Ignition

2018 AU D I TT RS T

Story and Photograph­y by Lee Bailie he latest entry in the ever-expanding roster of Audi Sport high-performanc­e vehicles,

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the 2018 TT RS embodies everything a sports coupe should be: sexy, powerful and oh so fast.

The TT RS shares the same MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform and drivetrain as another new Audi Sport entrant, the RS 3 sedan. This means a 2.5-litre turbocharg­ed inline five-cylinder engine that cranks out 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. of torque mated to a seven-speed S tronic (dual-clutch) automatic transmissi­on and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.

Like the RS 3, the TT RS is a very fast car—faster even: 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (compared to 4.1 for the RS 3) with a top speed of 250 km/h. An optional sport package that boosts that number to 280 km/h is available for an extra $1,750.

While the RS 3 is attractive for a sedan, the TT RS is a simply gorgeous car, which is due primarily to its sleek coupe format. The TT has been a looker since the first generation debuted in 1998 and it remains so almost 20 years later. The look of the third-gen car is reflective of current Audi design language which means lots of lines that run at sharp angles in squarish patterns to give the car a creased, lean appearance.

As appealing as the TT RS is on the outside, its cabin is even more inviting, and if you're a fan of the R8, you're going to love what Audi designers have done here because the nods to the big car are plentiful.

From the steering wheel hubmounted red starter button to climate controls mounted in the air vent hubs and the stunning 12.3-inch TFT (thin film transistor) display to the sport seats complete with diamond-pattern red stitching, the TT RS borrows liberally from the R8 and to great effect.

Not having a separate infotainme­nt screen to look at feels a bit strange at first because most cars have a screen affixed to, or imbedded in, the centre stack. Not so with the TT RS, as the virtual cockpit in the instrument cluster displays all: navigation, stereo, speedo, tach, you name it.

As for the drive, the TT RS doesn't disappoint. Like the RS 3, the TT RS is bad fast in all modes, from regular drive with the drive select in normal, all the way to sport combined with dynamic mode, this car is easy fast – there is no slow mode here.

The only questions are how twitchy do you like your accelerati­on, how farty do you want the exhaust note to sound and how fast do you want the S tronic gearbox to shift through its seven cogs. The 2.5-litre turbo five is a hot tamale of a powerplant, so regardless of which mode setting you choose, the outside world blurs quickly.

Like all Audi Sport models, the TT RS is stiffly sprung by design, so you'll want to take care over rougher roads, but the car's handling is knife-edged, responsive and quick – just like an RS model should be.

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