While we always thought the TT was a slick-looking and fairly sporty set of wheels, Audi’s TTS iteration was the first TT that really, truly, felt like an actual sports car while driving one. A 265-hp K04 turbo engine, matched with Quattro all-wheel drive and a lightning-fast S tronic dual-clutch manu-matic transmission, made it a blast to drive in every sense.
California Bay Area resident Jason Crouch felt exactly these same sentiments. He’s not new to the project car game, having previously built projects based on a Saab 900 and more recently an Audi A3 outfitted with a shaved and molded Abt body kit, which gave the car a stylistic nod to the European-market S3. His experience with that car got him hooked on Audi, but left him craving more performance.
If I could have bought an S3 for its engine I would have, because I wanted something with a tighter wheelbase, Crouch says. The look of the Mk II TTS sat better with me than the Mk I TT did, and I think it has more R8 DNA in its bloodstream. Aesthetics were big, but I wanted all-wheel drive, the dual-clutch gearbox, and the 265-hp variant of the 2.0T, which is only available here in the TTS.
Crouch, who is a videographer and video editor by trade, chronicled his Audi’s build in a series of online Webisodes filmed specifically for the Internet. Which could make this the most famous and widely exposed TTS in the world.
And the build itself fits in nicely with the OEM plus method of modification that we’ve documented in the past. I like to do OEM-type mods, says Crouch. Like a European version, or an RS version. That translates into tasteful mods performed by reputable companies, the sorts of performance and cosmetic tweaks you might find from the factory.
The first item on Crouch’s list was contacting Forge Motorsport, one of the only operations that had pieces that would carry over from the 2.0T to the TTS’s K04 turbo engine, like a prototype oil catch can and diverter valve. He also made a drive down to Neuspeed in Camarillo, Calif., where Aaron Neumann and crew painstakingly test-fitted their own components to see what could be adapted to the project.
One of the more crucial aspects of the performance project build in Crouch’s mind, a point he revisited again and again over the phone, was vehicle stance. To him, it was critical to get the chassis settled over the custom HRE alloys in a proper manner. Using aftermarket components with the Audi Magnetic Ride can cause problems with the system, throwing fault codes and fighting with an aesthetically pleasing ride height. According to Crouch, using KW Suspension Variant 3 coilovers is the only option.
No one else had come up with a solution to be able to put coilovers on the car. KW came out with these cool little modules that form a looping circuit to tell the car the active suspension is still active, therefore avoiding any code errors. Those modules are similar to others we’ve experienced with other active-damping systems, like BMW M’s EDC. The KWs have been paired with a Neuspeed rear antiroll bar fitted on adjustable Neuspeed links.
Crouch also heard through his networking that APR was looking for a development TTS to develop its own Stage 3 turbo upgrade for that platform. The problem was that Crouch was on the Left Coast and APR is in Alabama. So he made the drive and chronicled the resulting epic road trip for his webisode series.