Audi-philes rejoice! The TT RS is back on the tarmac for 2017, in both Coupe and Roadster models, and boy is it a stunner.
Audi isn’t known for tarting up their up-level models a whole lot to make them stand out, so don’t expect anything groundbreaking in appearance. The TT RS is no different. Most of the visual changes have more to do with performance than style. Audi has lowered the car around half an inch and put some bigger cross-drilled brake rotors inside the wheels. Magnetic shocks and two different spoilers – either fixed or speed deployed – are options.
Where we see the biggest difference from the outside is the front end. Gone are the relatively subtle lower intakes, replaced by aggressively angular openings that look big enough to swallow a Fiat 500. These combine with the angularity of the Audi corporate grill in a very coherent way, transforming the cute little TT into a menacing machine that looks even more like the R8. It’s ready to swallow asphalt and spit it out its new oval tailpipes.
The interior is just as interesting as the lower end TT, and really doesn’t look a whole lot different other than the RS logos embossed on the seat backs, but when you have something as clever and comfortable as the standard TT cockpit there’s really no reason to tweak much more anyway.
This pretty stuff is all well and good, but the biggest news is how this car performs.
A lighter version – by 42 lbs – of the 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder mill, sports almost 400 hp and just over 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough grunt to pin you back in your quilted Alcantara seats as you shoot to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The roadster isn’t much slower, clocking in at 60 in 3.9 seconds.
Speed is limited to 155 mph, but I’m guessing most buyers will choose the bafflingly optional 174-mph limiter. Overall weight of the car is down 22 lbs. from the outgoing model.
There’s no joy for those of us who prefer three pedals when driving, but then this seems to be the way of the world these days. All this horsepower is unfortunately funneled through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission mated to Audi’s vaunted Quattro AWD. It should work well, but I prefer a little more connection to the driving experience.
Don’t expect to see the RS in the States until early next year, but those of our friends on the European side of the pond can get into one about the time the leaves start to change color this year. Audi did not reveal pricing, but expect it to be no less than $60k.