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  • Addictive soundtrack from engine and exhaust; rapid rolling acceleration; capable handling; traction; design still strong
  • Outclassed dynamically by the Porsche Cayman that also rides far more comfortably; fidgety, crashy suspension; pricing on the high side

OUR RATING
7 / 10



Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review

With two doors, all-wheel drive and a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the Audi TT RS harks back to the company’s famous Quattro of the 1980s.

Audi named its performance division, as well as its AWD systems, in deference to that legendary road and rally car, though it wasn’t until 2009 that Quattro developed an RS version of the iconic TT coupe.

In 2013 the word Plus has been added to the Audi TT RS name to signify an increase in power, pace and features.

Kilowatts and Newton metres both increase by 15 for the 2.5-litre direct injection turbo five-cylinder via tweaked inlet manifold and boost pressure, lifting power and torque to 265kW and 465Nm, respectively.

That peak power is maintained 200 revs higher at 6700rpm (from 5500rpm), with torque delivered across a marginally wider range, between 1650 and 5400rpm.

It doesn’t increase fuel use, with consumption remaining at a respectable 8.5 litres per 100km.

We have to be honest and say we’d need a back-to-back test with the pre-upgraded TT RS to point out any notable differences, but on paper Audi says the coupe is two-tenths quicker – accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds (using launch control).

Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review

Top speed is raised 30km/h to 280km/h, even if this is really of relevance only to fortunate German buyers who can use those marvellous autobahns.

That makes it the second-fastest showroom Audi after the R8 supercar.

And what we can tell you is that the Audi TT RS, thanks to the engine’s brilliant flexibility and chubby torque, is a car that is entertainingly rapid not just off the mark but pretty much through whichever of the seven gears you’re in.

The TT RS was originally available only with a manual gearbox but is now standard only with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto first introduced on the model in late 2010.

There are the usual occasions of hesitation in stop-start driving, but otherwise the transmission is terrific for its faster-than-a-human gearchanges.

Selecting S with the gearlever will bring sportier shift points, though keen drivers will surely use the paddleshift levers for open-road blasts.

There’s a multi-layered sound to accompany the effortless speed of the TT RS. The five-cylinder emits a delightful warble if you manually select gears and keep the Audi in lower gears; accelerate hard and the engine growls and the exhaust – with an active flap opening on generous throttle applications to amplify the effect – parps and crackles like you’re in a pint-sized NASCAR racer.

Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review

It’s an addictive tune that makes the Audi TT RS one of those find-a-tunnel-and-lower-the-windows type of cars.

The flagship TT is fun to drive in other ways, too, though look away now if you want to read that the RS’s underpinnings are as heroic as its drivetrain.

It’s not that the TT RS doesn’t handle impressively for a front-engined car, but it can’t match the delicate, near-perfect balance of key rivals such as the Porsche Cayman or Lotus Exige that position their engines between the driver and rear axle.

In quick cornering sequences, the weight of the engine over the nose is felt in the way the TT RS starts to push wide earlier and shift its body more noticeably in S-bends compared with mid-engined rivals.

The steering, too, is good but not great. Positives are its directness and accuracy; negatives that lessen the involvement are a shortage of feedback and weighting that feels overly light at times.

This is still a fast, nimble car on a windy road, however, with additional confidence supplied by generous tyre grip, and outstanding traction out of corners delivered by the all-wheel-drive system that will keep competitors honest – and even left behind – if conditions are less than dry.

Magnetic Ride Control continues to be standard, allowing the driver to stiffen the suspension at the press of a button (on the centre console) – which solidifies particles in the shock absorber fluid.

Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review
Audi TT RS Review

It’s best to harden the dampers on smoother roads only and enjoy the extra give on bumpier surfaces when MRC is not engaged.

Neither suspension mode, however, prevents the Audi TT RS from fidgeting and crashing around urban and suburban roads, or being consistently unsettled on freeways. The Quattro division has frequently performed suspension miracles on RS versions of regular Audis (such as the RS4), but here the performance arm hasn’t been able to overcome one of the TT’s common flaws.

A Cayman drives like an S-Class limo in comparison.

And the rival Porsche’s interior is also more luxurious, though to be fair the current-generation TT came out in 2007 and an all-new model is due in 2014.

The TT’s cabin design has actually aged well, as Audi interiors tend to do.

There are still plenty of high-quality surface textures, and it’s more on the technology front where the coupe most betrays its age with the absence of today’s must-have features such as Bluetooth audio streaming.

The sports seats have the requisite bolstering for g-force-generating cornering antics, though there’s an elevation to the cushion that means the TT doesn’t quite deliver as perfect a driving position as the Cayman.

Audi TT RS Review

The steering wheel is perfectly sized if not perfectly shaped (we think flat-bottom steering wheels work best in Formula One).

Externally, there are more touches that distinguish the RS from other TT models. These include the look-at-me large rear wing (claimed to generate genuine downforce), black oval exhaust pipes, anthracite diamond-pattern mesh grille, and black-and-red five-blade 19-inch wheels.

The latter were fitted to our test car but are a no-cost option alternative to ‘titanium look’ blade-style alloys of the same size.

Other additions that are extra include LED interior lighting ($300), Bose audio ($1300), extended leather package ($960), and pearl-effect paint ($1377), all of which shifted the price of our car from the $139,900 starting point to $143,837.

In terms of bang for your buck, the $98,400 TTS coupe is arguably a more convincing case, while you can have the Porsche Cayman S that’s superior in virtually every area except soundtrack for the same money.

But for buyers looking for the fastest version of one of the world’s most desirable coupes, there’s plenty of ownership satisfaction to be derived from the Audi TT RS.


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AUDI TT BREAKDOWN

Audi TT RS Review
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  • pro346

    Cool looking wheels not really something you would see on a production car

  • Phil

    such a shame that the easiest to live with is the base model. Audi really should look to offer the TT with the base model’s ride quality but the poke of the V6. I can understand the uncompromising nature of the TTRS, it’s the middle of the range I don’t get.

    • Dominique Vøn Hütch

      What V6 mang? I think they dropped it a while back.

      Ne waysz this version looks hella schweet and will be rarer than than the Cayman pandemic we’ll undoubtedly soon see. Bit of understeer, fidgety ride, ageless interior blah blah blah its the same with every Audi/Audi review ever.

      ))) Left field ——– This TTrs vs an Evolution X MR SST hmmmm. Money no option the Audi but the Mitsu still prob is a nice alternative, although you cant argue with 4.1 secs to 100 and those red wheels, they look f-ing awesome.

      • Phil

        yeah, the V6 stopped 3 years ago. The 2.0 TFSI is ok, but your choices are 155kw or 200 with the TTS. The 184kw of the VR6 along with its character made for a nice middle ground. Sounded good too.

        • Dominique Vøn Hütch

          It does indeed, I know it well it’s cousin is in my superb wagon – closer than cousins in fact. Even better with a less restrictive exhaust, above 5k rpm.

  • Gus

    I think tiff needal was spot on when he said ‘Audi.. bringing understeer to the masses’ haha

  • pixxxels

    I really don’t like the styling of the current TT. Its just not a cohesive design – everything clashes and it looks messy from practically every angle. I reckon its aged more than the first-gen. Wheels are cool though.

  • marc

    RS?

Audi TT Specs

RS PLUS : 2.5L TURBO MPFI - 7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D COUPE
Car Details
Make
AUDI
Model
TT
Variant
RS PLUS
Series
8J MY13
Year
2013
Body Type
2D COUPE
Seats
4
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
TURBO 5
Max. Torque
465Nm @  1650rpm
Max. Power
265kW @  5500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
182.8W/kg
Bore & Stroke
82.5x92.8mm
Compression Ratio
10.0
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
7 SP AUTO DIRECT SHIFT
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.2
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1450
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1342mm
Length
4198mm
Width
1842mm
Ground Clearance
105mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
9x19
Rear Rim Size
9x19
Front Tyres
255/35 R19
Rear Tyres
255/35 R19
Wheel Base
2468
Front Track
1555
Rear Track
1546
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Power front seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, 19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Electronic Differential Lock
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Heated Front Seats
Driver
Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
Premium Sound System, Television
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-I-14
Country of Origin
GERMANY