:10 Jonny Lieber­man: Se­nior Fea­tures Edi­tor Is there a cooler en­gine on planet earth than the TT RS’ burp­ing, snarling, turbo five-cylin­der?”

Motor Trend (USA) - - 2018 Best Driver’s Car - Words Frank Markus

Talk about a con­trast in style— Amer­ica’s Corvette blus­ters with noise, tire smoke, fear, and slightly dis­ap­point­ing track num­bers, while Ger­many’s tech­ni­cal Audi TT RS de­liv­ers as­sured com­pe­tence, sen­si­ble un­der­steer, and sur­pris­ingly quick lap times. Mul­ti­ple ed­i­tors on Route 198 won­dered aloud whether all 400 horses were hitched up and pulling (an­swer: yep). Af­ter his lap­ping ses­sion, Randy Pobst was shocked to hear he’d run within about a sec­ond of the Porsche 718 Cay­man GTS “sweep ve­hi­cle” (page 43).

Although its lap times were quicker than they felt from the driver’s seat (within 1.5 sec­onds of the As­ton and al­most 4.0 sec­onds ahead of the nex­tquick­est Alfa), they’d have been quicker still with bet­ter brakes and more per­for­mance-ori­ented all-wheel-drive tun­ing. “The car wouldn’t stop,” Pobst re­called. “There wasn’t enough bite, and the pedal was kind of soft. I think I lost a lot of time be­cause I didn’t trust the brakes. It needs more power to the rear wheels to bal­ance it.” He also found the shock damp­ing in­ad­e­quate and gen­er­ally felt the RS badges wrote checks this chas­sis wasn’t cash­ing. “When I see ‘RS’ on an Audi, I have re­ally high ex­pec­ta­tions. The TT RS is a huge dis­ap­point­ment. The com­pro­mises for com­fort slow it down on track.”

Our judges agreed. Chris Wal­ton wished the Audi was more amenable to lift-throt­tle ro­ta­tion. Jethro Bov­ing­don con­curred: “The bal­ance is one-di­men­sional with al­most zero throt­tle ad­justa­bil­ity.” But Mark Rechtin

found this trait re­as­sur­ing. “Once you set your steer­ing an­gle,” he said, “a grenade couldn’t throw it off its line.” Scott Evans pos­tu­lated that its “su­per-con­sis­tent be­hav­ior and re­sponse” would be “per­fect for be­gin­ners.” Still, in a head-to-head, Evans quipped: “Would I buy this over a Cay­man at the same price? Not a chance.”

Ev­ery­body loved the Ur-quat­trorem­i­nis­cent five-banger’s snarl, though Erick Aya­pana wished “the vol­ume was cranked to 8—it’s at about 3.”

In short, the TT RS left us all want­ing more … some­thing. “It doesn’t ac­tu­ally need more power,” Ed Loh said. “But it needs to feel more pow­er­ful, sharper, more di­rected. Where’s the dan­ger?”

MULTITASKER This com­pact cock­pit looks su­per clean by in­cor­po­rat­ing HVAC switches in the vents and the in­fo­tain­ment screen in the main in­stru­ment clus­ter. Bravo.

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