- Lots of power
- Virtual cockpit display is standard
- Large boot, better than rivals
- Ride isn’t too great
- Options are pricey
Add the letters ‘RS’ to any Audi and you’re sure of one hell of a ride in terms of performance. These have been added to the TT since 1999 but three generations later Audi, who are never to shy away from setting the bar, have launched their most powerful one to date.
On The Road
How does 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds sound? Clearly impressive when the Audi R8 does it in 3.2 seconds. Utilising a 2.5 TFSI petrol engine it produces 400PS with 480Nm of torque, it has a top speed of 155mph which can be extended to 174mph if you tick the right option box and it uses a seven-speed S tronic transmission, shifts are quick, seamless and get you bouncing off the red line. There are steering wheel paddles if you really want to have more control of the power, the five-cylinder harking back to the performance of the Group B rally cars over thirty years ago. Over the previous generation there is an 11% increase in power knocking 0.4 seconds off the 0-62mph time too, so much so it’s the only car in its class to get under the 4 second mark.
The ride isn’t as good as we expected; being a sporty coupe the tuned RS sport suspension is very firm so it might be worth shelling out for the optional magnetic ride which is an adaptive damping system. Even in comfort setting using the drive select system it didn’t seem to master rough road surfaces that well, it had us thrown about the car a bit making slight divots seem like potholes.
Steering is direct, pitch it into tight hairpins and it does exactly what you want it to. Body roll is minimal probably because the car is over 30 kilograms lighter than the outgoing model while the quattro all-wheel drive gives you that extra confidence without losing traction if you’re really leaning on it...and of that you will as the power on tap makes you want to push on.... If you’re looking for good braking power then ceramic front brake discs are an option.
The car we tested had 20-inch wheels so there was quite a lot of road noise and if you’re choosing the roadster version Audi have fabricated a well-insulated roof to keep out the wind and engine noise.
Of course the engine has a lively burble as you put your foot down and there’s even an exhaust sound button in the cabin to enhance it further. Music to your ears.
The Audi TT RS comes in nine paint colours with two special ones unique to the RS model, the fiery Catalunya Red and the distinctive Nardo Grey.
It even looks quick with its RS bumper, twin exhausts and fixed rear spoiler, there is the option to have an automatically extending one if you want to show off.
Matrix OLED rear lights are an option, this design technology available for the first time on an Audi.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The interior is not dissimilar to the R8; you get behind a racey, part leather, part alcantara steering wheel as seen on that model complete with red start button. The Audi Virtual Cockpit display comes as standard, the 12.3-inch screen revolutionises the instrument panel and has a specific RS view which shows g-forces, tyre pressure and torque.
What is noticeable is that there is no centre display screen so if the front passenger wants to change the radio stations or search on the navigation they have to lean over the driver to look at the screen, which is annoying so you’d better be on friendly terms with your driver...
All of the features of the virtual cockpit can be operated using the MMI Touch, the dial can be turned or you can write on the surface of it, or by the voice control.
The Fine Nappa leather sports seats have plenty of support including lumbar, although we weren’t sure about the optional seats available costing a whopping £4,000...a seat’s a seat.
Space & Practicality
It’s a roadster so don’t expect lots of space, there is good head and leg room in the front, but even though there are seats in the rear, passengers will struggle with the sloping roofline and will end up quite cramped.
The boot can hold 305-litres, the roadster 280-litres, with rear bench seat folded it increases to 712. Rivals such as the Porsche Cayman and Alfa Romeo 4c don’t come close holding just 150 and 110-litres respectively.
For those wanting the wind in their hair for a blast around in the summer, the roadster has a roof which goes up and down in 10 seconds and it can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph.
So how much does all this power cost? Starting prices are £51,800 for the coupe and £53,550 for the roadster. Considering the rival Porsche Cayman costs £52,172 and the TT RS has the best in class power then it is better value. But where it really starts to get pricey is the cost of options, we had a test car that was just short of £70,000 as it had sports seats that were £4,000! That’s when it starts to get a bit silly...
CO2 emissions are as low as 187g/km so will fall into tax band J and cost £500 for the first year and £270 annually thereafter. A combined 34.4mpg isn’t too bad, but expect to visit the fuel pump more often if you put it through its paces a lot.
The TT RS looks likely to have strong residual values, CAP Monitor predicting 43% over three years/60,000 miles.
Quality & Reliability
Audi manufacture high quality models and the TT RS is no exception to this, the mix of soft leather seats, suede on the door inlays and the carbon fibre-esque inserts give it a feel to match the power. The air vents also look stylish with digital displays on the centre of them giving you the temperature reading.
The latest generation Audi TT has been around since 2014 and there haven’t really been any major reliability issues, it won best coupe at the What Car? Car of the Year 2016 awards and has accumulated quite a few accolades since it launched. Will the TT RS be adding to it? We’ll have to see.
Safety & Security
The Audi’s latest generation TT last got tested in the Euro NCAP ratings in 2015 getting four stars with 81% for adult occupant protection and not suprisingly 68% for a child.
It does come with airbags, electronic stability control and a host of safety systems including Audi Active Lane Assist, their Parking System plus which consists of front and rear parking sensors and a multi-collision brake assist system.