What is it?
Sentence three of the TT RS press pack finds Audi in uncompromising mood. “Driving pleasure guaranteed!” it proclaims, having teed off with the model’s increasingly implausible output. The exclamation mark is meant as playful confirmation of what ought to be obvious to the reader – but it’s possible to take it as huffy Germanic consternation, too: you must like it now, for sure! Power, Englander!
Some of us did like the last car, in the chin-jutting, brazenly pushy kind of way in which Audi specializes. But that contingent were in the minority. Mostly we thought it prodigiously fast and fabulously sonic – yet still overtly lacking in the dynamic subtlety that made the Porsche Cayman probably the most agreeable sports car of its generation.
Its engine – the indubitably splendid 2.5-litre throwback five-pot – was categorically not the issue. Yet characteristically it is here where quattro GmbH has invested a good deal of time, extracting an additional 60bhp from the same displacement while at the same time reducing its overall mass by 26kg (exchanging a steel crankcase for an aluminium one accounts for most of the saving).
With peak silliness now at 395bhp, the coupé version (there’s a roadster, too) is rated at 3.7sec to 62mph, which is almost a second quicker than the manual 718 Cayman S, and only a few tenths slower than the current R8. The chassis, meanwhile, is a familiar evolution of the existing TT. The RS gets the quicker-reacting evolution of the current electro-hydraulic all-wheel drive system to go with model-specific tuning of the suspension, ESC and progressive steering rack.
Compared with the TTS, it sits 10mm lower on firmer springs – which, unlike the cheaper version, remain passive unless you upgrade to the magnetic dampers – and wears stiffer bushes. The quattro drivetrain is carried over from the RS3, although this time round much less is made of the supposed back axle playfulness (mis)attributed to that car.