The 1.8-litre petrol engine packs a decent punch in the TT without offering anything approaching scintillating performance. Even so, it feels sprightly enough, thanks in no small part to being front-wheel drive rather than being fitted with an Audi Quattro system.
The lower powered 2.0-litre petrol engines are a much more in keeping with the character of the car, delivering 208bhp and 258lb ft of torque. The engine is available on two-wheel drive and quattro cars, and sits well in both.
Stepping up to the higher powered 2.0-litre petrol improves performance, although not perhaps by as much as the price differential and headline figures would suggest. It's a decent enough engine in isolation, but for the vast majority the lower powered unit will do.
If you want fireworks, the RS is the model to go for. The key here is to know that the blown five begins kicking out its hefty 332lb ft of peak torque from as low as 1600rpm and maintains this effort all the way to 5300rpm. A close-stacked spread of six gears, all-wheel-drive traction and a smooth-revving engine all combine to produce locomotive-like thrust in virtually every gear well into three-figure speeds.
For an idea of how swift this car can be, consider that it can cover the 30-70mph sprint through the gears in just 4.4sec, and make the same leap using fourth gear alone in 6.4sec. And the all-out sprint to 60mph requires just 4.7sec, a number that convincingly eclipses the Porsche Cayman S’s 5.1sec, for instance.
Your overall impression will be of an abundance of thrust. And that will continue all the way to 174mph if you have the RS’s 155mph limiter removed.
The 2.0 diesel puts in a good showing, too. The diesel-powered coupé is about a second slower than the 2.0 TFSI to 62mph from a standstill - not a bad result given that sprint doesn't really suit the diesel's character.
Look instead at the in-gear times for an indication of the real-world performance: 50-70mph in fourth takes 4.9sec, just 0.6sec longer than the V6 TT. With common-rail technology, the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine is smooth for a diesel, and delivers its best between 1750rpm and 2500rpm.