Audi AG is packing more punch into its diminutive TT sports car, with a new 272-hp TTS rendition set for unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

The TTS, which will hit European dealer showrooms in early summer and U.S. outlets in November (as an ’09 model), features a modified version of the TT’s direct-injected, turbocharged TFSI 2.0L gasoline engine that boasts 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque in a wide bandwidth of 2,500-5,000 rpm. Currently, the TT’s most powerful engine is the 250-hp 3.2L DOHC V-6 that delivers 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque. The standard 2.0L is rated at 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. (281 Nm) of torque.

Audi says the modified 4-cyl. will propel the TTS coupe from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in just 5.4 seconds. Convertible models are a mere two-tenths of a second slower. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).

To handle all the power and torque, Audi beefed up the engine block, cylinder head and connecting rods, although the engine remains relatively light at 337 lbs. (153 kg). The intake and exhaust systems also have been cleaned up to allow better breathing and provide “a powerful, resonant soundtrack,” the auto maker says.

Fuel efficiency averages nearly 30 mpg (7.9 L/100 km) when equipped with the S-tronic 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. That compares to a U.S. rating of 17/24 mpg (13.8-9.8 L/100 km) with the V-6.

A 6-speed manual gearbox also will be available in Europe, but not in the U.S.

The TTS incorporates a largely aluminum McPherson front suspension with lower triangular wishbones up front and a 4-link setup in the rear constructed primarily of high-strength steel.

The car also gets Audi’s magnetic ride adaptive suspension system as standard, allowing the driver to select from two settings. In “Sport” mode, the shocks stiffen and the body is lowered 0.39 ins. (1 cm) for better handling.

Audi’s permanent all-wheel-drive Quattro system is standard. The sport coupe/convertible rides on 18-in. cast aluminum wheels, but 19-in. wheels are optional.

Distinguishing characteristics include the car’s newly designed bi-xenon headlamps that include a horizontal strip of white light-emitting diodes that function as daytime running lights. A single-frame grill finished in platinum gray and accented with slender chrome strips, plus large air intakes nestled into the revised apron finish off the front end.

Large disc brakes with black-painted calipers branded with the TTS emblem call attention to the top-of-the-line model when viewed in profile.

Inside, buyers will find deep-set, heated sport seats standard with leather/Alcantara fabric in either black or black and silver, with silver-colored contrast stitching. Optional is Silk Nappa leather upholstery. The optional Impulse leather package includes black trim with silver stitching in the coupe or chennai brown trim with espresso-colored stitching in the roadster.

Gauges feature a gray background with white needles. Pedals are metal and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is flattened at the bottom for a racecar-like feel.

In Europe, the Coupe will start at €44,900 ($65,866) and the Roadster will base at €47,750 ($70,045). U.S. pricing has not been announced.

Options include a Bose sound system, an iPod connector port, LED interior lighting package and adaptive dynamic cornering lighting system.

dzoia@wardsauto.com