From £45,035
Extremely fast, but engine aside it isn’t sufficiently thrilling

Our Verdict

Audi RS TT
Latest TT dares to shake the dust from the memory of the mighty five-cylinder Quattro

The Audi TT RS is a car of highs and lows. The engine is wonderful and the Quattro’s hallmarks are all there to see. It just lacks the finesse of the Cayman.

What is it?

The TT RS is the brawniest TT yet, and the first time Audi has applied the RS treatment to the TT.

Available in coupe or roadster form, the TT RS gets an all-new 2.5-litre turbo charged five-cylinder engine producing 335bhp. Drive is sent to all four wheels, through a six-speed manual transmission. Audi are working to beef up their S-Tronic twin-clutch gearbox to handle the 332 lb ft of torque, but currently the TT RS is manual only.

To ensure there is no mistaking this £42,985 TT with anything from the cheaper end of the price range the RS gets a range of attention seeking body modifications.

What’s it like?

Loud. Or at least it is with the ‘S’ button depressed. This changes the throttle map and opens the exhaust baffles to tell the world that there’s something more potent than a four-pot lurking under the bonnet. The five-cylinder arrangement gives a characteristic off-beat thrum under full throttle and the occasional pop and splutter on downchanges.

The surprise here is quite how boisterous the engine is for the usually super smooth Audi brand. It can get intrusively bassy when loaded from low revs, but switching 'S' off, trims this back to an acceptable level.

Sounding the part is one thing, but the better news is that the TT RS has the performance to match: 0-62mph takes just 4.6sec, and unrestricted it will run to 174mph. To say it has a strong mid-range is a bit of an understatement, with that peak torque available from 1600rpm all the way to 5300rpm. But equally it is not shy of revving right to the redline.

The only real downside is that unloaded at higher engine speeds, a little vibration can creep into the cabin. That and the fact the throttle map in 'S' is a touch abrupt for smooth slow speed progress. Normal is better, but then you loose that soundtrack.

In truth the engine dominants the TT RS experience so much so that in many ways the rest of the car struggles to match up. Not that it is unruly, quite the opposite in fact. Compared to a regular TT the RS' steering, handling and gearbox are all improved, with more feel, precision and weight, but they lack the intensity of the engine.

For instance the TT RS never feels anything but a classic Audi 4wd, rather than the infinitely more entertaining rear-biased drive Audi delivered with the R8. The ride (our car had upgraded 19-inch wheels but not the optional magnetic ride adaptive damping) was in places too firm for the roads of our German test route, which does not bode well for the TT RS' suitability to our roads. There is a chance on standard wheels (18-inch) and with magnetic ride this will be improved, but we can’t offer a definitive answer until we try such a car in the UK.

Although there are no metal work changes, new bumpers, larger twin exhausts and a fixed position wing give an altogether more assertive look. Whether that appeals is entirely subjective, but for what it’s worth, I think it lacks a little cohesion. In particular the rear wing which has whiff of aftermarket about it. Thankfully it is possible to specify the standard-retractable unit as a no-cost option.

Should I buy one?

Tricky one this. On one hand the TT RS does move the TT range forward, and for those that simply want a faster, louder, sharper TT, the RS delivers this (at a price). But with the RS badge comes expectation, at least from these quarters, and especially in light of the brilliance of the last RS4 and R8. Against such successes the TT RS is a touch disappointing. No question it is extremely fast, either in a straight line or cross-country, but engine aside, it isn’t sufficiently compelling, thrilling or rewarding.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate

Comments
28

27 May 2009

Well thats a damning verdict. Cant help but feel let down after all the hype. I guess most poeple will buy this car without even driving it though.

I was fortunate enough to drive a Cayman S yesterday and after years of accusing magazines such as this as being biased, I came away mightly impressed. Steering feel, gearchange, accelerator response - all spot on. The only critisicm was that it was LOUD and got very 'boomy' at higher speeds.

It was almost good enough to make me reconsider the Audi TT TDi I have on order. If only Porsche did a diesel... ;-)

At the £42k end of the market the TT is probably a bit out of its depth as a drivers car. If Porsche launch the cheaper 4cyl Cayman they are rumoured to be working on, then Audi better be worried.

27 May 2009

Audi has shown ford how to make a better 2.5 5 cyl turbo engine.

335bhp v 300bhp

332lbft v 325lbft

30.7 mpg v 30mpg, even though the Audi has permanent 4wd which is "less efficient" than fwd)

214 g/km v 225 g/km of the focus

174mph v 163mph

0-62 in 4.6s v 5.7s

27 May 2009

40 odd thousand pounds for a TT seems very expensive to me

27 May 2009

No, I don't see the point with this car, when there are true quality sports cars like the Porsche Cayman coming from the same old Germany. You have to be an Audi dealer or Audi Snob to buy this crap.

Ok, you can compare its figures to a hatch like the Focus RS which costs about £17k less. And yes the Ford engine produces 7 lbft of torque less. That's a lot, if you're in the Swiss watch business. Don't forget to compare boot space and inside volume in general.

27 May 2009

The body modifications don't float my boat I'm afraid - it looks pre-chavved. For £42k I'd want a lot better.

27 May 2009

This car will sell, because of two things, the badge and the looks. The old TT has already proved that.

The fact that it isn't dynamically brilliant will be of little concern to most drivers, but as an enthusiast, I can say I'm am genuinely disappointed.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

27 May 2009

I had the chance to drive a TT 2.0 TFSI (or something) and really wasnt impressed. It is fast but not thrilling - rather anemic so it was useless to me. And if this one is on the same lines but only faster then it is not worth mentioning. Forgotten at once. Why not buy two cars for this money? An estate (maybe Honda Accord diesel) and a Clio cup (or 2nd hand elise)? Much better in my opinion.

27 May 2009

[quote beachland2]Audi has shown ford how to make a better 2.5 5 cyl turbo engine.[/quote]

How can you compare a car costing 42k with one costing 25k. For the money Ford have produced a cracking engine.

0-60 was always in the bag for the 4wd car; lets reserve full judgement until some of the TT RS in gear times are published as so far the Ford monsters most performance cars.

27 May 2009

Don't waste your time reading the TT-RS review. Fords are better, don't you know it?

27 May 2009

[quote beachland2]

Audi has shown ford how to make a better 2.5 5 cyl turbo engine.

[/quote]

I thought that was Volvo's T5 engine in the Ford?

Ford haven't made a decent engine on their own for years

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