The Porsche Carrera 4 has some serious German competition, for about $30K less.
Audi's TT RS apportions 360 horsepower to all four corners while the Carrera 4 shares 345 horsepower among its four. Advantage: Audi.
Audi cites a 0-100 km/h time of 4.3 seconds for its TT RS while Porsche claims 5.0 seconds for their Carrera 4. Advantage: Audi.
The TT RS lists a base MSRP of $67,600 while Porsche tags the entry Carrera 4 at $97,400. Advantage: Audi.
Both cars have a folding rear seat -- barely. Advantage: no one.
Enough of the comparisons - you get the point
The RS version of Audi's TT Coupe is an amazing machine that's unlike any TT I've previously experienced; this is a racecar parading itself as an upscale sports car.
One could also refer to the most powerful TT ever as the modest man's R8, but that would be an injustice to the TT RS. You see, it's faster to 100 km/h than the V8-powered Audi R8 4.2.
Whatever the label, the TT RS will live up to it, and then some.
The heart and soul of this car is its turbocharged 2.5L TFSI 5-cycliner 20-valve engine. Along with 360 hp @ 5,500 rpm, this renegade cranks out 343 lb-ft of torque from just 1,650 rpm, maintaining the full juice through to 5,400 rpm.
While I have bemoaned 5-cylinder engines in the past, Audi's version leaves me breathless. Never would I have expected such outrageous performance from a mill with an odd number of cylinders whose total displacement is only 2.5 litres.
This powerplant is a significant accomplishment in the world of stock production engines. And it likes to boast about its credentials through an exhaust note that would send shivers down the spine of Lambo owners.
Hard to believe that the howl produced by TT RS at full throttle doesn't belong to something from Italy with twice as many cylinders.
And to make the experience just that much more visceral, there's a button next to the shifter with an "S" on it.
Palpitation-inducing Sport Mode
The TT RS is a wild beast with a gentle streak; that is, until you hit the "S" button. Activating the Sport Mode revises throttle mapping, steering response, suspension calibration, and exhaust channeling.
Suddenly, any sense of benevolence is lost. The car sounds angrier, rides harder and reacts with the immediacy of a racecar. Simply feathering the throttle produces astounding performance accompanied by an intensified auditory experience.
Deactivating Sport Mode returns the TT RS to a slightly more civilized machine cloaked in a thin veil of normalcy. This is actually a car that one could live with day to day. While its ride quality remains on the taut side and it's not the quietest of sports cars, it is tolerable.
I'm not sure I could survive with the Sport Mode permanently activated though. Of course, my teenage son wonders why anyone would ever switch it off.
Behind the flat-bottom wheel
My tester was equipped with Audi's 6-speed manual gearbox, which made me ecstatic. While the S tronic dual-clutch automatic-shifting transmission is an amazing piece of F1-inspired technology, I relish the occasional opportunity to mix my own gears. Besides, the automated gearbox isn't offered in the Canadian-spec RS.
Audi's stick delivered the full driving experience that I craved. Its throws weren't the shortest I've ever worked, or its clutch the lightest. Swapping cogs actually required some arm and leg effort to accomplish with any kind of authority and precision.
The antithesis to shifting was brake performance. A mere breath on the pedal produced strong, smooth braking action thanks to four-piston calipers and huge, 370-mm front brake rotors. There's no doubt that Audi equipped the TT RS with enormous stopping power, which despite its potency, was linear and easily modulated.
Seat time on a closed course is needed to fully experience the extreme capabilities of the TT RS, which I look forward to in October during AJAC's Test Fest program. If my road test is any indication, the TT RS is going to dominate the track.
Nothing I could legally throw at it this week challenged the raging coupe. It simply responded with complete control and composure, as if to say, "Yeah, right, call me when you have your big-boy pants on."
This car is unflappable in the handling department. A slight dip into the throttle while cornering puts traction to all four-corners, pulling the TT RS around a curve with absolute, unconditional stability.
The TT RS wrapped
I suspect a number of the usual suspects in the high-end sports car club will be running for cover when the TT RS shows up. This car has set new benchmarks in both performance capabilities and bang for the buck.
I don't want to give my red rocket back - ever. It's that good.
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