THE Audi TT RS sits at the top of the Audi TT family tree and offers the compelling combination of a five-cylinder turbocharged engine and supercar-baiting performance. With 294kW on tap it outguns every obvious rival from the Cayman S to the BMW M2, but – as tends to be the way with hot Audis – it sometimes struggles to deliver an engaging driving experience.
- The new RS is lighter and more powerful than the last version. It uses a new all-alloy five-cylinder engine that weighs 26kg less than the one used in the model this one replaces. It’s also been turned up to 294kW – a 29kW increase on the “Plus” version of the old model.
- Only one transmission will be offered, the seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch system. This sends drive to all four corners through an all-wheel-drive system that diverts torque to the rear axle when needed, but which lacks the ability to sharpen up handling through the type of torque vectoring used for the Ford Focus RS.
- With a claimed 3.7-sec 0-100km/h time the TT RS is just two-tenths slower across the acceleration benchmark than the Audi R8 V10 Coupe. In performance terms we guess that makes it a bargain.
- Audi acknowledges the RS will be a niche product in Australia, where it will go on sale next year for around $145,000. We only bought 174 of the old TT RS during its four-year lifespan, and the anticipation is that the new car will only sell at a rate of between five and 10 a month.
- The RS has various dynamic modes including Comfort and Dynamic, with these altering the engine and gearbox characteristics and also altering the steering assistance, making it firmer in Dynamic.
- Aussie specification hasn’t yet been finalised but we’re told to expect generous equipment levels including LED headlamps, side assist, the more advanced Navigation Plus system, Active electric seats and a rear-view camera. LED tail-lamps are likely to be an extra-cost option.
- Audi engineers admit they could have got a similar output from a heavily boosted version of the 2.0-litre Volkswagen turbocharged engine, but chose instead to stick with the five-cylinder for the extra character it brings. Audi has been building cars using turbocharged five-pots since the original Quattro was launched in 1980.