What does it take to make a truly great sports car? Is it all about looks? Perhaps it’s the huge horsepower number?

For me a sports car needs one thing – balance.

Really, what is the point of having a car with so much power that it requires numerous electronic nannies just to keep it on the road?

How fun is it to worry constantly about how much throttle is too much every time you enter a corner?

I am not saying that huge horsepower cars are not a thrill to drive, but they are so quick and powerful that it is only safe to fully enjoy one on a track.

But for the average driver on the average road I think that less is sometimes more. Just look at how successful the Mazda Miata is. That success comes from a balance between the chassis and the amount of power the engine puts out.

Audi is taking this principle to heart by introducing a new smaller and less powerful engine to the TT Coupé and Roadster. The 1.8L TFSI engine makes 180 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This torque is available throughout the rev range of 1,250 – 5,000 rpm.

If you think that isn’t enough power, consider this; the TT Coupé will do the run from 0 – 60 km/h in 6.9 seconds with a 6-speed manual and will top-out at 241 km/h.

The other nice thing about a smaller engine is the fewer required fuel stops. The TT Coupé is estimated to return 32 mpg or 7.3 l/100 km city and  56 mpg or 4.2 l/100 km highway.

By taking advantage of the Audi TT’s lightweight construction and sporty handling, the new entry level engine should please anyone as a daily driver or a weekend back road touring car.

The only question left is when or even if North America will see this engine option.