From £45,035
Supercar-quick but lacks dynamic finesse and feels dated in places


Our Verdict

Audi RS TT

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.

14 June 2012

What is it?

There will be no official launch for the TT RS Plus roadster – the ultimate but limited-production version of Audi’s style-led open-top. So when we got a call asking if we’d like to drive it at the Alpine Rally, we didn’t need much persuading. 

The new car has a retuned version of Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-litre, 
five-cylinder engine and delivers 355bhp – 20bhp more than the standard TT RS.

What's it like?

Given that it has only 1512kg to haul, it serves up true supercar-like acceleration – the sort that makes its keener rivals, the BMW Z4 sDrive35iS and Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG included, suddenly feel a little off the pace in a straight line. The traction of four-wheel drive and the rapid-fire quality of its seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox play their part in that, too. 

The engine is packed full of torque, with 343lb ft on tap between 1650rpm and 5400rpm. This ensures huge flexibility and romping in-gear qualities. It also sounds the part, emitting a delicious, deep-chested warble on a wide open throttle that harks back to the original Quattro. 

The problem is that the rest of the TT RS Plus fails to live up to the heightened expectation brought on by its tremendously characterful engine. On challenging roads, its aluminium-intensive chassis copes well up to a point, but it ultimately fails to deliver the sort of handling fluency that a car like this should. There’s a woodenness to the steering and sudden changes of direction induce early understeer. 

It needs a more rear-biased torque split – as Audi has engineered into other models, albeit only those running its Torsen set-up. The TT RS Plus, like all of Audi’s performance models that use a transverse engine, has a less sophisticated Haldex 
multi-plate clutch arrangement. 

The TT is beginning to show its age in other areas, too. Some aspects of the interior look disappointingly old-fashioned. There’s nothing wrong with the overall quality, which is up to Audi’s usual high standards. However, some sections of the dashboard can be traced back to the second-generation A3 – a car that was launched more than eight years ago now. It all functions nicely, though, and the driving position can be tailored to suit, with a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment.

The fabric hood, which drops beneath a hard plastic tonneau cover, can be operated on the run, something that the folding hard-tops of its performance-orientated roadster rivals fail to offer. 

Should I buy one?

The TT RS Plus is a rather 
mixed bag, then. It’s impetuously rapid but lacks the sort of dynamic finesse to make it a truly memorable drive. The standard model offers just as much excitement at a more reasonable price.

Audi TT RS Plus roadster

Price: £52,265; 0-62mph: 4.4sec; Top speed: 174mph; Economy: 31.0mpg (combined); CO2: 212g/km; Kerb weight: 1512kg; Engine: 5 cyls in line, 2490cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 355bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 343lb ft at 1650rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch auto

Join the debate

Comments
6

14 June 2012

"There will be no official launch for the TT RS Plus roadster" ... so the "Should I buy one?" is rather a moot point, despite a price being quoted ...

 

14 June 2012

Suzuki QT wrote:

"There will be no official launch for the TT RS Plus roadster" ... so the "Should I buy one?" is rather a moot point, despite a price being quoted ...

 

The point was, I believe, that this model is simply being added to the existing range with no fanfare of a stand-alone offering.   Besides, it seems an awful lot of money for an old car, which is what it is.  But hey, you can put the roof up and down "on the run", so I'm going to rush out and order one right now!

14 June 2012

Don't think they're being too fair on the interior, there's nothing particularly aged in feel about it, even if it does use old parts.  However, I think familiarity breeds contempt; if you'd never been in an Audi before, the interior looks and feels great (I'm basing this view on the interior of a standard TT, no dount this version feels plusher).  Reminds me of an Autocar review a while back which complained about the air vents on modern Aston Martins being from the Volvo parts bin (it's true, I had them on my old V50), but no-one really cares as long as they are good quality.  Anyway, this sounds like a great vehicle but a bit expensive when you can get an RS5 for similar money.

14 June 2012

How can you write that keener rivals like the SLK55 (with much more power, torque, and indeed power to weight and torque to weight) feel off the pace?  It is keener but slower.  I see.

 

 

14 June 2012

eseaton wrote:

How can you write that keener rivals like the SLK55 (with much more power, torque, and indeed power to weight and torque to weight) feel off the pace?  It is keener but slower.  I see.

 

 

Yes, I thought pretty much the same as you. The SLK55 has significantly more power and torque, however the maximum torque is developed almost 3000rpm higher up the rev-range and the SLK's mass is 98kg greater than the Audi's. The Z4 almost matches the power of the Audi and has more torque, but is 85kg greater in mass, so it might be slightly slower; So the claim that these rivals feel "a little off the pace" is not surprising. This is not to say they are slow, and assuming Greg Kabel has driven all cars there is no reason to doubt his claim.

15 June 2012

With a NA 5.5 V8 engine of more than twice the capacity of this TT's engine, the AMG SLK manages better fuel consumption (33.6mpg combined). How's that possible?

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