THE AUDI TT RS has been one of those sports cars that has flattered to deceive. It looked the business whichever way you, well, looked at it and was just as promising on paper. There was a highly powered, tuneful five-cylinder engine beneath the bonnet and four-wheel drive to ensure that all its power was put to good use.
Yet ultimately, it never quite delivered the goods on the road, and cars like the Porsche Cayman proved more fun to drive.
That could all be about to change. Audi’s engineers have upped the ante with a new, second generation model that brings formidable firepower and the latest version of Audi’s signature quattro four-wheel drive.
Unveiled at the Beijing motor show, its 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged engine develops 394bhp, which kicks the new Porsche 718 Cayman into touch – and is even more than the latest turbocharged six-cylinder engine from the Porsche 911.
With so much power, the speed of the new TT RS was never going to be in doubt. The coupé version is claimed to be capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds, which is no mean feat and one that sees it snapping at the heels of six-figure supercars like the Ferrari 488 GTB. Its top speed is 174mph, if buyers choose to have an electronic limiter (which intervenes at 155mph) removed.
However, straight-line speed was never an issue for the old TT RS. Injecting a little magic into tackling a winding road was a tougher challenge. Now, Audi’s engineers appear to have risen to that challenge, by fitting the engine with an aluminium block to make it slightly lighter. The change could transform the car’s handling.
A seven-speed dual clutch transmission, with specific gear ratios tuned for the engine, plus a launch control system, come as standard. The suspension is lowered by 10mm, compared with more humble TT models, and stiffer springs and dampers are fitted, as well as uprated brakes. Buyers can choose an optional RS sports suspension system, which comes with sophisticated adaptive magnetic dampers.
The only figure Audi doesn’t seem keen to talk about is fuel consumption. Figures have not yet been released for the TT RS, with Audi saying the car still needs to be put through its “type approval” process with EU regulators.
The roadster version of the TT RS weighs 1530kg – 90kg more than the coupé – and features a folding fabric roof which can be lowered in just 10 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph.
Options include an electrically operated wind deflector and neck warmers for the driver and passenger seats. Both body styles come with a bespoke styling kit that adds a touch of menace to the stylish TT.
Drivers who like the look of the TT RS will be able to place an order now, before UK sales begin officially in October, priced from around £47,000. However, be advised that an even faster version, the RS Plus, is likely to follow in the future…