At speeds of up to 31mph, a simple hold of a button on the centre console sends the three-layered acoustic hood down automatically in just a few seconds, while another button sends the windbreaker up. Turn the exhaust to Sport, plant your right foot, and prepare to be attacked by an orchestra of warbles and pops as the 2.5-litre five-pot harks back to Group B rally cars of old.
Peak power of 394bhp is reached at 5850rpm, at which point the noise is at its best, but the mid-range doesn’t offer much of a performance punch, and while peak power is up by 39bhp over the previous-generation TT RS, torque has only risen by 11lb ft.
It really is a properly quick car though, catapulting to 62mph from rest just 0.3sec slower than the £130,000 R8 Spyder, and it will keep going to 155mph - or 174mph if you pay extra to increase its limiter.
This missile-like performance is achievable thanks in part to the quattro all-wheel drive system. The sophisticated drivetrain, tailored specifically for the TT RS, offers great traction off the line and on the move and can send up to 100% of the drive to one axle if it sees fit, although it rarely happens either way. The steering isn’t particularly involving and its nose will wash wide on corners eventually, even if this TT RS is a more agile car than its predecessor.
The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission can feel a tad lethargic if left in its automatic mode, but the shifts are smooth and the tactile steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters offer rapid manual changes. The ride is good on adaptive dampers and standard 19in wheels, and there's enough travel in the suspension to avoid crashes and thuds over UK roads.
The Roadster's reinforced structure doesn’t detract from the coupe’s dynamic experience, and with the hood up it keeps the cabin very well insulated, with only a bit of road roar to at motorway speeds.
However, while the boot is bigger than that of the previous-generation Roadster (thanks to an increase in wheelbase), it's quite a stretch to call it practical. The load bay goes back quite far, but the need to accommodate the fabric roof means the opening isn’t very big and it's not very deep. A couple of weekend bags will fit, but anything more substantial will be a struggle.
Inside, Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is standard and works as brilliantly as it does on Audi’s other models, giving the manufacturer one up on its rivals. The driving position is also excellent, with plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel.