Audi TT RS coupe makes triumphant return

2018 Audi TT RS

It’s been about a decade but I still remember my introduction to Audi’s TT. 

It was an event in Austin, Texas, where we got to throw the TT around some surprising curves (considering Texas is fairly flat) and long strait aways that proved Audi had a winner.

There are various versions of the TT now but one has been missing for nearly five years – the RS version. It’s back, and, I hope, to stay.

The RS version of the TT has some serious body work. The big, blacked out grill is something to behold. Surrounded by squinty headlamps and huge air intakes below, the fascia is mean, but clean. There are side sill extensions and flared fenders to complete the look. The car is stout, but the long hood that sweeps to a short rump keeps it from looking bloated. A slender wing finishes the look.

The interior is breathtaking. Audi is meticulous in the details and it pays off. Metal and leather abound, as do artful touches to the controls. They aren’t that intuitive at first, but after a few minutes of tinkering I got the lay of the land. The dash is ultra modern laid out in a beautiful arc.

Red baseball stitching highlights black leather seats

The dash is fully digital. It’s the only display in the car so it can be configured to your taste. I think Audi left out a second display to keep you focused. All that red stitching is enough of a distraction.

The seats are sports car comfortable with a stitched diamond pattern. A bit much? Maybe, but it only adds to sports car flair. 

To start the car, put your foot on the brake and hit the humungous bright red start button. What you’ll hear is an interesting exhaust note. The engine is a turbo-charged five-cylinder engine that makes 400 horsepower and 384 pounds-feet  of torque. There is a button to adjust the sound to be that of an obnoxious sports car – i.e. really, really loud. I think it will be a matter of taste. I like it.

Its got the looks but does the TT have the stuff of sports cars? Ummmm, lets say hells yes! The TT can hit 60 miles per hour in about 3.4 seconds. I have no official test equipment but I’d say that’s about right. I took the car on a stretch of I-485 where everyone drives like a crazed demon-possessed person. Yep, this car is really quick – deceptively so. I found myself approaching triple digits and the car didn’t seem to be breaking a sweat .I also wasn’t the fastest person on the road, but could have been. I decided a ticket was not in my future.

The TT is all wheel drive (quattro) so it sticks to the road. The TT is also front wheel drive biased so it’s prone to understeer. To the more advanced driver this could be troublesome but to the average driver not so much. Unless you are track bound, The TT’s handling will probable feel stellar. Braking, steering and accelerating are things this car does well, very well.

The suspension is stiff which to be expected in an RS version. It’s also adjustable. Put it in the sport mode and the seven-speed automatic clicks through the gears with a precision that’s almost other-worldly. Nope, there is no manual, but there’s a shift program for that.

Most may find the RS a bit jittery for everyday driving. You can set the suspension for something a bit more pedestrian but what’s the fun or the point in that. Just get a regular TT or look for something else.

Faults? I’ve mentioned the bias toward the front wheels which may be more of a matter of preference than a fault. There isn’t a lot of room for stuff or people. It’s a four-seat coupe so the rear seat is little more than storage for small objects. Then there’s that red stitching.

Price? My test car was about $78,000. There’s a lot of competition in the price range, especially from Porsche. Yet, the TT is unique in execution and outcome. The standard equipment list is high and the fit and finish is superb. I’d love one but I may be too old to get out of something this low to the ground. I’d chance it, though.