enough to make you feel quite special even when the throttle isn’t on the floor. But the BMW wasn’t without competition in the marketplace back in 2009. That competition emerged in the form of the new TTS package. Now, while Audi had made some pretty quick TTs up to that point, none had ever really been considered on par as a driver’s car with what typically emerged from Munich. But the new TTS shifted the balance of performance towards Ingolstadt:
Twenty years ago, the Audi TTS would have been a very exciting proposition. Built on the universally praised MQB platform, the third generation 8S TT is lighter than the original, better balanced, and more powerful. With close to 300 horsepower and 280 lb.ft of torque from the 2.0 TSFI turbocharged inline-4, it’s a Golf R in a slinky dinner dress. Equipped with the impressive dual-clutch 6-speed S-Tronic transmission and launch control, the results are hard to argue with: 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and a quarter mile in 12.8 at 108 mph. Unthinkable for anything but the most exotic exotics a few generations ago, this is all wrapped up in a reasonably affordable and attractive package that is usable year-round and has few drawbacks.
But the TTS falls into a no man’s land today. It’s $10,000 more expensive than the base TT – already quite an impressive car. It’s also more expensive than the more practical Golf R on which it is based. A lot more expensive. But more troubling, with a few options like today’s it is also dearer than a base Porsche 718 Cayman. And while it soundly out-drags the base Cayman, which would you rather impress friends in?
Want to feel very special, drive a great sports car and stand apart from the crowd but don’t have a million dollars for a Porsche 911?
No problem. I have the solution.
Sure, you could do what I suggested a few weeks ago and buy the ‘affordable’ and ‘useable’ supercar – Audi’s R8. With 600 plus horsepower from a screaming V10 and “arrest me now, I broke the speed limit the moment I turned the key” looks, you’re sure to draw attention and smiles. But even though relative to the used 911 market these cars are bargains, you’re saying ‘Come on, Carter – they’re still $170,000’. And you’re right – for most, they’re only affordable if you would consider them a primary residence rather than a weekend warrior.
So if you need to actually commute, what about Audi’s TTS? Okay, it’s not the 400 horsepower TT RS – I get it. But it retains the walk-on-water MQB platform and pairs it with the Golf R drivetrain – good for 292 horsepower and 280 lb.ft of torque driving all four wheels. Paired with the S-Tronic DSG dual-clutch, you’re capable of blitzing 60 mph in 4.6 seconds yet still this car returns 27 mpg on the highway. Unlike the R8, it’s also got rear seats (albeit quite small) and a hatchback that doesn’t contain a V10. While that’s disappointing when showing off to your friends, the reality is that occasionally you need to carry something larger than your ego.
But though it lacks the headline-grabbing figures and cross-marque instantly recognizable alpha-numeric nomenclature of its more famous siblings, the TTS fails to disappoint with performance and incorporates all the cutting-edge technology, including the mega-cool virtual dashboard. You can also spec it out in a bunch of really cool colors, such as the Vegas Yellow I looked at on the R8s. But this particular one, as you’ve seen, is a bit extra special, having been special ordered in Viper Green:
Please give a warm welcome to our newest writer at GCFSB, Andrew Maness. Andrew is active with his own page over at Jalopnik, The Road Less Driven. Welcome Andrew!
Given that I am currently a card carrying member of ACLA (Audi Club Los Angeles) and I am about to put my B7 S4 Avant up for sale, I am frequently asked “well what kind of Audi are you going to get next?”. It’s a bit presumptive on the persons part to assume that just because I’m a club member that I’m going to stick with the brand. True I do have a lot of love for Quattro driven vehicles but since moving to Southern California from Vermont that love has wained a bit over the last 6 years.
I fell in love with Audi because they’re the oddball of the German brands and I like things that are different. These days their vehicles have lost some of that character but I suppose that’s to be expected given how much the brand has grown in the last decade. 2009 marked a turning point for the brand as that’s when they killed off arguably the best body style they ever had (B7 pride!) and dropped their partnership with Recaro. However 2009 wasn’t all bad news as they also offered an S model of the TT coupe for the first time. I’ve always had a soft spot for the TT ever since Tom Cruise spun one off a cliff in MI:2 and the second generation body style is one of my favorite Audi designs. It looks especially good in white but one must resist the urge to “stromtrooper” the vehicle. Black wheels are overrated people, trust me, been there done that. I would however support powder coating the signature TTS gas cap, that’s a tasteful modification.
If NSU isn’t the most recognizable name to you in German car history, you’re not alone. Few remember one of the more creative producers of cars and motorcycles out of Germany, notably, NSU developed the first Wankel rotary engines, pioneered small car designs, and notably developed the first real aerodynamic family sedan in the often praised Ro80. Additionally, the Prinz-based TT and TTS would offer a practical and very sporty package to the masses in Germany; sound familiar, Mr. 02? Imported in small numbers, there are still a few examples floating around, though show up at most shows and you’ll leave many scratching their heads. Today there is a beautiful example of one of the less-celebrated models available, a pristine Prinz 1000:
Model: Prinz 1000
Engine: 1.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 61,000 mi
Price: $20,000 Buy It Now
You are bidding on an absolutely unique 1966 NSU Prinz 1000 with a four synchronized speed transmission. It was repaired, customized and updated in 2009. It was stored until October 2012 when it was registered and driving it since, taking it out only in nice weather. The engine is standard 998 cc but with a TTS camshaft, manifold and Solex carburetors. TT Oil cooler. It is also updated with a Bosch 65 Amp alternator, Bosch Solid state ignition, remote oil filter, oil thermostat and oil temperature gauge. Priming electric fuel pump. Custom header. The compression ratio is standard 1:7.5 allowing the use of regular gasoline. The car is extremely desirable, people are taking pictures of it every where I go. However, I do not claim the car is perfect and the buyer should have expectation of typical minor blisters, chips and small scratches. Seller makes no guarantee, or warranty expressed or implied of this car, it will be sold “as is”. The buyer is responsible for all shipping charges. Please feel free to e-mail me any questions you may have or call : 954-296-1374.
If you’re looking for a unique alternative to the BMW crowd and a trick piece of German history, look no further. This car has been resto-modded for better performance without sacrificing the outward originality of the package. The TT and TTS components are both desirable and rare. With lots of work completed, there are certain to be many less headaches than your normal NSU acquisition would entail. Some people really like standing out from the crowd, and what better way is there to do that than with a small red rear-engined German oddity? With microcars all the rage, this car seems well and competitively priced compared to clean 2002s and is a bargain compared to what an kind of Isetta you’d end up with. When it comes to NSUs in the U.S., they don’t get much better than the condition of this car.