Why we ran it: To see if the most hardcore TT is preferable to the cooking versions and a genuine alternative to a BMW M2
Life with an Audi TT RS: Month 8
After nearly 10k miles, the ’bahnstormer is going back whence it came. Did it leave an indelible mark on those who drove it? - 4th July 2018
The TT RS turned up in November last year with three indisputable strengths: a) it was nice to sit in, b) it was nice to listen to, and c) it was unrepentantly rapid. It departs with all three intact, and adds a few more for good measure.
In retrospect, it is the car’s unanticipated usability that has helped set it apart. That word is bandied about far too much these days given that it applies to virtually every car in a modern context short of those not wearing doors or a fixed roof, but it must be mentioned when talking about the TT because a sports car – even one derived from a hatchback – arrives with a number of preconceptions about where and when you’re going to be able to use it.
Typically, the Audi defeated them all. I got a bike in the back of it. I picked up two people from the airport in it. I took it to the dump. It survived umpteen trips to supermarkets and endless journeys to and from the office, and I never begrudged a single moment spent in its company.
That might sound like a low bar for a £50k range-topper, but in fact it’s a remarkably high one for a car with no rear doors, pathetic back seats, stiff suspension, oversized wheels, a thirst problem and, subjectively speaking, imperfect styling.
Its fundamental agreeableness is built on a number of factors. Many of them are connected to it being nice to sit in, but not all of them are so predictable. For a start, the driving position – which initially seems uninspiring in a low-slung sports car perspective – is outstanding when it comes to the monotonous business of actually getting somewhere. Ditto the relationship between the control surfaces.
That’s the calling card of the MQB platform, of course, but it pays dividends in the TT no less consistently than it does in a Volkswagen Golf or an Audi A3. Add very fine seats (made electrically adjustable by an £800 tick) into the mix and it was very rare to feel fatigue or disgruntlement at being aboard, even for long periods.
It’s worth highlighting the car’s scale too. While it may be too small to be called a bona fide four-seater, the feeling of compactness – and therein its capacity for being effortlessly threaded just about everywhere – is extremely endearing when your office is in south London and its car park is as accessible as a castle’s keep.
Best of all (and critical to its functionality), its diminutive size doesn’t deny it a fair-sized boot, which, when combined with the comparatively large hatchback lid, exalts you with its handiness virtually every time you use it.