First look: the most powerful Audi TT RS ever

By Businessweek , April 12 2017
First look: the most powerful Audi TT RS ever

Today, Audi unveiled the most powerful TT ever, the 2018 Audi TT RS.

The tiny coupe is a mighty effort in badging and so-called "sport packaging," but the engine does pack a legitimate punch. It's a good step forward for the model that first debuted as a bit of a soft little coupe but has quickly ramped up to add serious racing elements.

The TT RS has a unique five-cylinder engine that gets 400 horsepower and most of its 354 pound-feet of torque from the rear wheels, even though it comes with standard permanent all-wheel drive. (This, thanks to a trademark "electrohydraulic" multi-plate clutch that's positioned for ideal axle load distribution.)

The TT RS can hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds – roughly a half-second faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Top speed is 174 mph with an optional sport package.

Audi has done much here to play up the signature five-cylinder sound and gear-shift sequence in this new car. It’s part of the reason why you might buy this TT vs, say, its natural competitors such as the Jaguar F-Type or Porsche Cayman. (The extra RS badges let everyone know it’s the most powerful variant in the TT line.)

As racing enthusiasts will know, the odd configuration of the 2.5-liter engine echoes the original turbocharged five-cylinder that the Audi Ur-Quattro used in the late 1980s.

Other small improvements gird the latest TT: the car is lighter than previous generations, with 57 pounds saved in the engine alone thanks to new aluminum components, and 8 pounds shed via new carbon-ceramic brake discs on the front of the car.

Also new this year are Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual drive modes integrated directly into the seven-speed transmission.
And the new TT RS has optional OLED (organic light-emitting diode) 3D rear taillights that haven’t been available before in a series production car from Audi.

The lights – and a large rear-wing spoiler – help the car seem more like a true racer than just the little brother of the exceptional R8.

Inside, Audi has added a screen particular to the TT RS that displays information on tire pressure, torque, and G-forces; the colored background of the scale on the screen also prompts the driver to upshift as the car accelerates.

Much like the Audi R8 V10, it also has a three-spoke, flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles and two buttons atop it that allow for engine Start/Stop and Drive Select. 

The car will go to showrooms later this spring. It'll be the option from Audi if you want something small, light, and affordable. Pricing starts at US$64,900.

Audi Australia has not yet announced local availability or pricing for the 2018 TT RS.