The quintessential sportscar
The Audi TT RS Coupé continues to punch well above its weight.
One of the most potent high-performance sportscars on the market, the ever-green Audi TT RS just keeps getting better and better.
22 July, 2020
Time has been more than kind to the Audi TT. A sensation from the very first appearance more than 20 years ago, first as a concept study at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show and then as a series production model three years later. The styling of this sports coupé captivated from the start and in each subsequent incarnation it has continued to receive popular and critical acclaim.
Along the way, the styling has been refined and reimagined with a contemporary twist to suit the changing times as well as the addition of Roadster models.
The TT has also seen significant changes under its taunt skin and the introduction of both S and RS models that have seen the iconic sportscar emerge in legitimate supercar territory. Setting styling to one side for a moment, at $134,900* the TT RS with its lightweight construction and the sublime 2.5-litre, five-cylinder powerplant represents the fastest sportscar south of $160,000 in Australia.
The iconic shape of the original design is still alive and well even more than two decades later, but in the current TT RS, it has undergone changes not unlike a mortal becoming a fully fledged superhero. The physique is certainly more muscular and the attitude far more serious than ever before. The TT RS means business, and additions such as the fixed rear deck spoiler and massive front air intakes flanking the new Singleframe grille are practical inclusions to aid in its extraordinary performance even though they also contribute to the the overall look and feel of the car.
The iconic shape of the original design is still alive and well even more than two decades later, but in the current TT RS, it has undergone changes not unlike a mortal becoming a fully fledged superhero
Inside too, Audi’s designers have captured enough of the original, minimalist design elements but not at the cost of comfort or the luxury
The face of the TT RS is far more angular and purposeful than the original, with the standard Matrix LED headlights with their sharp lines juxtaposing the more rounded, organic profile and pronounced wheel arches which again, hark back to the circular themes of the original. Along the flanks, the treatment is again more aggressive and sculpted, heading to the rear where the distinctive oval RS exhausts protrude from a completely revised rear diffuser. And of course, no TT of any stripe would be complete without the racing-style fuel filler on the right rear flank.
Inside too, Audi’s designers have captured enough of the original, minimalist design elements with the likes of the circular air vent treatment and almost aircraft cockpit feel, but not at the cost of comfort or the luxury side of things. Make no mistake that the TT RS is a purpose built sportscar, but that isn’t a euphemism for no frills – quite the opposite.
The centrepiece has to be the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit which relays everything from standard speed and revs (via the huge central tacho) to g-forces and lap times for those wanting to take their TT RS to the track. The flat-bottom wheel covered in Alcantara feels outstanding and also allows you to control a range of vehicle functions, and includes the engine start/stop button and another botton to control the drive select, allowing you to instantly change the car’s driving dynamics.
The TT RS boasts the full suite of Audi technology, from Smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and Audi phone box light wireless charging. MMI touch and natural language voice control make life even easier although nothing is out of reach of the driver. Then there’s the 680W Bang & Olufsen sound system when you want a change from the stirring sound of the five-cylinder’s unique howl.
And as captivating as the styling is, it is that powerplant, one of the most celebrated performance engines of the modern age, that really sets the TT RS apart. The 2.5-litre five-cylinder, was originally developed for motorsport and has gone through numerous refinements since the halcyon days of world rally in the 1980s to become the unit now powering the TT RS. Along the way it has picked up nine straight Engine of the Year awards and continues to be one of the sweetest sounding and most distinctive performance engines in the world. This is the same powerplant as used in the RS Q3 models, but in the smaller, lighter TT RS, it take on a new dimension.
Power output is a very healthy 294kW and 480Nm with torque available from as low as 1950rpm and right through to 5950rpm. The sprint from 0 to 100km/h takes just 3.7 seconds flat, with the seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission beautifully matched to the engine and delivering lightening shifts. Power of course goes down to all four wheels via the latest iteration of Audi’s quattro system with wheel selective torque control. The TT RS rides on RS sport suspension plus with Audi magnetic damping which sees it sit 10mm lower than a standard TT model.
Lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) construction makes for a light, nimble car that also boasts extraordinary chassis stiffness and the resulting package is blindingly fast and agile with an absolutely planted feel regardless of speed.
The 2.5-litre five-cylinder, was originally developed for motorsport and has gone through numerous refinements since the halcyon days of world rally in the 1980s
The TT RS is the most potent sportscar south of $160,000 on the Australian market – there's nothing else that can touch it
Comfortable around town. Yes. Beautifully finished inside with real world accommodation for two people up front, their luggage and rear plus-two seating. Yes. But It’s all about performance and the drive where the TT RS is concerned. This is a car that needs a race track to get anywhere near its limits, and on the road there’s really nothing it can’t deal with, with that surefooted feel. The seating position is low but the visibility not an issue and the RS sport seats provide brilliant support. Everything in the sleek cabin feels very driver focused and in reach so that hands need never leave the wheel when speeds increase and all important vehicle information can be assessed at a glance.
Progressive steering provides plenty of feedback and the responsiveness of the 2.5 TFSI is simply incredible. Power is on tap the second it’s required and in seemingly endless supply. The S tronic transmission in S mode making the perfect gear selection at precisely the right point, unlike the ham-fisted attempts by yours truly to do better using the paddles on the steering wheel – but that too would come in time with practice. And the chance to spend lots of time in the TT RS ‘practicing’ would be no hardship.
Brakes are beyond impressive, with big eight piston, 370mm discs up front and 310mm on the rear allowing you to brake from serious speed with complete confidence time after time. The overall balance and composure of the TT RS is truly inspired and even here, in the hands of one whose enthusiasm well and truly outstrips his talent, this is a car that is just utterly rewarding to drive. Yes, the TT has come a long way since that design study stole the show more than 20 years ago, and in the TT RS, that evergreen style is married to performance and a drive experience that are equally deserving of the limelight.
Learn more about the Audi TT RS
(*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)
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