Audi’s fab­u­lous five

The Advertiser - Motoring - - PRESTIGE AUDI TT RS - CRAIG DUFF

Pro­pelled by a world-beat­ing en­gine, the TT RS is fuss-free in the city — and a roar­ing beast on the track

BUD­GET-priced su­per­cars don’t roll into town ev­ery day but thanks to Aus­tralia’s ap­petite for per­for­mance cars, Audi has brought two to the party. The TT RS road­ster will join the coupe in show­rooms for those with a need for speed and at­ten­tion.

Tak­ing care of the head­turn­ing is the sharp styling of the TT — one of the few Audi de­signs that is eas­ily iden­ti­fied by non-car types. Its new five­cylin­der turbo en­gine per­forms dou­ble du­ties: pro­vid­ing the mo­ti­va­tion in con­cert with a mag­nif­i­cent en­gine note, re­plete with a but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole to pump up the vol­ume around town.

Prices start at $137,900 for the coupe and $141,900 for the con­vert­ible. Clock­ing less than four sec­onds for the 0-100km/h sprint puts this duo firmly in the realm of su­per­car sta­tus, aided by a launch con­trol set-up that, un­like some ri­vals, doesn’t re­quire check­ing the owner’s man­ual to per­form the right se­quence of ac­tions.

In the TT RS, se­lect the soft­ware’s sporti­est set­tings, stand on both pedals, raise the left foot — and hang on as the seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel-drive ad­he­sion takes care of the rest.

Equip­ment in the RS in­cludes LED head­lamps, 20-inch al­loy wheels in three styles, sports ex­haust, mag­net­i­cally ad­justable dampers, dig­i­tal ra­dio, sat­nav and An­droid/Ap­ple mir­ror­ing.

The con­vert­ible adds a popup wind-blocker, with neck­warm­ing vents built into the front seats.

The front pas­sen­ger is lit­er­ally a pas­sen­ger in the TT RS — there is no cen­tral in­fo­tain­ment screen for them to op­er­ate. The dig­i­tal driver’s dis­play han­dles all the du­ties here, which Audi says be­fits such a driver-ori­ented car. The Com­fort is a rel­a­tive term and in the case of the TT RS it’s skewed to­wards be­ing harsh but fair. There’s enough sus­pen­sion play in the com­fort and auto set­tings to take the edges off the ruts while the dy­namic mode ties things down tight. The faster you go, the bet­ter the sus­pen­sion seems to work.

And this sus­pen­sion needs to work to keep up with the forces the RS can bring to bear. The 2.5-litre is a new it­er­a­tion of the mill that has won the past five in­ter­na­tional en­gine of the year awards and has been tuned for 294kW/480Nm.

The seven-speed auto up­shifts early in town to make the Audi a fuss-free city cruiser.

Take it to Phillip Is­land — Audi prod­uct plan­ner Peter Struck­wicke says a lot of TT RS buy­ers “love to track their car” — and the en­gine evolves into a roar­ing beast that’s pro­jec­tile­quick and happy to run to the 7000rpm red-line. It is easy to steer, the brakes are stu­pen­dous and it is all done with lit­tle ap­par­ent ef­fort.

The all-wheel drive lays on max­i­mum grip at ev­ery oc­ca­sion, though it comes at the ex­pense of the en­ter­tain­ment fac­tor — the car re­fuses to shunt enough grunt to the rear to let the tail wag. The em­pha­sis is on pre­ci­sion rather than fun.

VER­DICT

The TT RS is faster — and eas­ier to drive fast — than any com­pa­ra­bly priced car. If your def­i­ni­tion of the best is based on sprint times, you’ve found your car. Just be pre­pared for a big­ger fight than the spec sheet sug­gests if you run across a Porsche Cay­man on your track day.

Audi TT RS coupe and, bot­tom, road­ster

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