Audi’s fabulous five
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.
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