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    BRIGHT IDEAS DRIVEN: MK3 TTS ROAD TEST #2016
    Words Jarkle / Photography Chris Wallbank

    MILLTEK TTS 382bhp and big fun

    The Mk3 TTS is a great looking and highly capable car – but with some simple upgrades it can become so much more…

    The #Audi-TT is a deceptively brilliant car with a flexible range of engines and transmissions that mean it really can be all things to all men. Think about it, there are very few sports cars that can claim to be every bit as suited to hammering around the Nürburgring as they are pottering around town, and the TT manages both of these with ease. This amazing spread of abilities became more apparent with the recent launch of the third generation TT, a car that managed to well and truly banish any cruel associations about it being ‘nothing more than a Golf in a frock,’ going on to sell in huge numbers – and it’s only been on forecourts for a handful of months!


    One firm with an intimate knowledge of Audi’s iconic sports car is Milltek, the builder of beautifully balanced and exceptionally sonorous exhaust systems. The TT has long been a part of their product portfolio and the team at Milltek have built up something of a reputation for churning out well modified Audis; the TTS you see here being the latest example. “It’s hard to overstate just how good a car the latest TT is in standard guise; it’s balanced, tight and pretty much the ideal sports car. Making it even better without going too far and compromising one aspect was always going to be a challenge, hence why we spent so long perfecting every aspect,” muses Steve Pound, Milltek’s MD.

    This reluctance to dive right in is more than understandable and explains why the spec of Milltek’s TTS doesn’t include a massive aftermarket turbo, air suspension or wheels big enough to make a West Coast rapper blush. It’s devoid of these things because fitting them would almost certainly push it in one set direction, compromising its overall capabilities and rendering it a less capable car in the process.

    Don’t for a minute go thinking that this car is all show and no go though, because that’s far from the case. Key to this TT’s renewed performance is the Milltek system that now snakes its way out from the engine bay and under the car, before splitting into two and ending with an attractive twin tailpipe design. Even this could have been taken to extremes far too easily. Milltek could’ve opted for a massive diameter pipe with no baffles and boxes, an exhaust that would’ve been the automotive equivalent of tying sticks of dynamite to a bull’s horns, showing it a red rag, then chucking it into the proverbial china shop, before locking the door.

    “Making an exhaust that bellows and makes a huge noise, no matter how much throttle is being applied, is all too easy,” explains Steve with a chuckle. “Making one that actually suits the character of the car that it’s attached to, well, that’s a bit more involved!”

    The system consists of a 3-inch downpipe, high-flow sports cat, a Milltek Sport cat-back system, plus the previously mentioned twin tailpipes. The system manages to tread the fine line between sporty and fabulously vocal, with the resulting noise being aggressive without ever becoming intrusive. Put simply, you’ll have no problem using Milltek’s TTS on a daily basis, and quiet Sunday trips to the supermarket won’t suddenly give way to a noise not heard since the late ’90s, when the likes of the Subaru Impreza and Sapphire Cosworth were kings of the UK scene.

    The system also provides proven exhaling benefits for the deep-breathing inline four that dominates the space between the Milltek TT’s wings. What Milltek don’t know about performance enhancing systems really isn’t worth knowing, and the one strapped to the TT embodies a good portion of their hardwon knowhow. The high-flow sports cat is particularly impressive as it allows the TT to stay on the right side of UK emissions regulations without strangling performance or sound.

    That same four pot also features a VWRacing R600 intake and a Stage 2 APR remap. Both fall squarely into the ‘quality over quantity’ bracket, and both offer up demonstrable performance benefits thanks to their clever design and the careful nature in which they’ve been applied.

    The Volkswagen Racing cold air intake is especially trick, and features a double sized filter housed in a giant air box, the latter fed via a pair of carefully developed inlet tracts. The material inside the box itself is equally sophisticated thanks to a triple layer of TriFoam, a substance that’s commonly found inside the airboxes of F1 teams. Not only does the ‘domed’ design of this material provide increased surface area and contamination capturing properties, it provides even more airflow with lower restriction. The result is a high volume and unbroken supply of cold air funnelled directly from the atmosphere (i.e from outside the TT’s engine bay) to the engine itself, and as all good engineers know, cooler air in the cylinder equates to more power and more bang for your buck.

    “It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking that all induction kits do the same job and therefore are the same, but that’s just not the case,” explains Steve. “We were careful to match the induction tract to the car and its eventual purpose and rough power output. The R600 is good for 600bhp, so we’re more than covered for the foreseeable future!”

    Those three innocuous sounding changes have left the Milltek TTS able to call on a thumping 382bhp of power and 387lb/ft of torque, but there’s far more at play here than mere grunt. Kneel down to inspect the front brake setup and you’ll be greeted by the welcome sight of eight-piston Brembo calipers and imposing 362mm drilled and grooved discs, with Project Mu high friction brake pads sandwiched in between. Not only does this give the TT the stopping power to match its newly hiked power output, it does so without making hauling it to a stop in any way daunting or ‘snatchy.’ Partly that’s down to the brakes themselves, but the fact that the whole car has been expertly corner weighted and balanced certainly doesn’t hurt either.


    We’ve said it before and doubtless we’ll say it again, but building a car like this TT, one that subtly balances performance with everyday, real world usability, takes a staggering amount of thought, planning and considered execution. As we’ve already said, humongous aftermarket turbo setups and other bolt-ons associated with massive power projects are notable by their absence and for once this is a good thing. Driving this car now is an utter joy, a brilliant way to get ‘back to basics’ and to re-connect with what makes hustling a well tuned car such an involving experience. The addition of the Milltek system, Stage 2 remap and VWRacing inlet lends the TTS a hit of extra aggression without ever becoming intimidating or intrusive, while the extra power that these modifications have gifted the car with is available across the rev range.


    A few short minutes behind the wheel are all that’s needed to confirm that Steve, the Milltek team and the guys at Bilstein, APR and VWRacing have more than delivered. Perhaps the ultimate proof of the transformation that’s been wrought is just how balanced everything is, and in this respect it doesn’t feel like a tuned car, certainly not in the traditional sense. Power comes in smoothly and all 382bhp is usable; the exhaust note is sporting at idle and raucous when you want it to be – i.e. when you’re pushing on – and there’s a pleasing induction ‘roar’ to be had when you plant the throttle. It handles well, (the comprehensive corner weighting and balancing evidently having worked a treat), and those beefy Brembos make short work of any excess speed carried into the corners. In short, it’s the ultimate all round, fast road car, one that’s utterly complete in every respect. Impressive? Sure. Fun? Absolutely!

    SPECIFICATION / #Milltek / #Audi-TTS / #Audi-TTS-Milltek / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #Audi-TT-8S / #Audi-TTS-8S / #Quattro

    Engine 1984cc DOHC16v 82.5 x 92.8 bore x stroke and 9.3:1 compression ratio, OE single turbo system, #Volkswagen-Racing-R600 cold air intake with high capacity air box, twin air induction tracts and fullyenclosed filter housing, Stage 2 #APR-ECU remap, #Milltek large bore downpipe and hi-flow sports cat, stainless steel cat-back system with twin tail pipes
    Power 382bhp and 387lb/ft
    Transmission OE six-speed manual with #Quattro four-wheel drive system
    Chassis OE suspension setup with springs and dampers, #Brembo eight piston front calipers with 362mm drilled and grooved discs, #Project-Mu brake pads, OE alloy wheels
    Interior Complete Nappa leather OE interior
    Contacts Millteksport www.millteksport.com / #APR www.goapr.co.uk

    Milltek TTS is a lot of fun Virtual cockpit

    Opposite page: Quad pipes look great / Left: Interior very well equipped.

    “...the resulting noise being aggressive without being intrusive”
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    2015 Audi TTS ABT-tuned TTS with 370ps / #ABT-Sportsline

    RAPID RESPONSE

    ABT Sportsline is always quick to the draw when a new car is launched, and their package for the new TTS transforms it into a 370ps TT RS chaser…

    Then latest generation TT has got off to a flying start. Strong sales have been reported and the more angular and aggressive design has found favour with a broad range of customers. We are eagerly anticipating what the RS model will bring – after all the Mk2 was one of the most loved and capable TTs of all time. Part of the appeal is the highly tunable and deliciously sonorous five-cylinder unit. Fortunately, this fantastic unit will be carried over to the new RS – where it will join the new RS3 and RS Q3 as engine of choice.

    But for now, we have the TTS to keep us satisfied, and to be fair, it’s a cracking car in its own right. The 2.0 TFSI makes a very credible 310ps and 380Nm, which imbues the cool coupe with Boxster worrying grunt. But, if you’d like to liberate a bit more potential from this strong unit, then the team at ABT Sportsline may have the solution.

    Their new ABT Power package for the TTS takes power up to a very lively 370ps and 460Nm This is achieved via the ABT Power engine recalibration, which is a simple plug and play affair.

    It’s fully tested, and even benefits from ABT’s comprehensive in house warranty. To fully exploit the potential of the potent fourpot, an ABT exhaust system including sports cats and uprated down pipe, helps free up significant power. When you consider these are all, simply bolt-on upgrades, the power increase is even more impressive.

    As ever, ABT can supply the full package for the TT, depending on how far you want to go.

    ABT upgrades are certainly not the cheapest out there, but what you get are very well-developed, high quality performance enhancements that offer peace of mind. ABT has also worked closely with Audi for many years, so their upgrades are about as close to factory approved as you’re ever likely to get (until Audi decides to produce its own upgrades – watch this space!). It’s interesting to see how far things have progressed over recent years.

    It doesn’t seem long ago that the 4.2 V8 R8 was considered a fast car, but now, a humble TT can achieve similar power with some very simple upgrades to its relatively small capacity 2.0 engine. The rest of the TT can be enhanced to complement to the power increase. Sports springs and ARBs are also added, together with wheel spacers to widen the track – which also happens to look great. ABT can also offer a range of new wraps, in gloss, matt, pearl or metallic for that truly individual look to your TTS. A range of wheels are available in 18 through to 20in, depending on what your tastes are.

    The exterior additions are subtle, but effective with a lower front splitter adding some drama to the nose, while the rear wing finishes of the back end a treat. Until the RS arrives next year, the S is the most powerful TT we’ve got, and the upgrades from ABT show just what can be achieved, although of course, there’s a lot more potential to be unleashed. Watch this space.

    “The rest of the TT can be enhanced to complement the power upgrades”

    Above: Subtle additions make a big impact on the TTS Left: 2.0 TFSI engine is highly tunable.

    Above: ABT mirror caps are neat.


    SPECIFICATION #2015 #Audi-TTS-ABT / ABT / #Audi-TTS / #Audi-TT / #Audi-TT-8S / #Audi-TTS-8S / #Audi-TTS-ABT-8S
    ENGINE 2.0 #TFSI , #ABT-Power-ECU recalibration, ABT performance exhaust system with four black tailpipes, with Y-pipe and high-flow cat.
    POWER 370PS and 460Nm
    TRANSMISSION 7-speed S-tronic
    BRAKES Stock rear and front
    SUSPENSION ABT sports springs -30/35mm, ABT ARBs
    WHEELS AND TYRES 20in #ABT alloys with 255/30 Continental tyres
    EXTERIOR ABT front splitter, mirror covers, rear wing, rear skirt insert, wrapped Interior ABT floor mats, Alcantara steering wheel, seats, centre console and other trim parts, LED door lights with ABT logo
    TUNING CONTACTS ABT Sportsline www.abt-sportsline.com Richter Sport www.richtersport.co.uk

    ABT’s focus is on high-quality, subtle upgrades – just the ticket.

    “High quality performance enhancements”
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