by Chris Wall
The Audi TT RS is the range-topper for the TT, and the latest incarnation of the car has it looking so good with performance to match that those lusting after an R8 have now turned their sights in this direction. The addition of the RS badge to the TT means every part of it has been tailored to increase performance, handling and comfort too. The fact that the turbocharged 5-cylinder lump now churns out 400 hp that’s directed to all four wheels does help to make the desirability increase, as does the price tag that’s $100,000 less.
The RS badge on the Audi TT equates to luxury with a healthy dose of sports for the cabin of the coupe. The 2+2 seating will likely not see rear passengers often as space is limited, you up from there’s some brilliant Audi S sports seats wrapped in fine Nappa leather with diamond stitching and the RS logo embroidered in. The chunky 3-spoke, flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel screams racecar for the road, and the aluminum race inlays add to this effect. Once strapped into the race seat, you’ll be facing an electronic instrument display, one of the best you’ll see. This 12.3-inch screen is the Audi Virtual cockpit and shows all driving information you could want, and more, as a result there’s no infotainment screen in the dash, this car is all about the driver. The high centre console houses the RS shifter and controls for the screen, it’s easy to reach and intuitive to use.
This Audi TT RS is made to drive, and drive fast. This version feels lighter and more poised for action, and with 59 percent of the weight up front the rear stays planted, but the Quattro all-wheel drive system is also a main player in keeping the coupe going where you aim it. You can force sideways action of needed but the electronics will try limiting the fun. The TT RS is responsive to all inputs and makes for an involved, connected driving experience. You can have a soft, comfortable drive or you can set the suspension to bruise your kidneys, there’s a drive setting for all moods and scenarios. Leaving the transmission to shift on its own is great, but taking control and manually shifting with the steering-mounted paddles turns every drive into PlayStation game, and that’s not a bad thing. The different drive modes can be clearly felt, and comfort mode is the perfect daily setting, until something fast pulls up at the lights.
RS and performance go hand in hand, and the Audi TT RS Coupe has it in spades. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder has class-leading power rated at 400 hp with 354 lb-ft of torque and this returns absolutely awesome performance figures. The TT RS gets up to 60 mph in just 3.6-seconds, which is 0.01 second slower than the Audi R8 V10. Top speed is rated at 155 mph (174 mph on option). There’s a 7-speed dual clutch S-tronic transmission that perfectly exploits the available power and has super quick shifts that keep the power delivery linear. You do have the option of manual shifting but as good as it is, you’ll never match the speed of what the electronics can manage.
Many functions incorporated into the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual cockpit. You’ll Parking System Plus that makes use of acoustic sensors to detect objects, a rear-view camera, Audi Side Assist for blind spot warnings and Audi Connect that displays things like weather and traffic information sourced from Google Earth. An optional Bang & Olufsen audio system features 680-watts of power through 12 active speakers with illuminated speaker grille lights. Safety includes front dual-stage airbags, front thorax side airbags, knee airbags, and a Sideguard head curtain airbag and you’ll find ABS, EBD and electronic stability control among the standard safety features.
Audi RS cars really are the best of the best from the brand, and the performance, styling and features are only rivaled by a select few automakers. The Audi TT is a popular 2+2 sportster that’s been seen as a smaller, more affordable version of the R8, especially with the latest styling making it look like a baby brother. The RS version gives it almost matching performance at a much, much better price point. 400 hp with a Quattro all-wheel drive system and a dual clutch transmission means supercar-like performance at a fraction of the cost. It’s quite possibly the best of the RS cars to buy right now if you don’t need space for family members.