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5-Cylinder Shock

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Rob Rothwell
I just finished a week-long road test of the 2012 Audi TT RS.

I had read a fair deal about this vehicle, and knew it was the most powerful TT ever offered for public roads. Despite the compelling literature, I really questioned how effective a 5-cylinder engine would be in a performance application such as this.

Boy, was I in for a shock.

While it only displaces 2.5 litres, Audi’s turbocharged TFSI I5 powerplant produces 360 palpitation-inducing hp @ 5,500 rpm and 343 lb-ft of torque, available from 1,650 rpm through to 5,400 rpm.

The little 5-banger is capable of thrusting the TT RS to 100km/h from a standstill in only 4.3 seconds. That’s actually faster than its big brother, the Audi R8, powered by a 4.2L DOHC V8 engine rated at 430 horsepower.

While the R8’s bigger engine has 70 more horsepower over the potent TT RS mill, it doesn’t achieve the same torque output. The V8’s maximum twist is 316 lb-ft between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. Combining the TT’s lighter weight with its torque advantage might leave R8 owners wondering why they paid twice as much for a slower car!

Fewer cylinders doesn’t mean less auditory rage. At full throttle, my tester created a howl of such menacing proportion that Lambo owners were seen covering their ears.

In the right application, 5-cylinder engines can be magnificent. The 2012 Audi TT RS is indisputable proof.

Audi TT RS 2012 side view
Photo: Rob Rothwell

Audi TT RS 2012 Engine
Photo: Rob Rothwell

Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert