Not so long ago, Audi was happy to pose as the style leader. What the cars lacked in driving finesse, they made up for in haute couture. They were the automotive equivalent of Paris Hilton's dog — a neat accessory, but not much good at walking.

And no car epitomized this image more than the original 1998 Audi TT. It looked iconic, but its Bauhaus-inspired looks wrote a check that its VW Golf-derived chassis couldn't cash.

But in recent years, Audi has sought to change this image with the second-generation TT that was launched two years ago, a more focused driver's tool. Now this car has become the first TT to wear Audi's "S" badge. On sale here this November as both a coupe and a roadster, the 2009 Audi TTS is powered by a 265-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and it's meant to go toe-to-toe with the BMW Z4 3.0, Mercedes SLK350 and even (whisper it) the Porsche Cayman and Boxster.

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