Time and again, on both rougher roads and smooth and when driven in differing conditions, the TT RS’s chassis and steering gives you the same uncanny impression as its incredible powertrain: that going like a rocket is as nothing to it; that it could easily go even harder and do more if Audi Sport only decided to let it.

Which, we need hardly point out, is a very difficult quality indeed to engineer into a 394bhp sports car with mechanical links to a humble hatchback and a driveline that will always instinctively favour the front.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
RS finds huge grip and hits every apex, and you can exit with plenty of power and confidence

Open the car’s throttle wide on an uneven road, with camber and steering angle in the mix, and you’ll feel not a hint of steering corruption through the car’s downsized rim; neither bump steer nor torque steer nor tramlining seem to affect the car at all.

And although the suspension is evidently stiff enough to turn the car’s huge grip levels into direct, roll-free handling, it deals with smaller and gentler lumps and bumps quite well, declining to feel particularly aggressive in its ride until intrusions suddenly make it become a bit wooden.

And so, on all but the most testing B-roads, the TT RS is absurdly easy to drive quickly. It doesn’t exactly dive into bends incisively, but it does corner flat and fast and with impressive directness.

And while it does so with nothing to speak of in the way of steering feel or delicate adjustability, it retains a tenacious hold on the road at all times.

None of which is a shortcoming, but it is a compromise, of course. The TT RS is quite plainly a car developed to prioritise isolation and stability over and above balletic handling poise and tactile driver feedback.

It is the way it is because that’s the way Audi Sport – and, by extension, TT buyers at large – want the car to be.

Unflappable on a tightening motorway slip road, secure in the outside lane at high autobahn speeds and predictable in every way under power – albeit a bit numb and dynamically prosaic, we would say.

On optional 20in alloys, the TT RS puts almost as much rubber down as the Aston Martin Vantage GT8 and it weighs 65kg less.

That helps to explain how it can lap MIRA’s track in 1min 10.8sec — faster than a 718 Cayman S, faster than that Aston and faster even than the time set, in slipperier conditions, in the R8 V10 Plus.

The TT is a very direct-handling and relatively well-balanced car until you approach the outer limits of its grip — and doing that isn’t the work of a moment. The car controls its mass eerily well and always has power to burn without necessarily having it at the right axle.

And so, as grip ebbs away, the understeer builds — and, in the dry at least, the chassis is deaf to most attempts to neutralise the handling.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t lap at very high speed, quite entertainingly, and for as long as you want it to — once you realise where its limit is and how gently it’s communicated.

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