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.
APR’s own Keith Lucas was kind enough to put him up in his own house while the R&D work took place. Crouch says the team got the hardware to bolt up in a day and a half. Although APR had already developed similar systems for the S3 and other FSI-based engines, the challenge was calibrating the TTS ECU for U.S.-grade fuel. The car looked like it was ready to drive home, but more time needed to be spent mapping new fuel and ignition curves, as well as monitoring exhaust gas temperatures to ensure the calibration changes made were safe for the life of the turbocharger. All told, the car was at APR headquarters for about six weeks. In the meantime, Crouch flew back home to San Francisco to await the build’s completion. When it was finally finished, he returned to Alabama to pick the car up, then drove from Alabama down to New Orleans, where he met his wife, who had been visiting family in New York. The two then made their homeward trek on an equally epic drive back across the United States.
We are completely and totally envious of that situation.
The APR kit is centered on a GT2871R charger, which is attached to an inconel exhaust manifold and feeds off an Evolution Motorsport (EVOMS) intake and exhales through the aforementioned Forge DV. All fueling was engineered by APR, and an APR front-mount intercooler chills the intake charge. The exhaust downpipe was replaced with an APR divorced downpipe, a tract designed to reduce turbulent exhaust gas flow over the turbine to enable quicker peak boost pressures. The downpipe dumps into a custom-built Meisterschaft GTC-valved exhaust with twin dual-exit titanium tips. Initial power estimates for the Stage 3 build are put at upwards of 400 hp. The system is controlled via an HPA Motorsports stage 3 DSG/S tronic tune, which Crouch says offers the driver a more controlled shifting experience even more akin to using a true clutch pedal-and-gear lever manual.
Other non-APR components include a Neuspeed Power Pulley and turbo discharge pipe, Black Forest Industries motor mounts, and Okada Projects Plasma Direct ignition coils, which represent a spark amplifier system to match the TTS’s new high-power turbo setup.
Crouch’s final task in the project built was putting together a custom, stealth audio system. For this, he employed Audison’s VOCE line, which he felt offered good value at a reasonable price point. The sound system integrates seamlessly into the Audi MMI system by way of a BitOne DSP. The rear seats were taken out, their plus-two configuration not of any great use to Crouch’s ends anyway, so that he could integrate the audio and would have room to stow his video equipment. As he tells it, the car came out 20 pounds lighter even with all the extra audio installed. The system includes dual amplifiers, component speakers and a 12-inch subwoofer sunk into a custom port on the rear passenger side, where a small amount of sheetmetal was clipped away so the speaker’s basket could fit inside a custom fiberglass pod. The stealth install was performed by Sound Innovations in Hayward, Calif.
Better still, Crouch can use the entire back half of the TTS to organize his video gear. His partner in the film world is Kata Bags, and he built a custom organizer rack that plugs into the trunk area to hold his video making equipment, which includes his bags, a pair of Panasonic cameras, assorted Panasonic and Olympus glass, Oconnor O-Box and O-Grips DLSR rigging, Manfrotto tri- and monopods, a Promax crane jib, Eazy Dolly, Litepanels LED lighting, and an assortment of Rode microphones. So not only does it go like hell, but this TTS is a virtual rolling studio. Crouch has even picked up work from some of the various vendors and shops he’s worked with over the course of the project, the entirety of which has come to fruition in just under a year.
Overall, it’s been a win-win situation for everyone involved. You can check out some of the owner’s video work at his website, fourthirdsfilms.com.
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, only available here in the TTS.
2010 Audi TTS
Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive
2.0-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve, turbocharged. APR Stage 3 turbo (GT2871), APR front-mount intercooler, APR divorced downpipe, EVOMS V-Intake, Neuspeed turbo discharge pipe, Neuspeed power pulley, Meisterschaft custom-built GTC valved quad exhaust with titanium tips, Black Forest Industries motor mount set, Okada Projects ignition coils, Forge Motorsport oil catch can (prototype), Forge DV and spacer, J-Caps Billet aluminum cap covers (oil, coolant and dipstick)
Six-speed S tronic automated manual, HPA Stage 3 DSG tune
KW Variant 3 coilovers, Neuspeed rear antiroll bar, Neuspeed rear antiroll links
Brembo six-piston monoblock calipers with two-piece 355mm Type 3 rotors (f), Adams Rotors Type 3-style rotors (r), Hawk ceramic brake pads, Neuspeed stainless steel lines
Wheels and Tires
HRE C93 alloys, 9.5x19 (with staggered lips)
Goodyear Eagle F1, 245/35
Audi Accessories matte aluminum sprayed TTS front lip, Audi Accessories two-tone fixed rear wing, Laser Veil coated headlights and front end
AEM Tru-Boost gauge, Valentine One with remote display, Cheetah 100 (redlight/speed camera detector), Laser Veil stealth coating, Viper Smart Start, Viper HD 5902 security and remote start system, Audison BitOne DSP (digital signal processor) integrated into the OEM head unit, Audison SR1-Dk mono amplifier, Audison SR4 stereo amplifier, Audison VOCE three-way component set (front), Audison AV12 subwoofer (sunk into the rear passenger armrest area), Cascade Audio sound deadening mat, Kata Bags custom divider tray
Peak Power: 400 hp (APR est.)