Audi TT RS
The 396bhp, five-cylinder super-tt joins the Fast Fleet for a final fling
IT’S THE SERIOUSNESS OF IT THAT’S TAKEN me by surprise. It’s been about a decade since I last drove a TT RS and in my head I had it filed as ‘a posh TT’ – the one people choose if their pockets are deep enough and they want Audi’s smallest coupe with all the bells and whistles and an engine that sounds expensive.
So I hadn’t expected to drop down into seats that favour high, snug bolsters over squidgy padding.
Or to grasp the steering wheel and find not plush leather but instead that curious, beyond-dry feeling of Alcantara. Or to look in the side mirrors and see the ends of the fixed rear wing clearly in view. Or, most significantly, to drive away and discover a firm ride – actually, make that a very firm ride – that has the car, and therefore its occupants, jiggling up and down in tune with every little imperfection of the road.
They’re the kind of cues that almost make you want to check over your shoulder to see if there’s a half cage and a helmet net in the rear. (There isn’t: just two tiny rear seats is all you’ll find. Perhaps this one’s in ‘Touring’ spec.) They’re also cues that make me think I may have misjudged the TT RS. Could Audi be targeting a different audience to the one I thought? Is this thing actually a pukka driver’s car? I reckon it’s time for me to cast aside my preconceptions and start gathering opinions about this car afresh.
It’s been some time since a TT RS appeared in the pages of evo, so perhaps a little refresher is in order. The Mk3 TT was launched back in 2014, with the RS variant arriving two years later. A facelift followed in 2019 – although actually it was the rear of the car that changed most significantly, with a busier back bumper the biggest clue – and it’s this version that’s still on sale today. It won’t be on sale for much longer, though, with Audi expected to call time on the TT as we know it in 2023, with no direct replacement on the cards.
Best to enjoy the RS version’s five-cylinder engine while we still can, then. As in the RS3, this 2.5-litre turbocharged unit produces 396bhp, here from 5850 to 7000rpm. Maximum torque is down by 15lb ft to 354lb ft, but it’s spread thick and even from 1950rpm right through to 5850rpm. These brawny outputs are fed through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels (of course), permitting a claimed 0-62mph time of 3.7sec – although we’ve recorded a 3.5sec with a pre-facelift car.
The TT RS is a touch more expensive than its more practical relatives, starting at £59,450 to the £54,655 or £55,655 asked for the RS3 Sportback and Saloon respectively. Naturally, our TT has a few extras. It’s in top-level Vorsprung spec, which adds £10,000 exactly and brings 20-inch wheels (up from the standard 19s), Magnetic Ride, an RS Sports Exhaust system, Matrix LED headlights and a black styling pack. Also options are the Tango Red Metallic paint (£575), red brake calipers (£345) and an extended RS styling pack (£1125), which brings red outer side panels on
the seats, red trim on the transmission tunnel, red rings in the air vents and red stripes on the seat belts. The grand total? £71,495.
One final figure for this report: 60. That’s the number of miles our car arrived with. So as I write, I’m still enduring the frustration of the running-in period. But even with the restrictions of using no more than two-thirds of maximum revs and no full throttle, it’s already clear that this will be one properly rapid car when it can be fully unleashed. I’m hoping the rest of the package can keep up and deliver on the promise of those early signs. The chance to find out can’t come soon enough.
Date acquired July 2022 Total mileage 581 Mileage this month 521 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 27.3