Audi’s about to retire its TT, but not without a ballistic swansong, enter the TT RS
IN THE world of motoring and motorsport, there are few greater pairings than a screaming turbocharged five-cylinder engine and Audi’s now legendary quattro all-wheel-drive-system.
The original Audi Quattro first arrived in 1980 and to put it bluntly, decimated the world rally scene – it set the standard and rewrote the rule book as to what made an all-conquering rally car.
The most iconic of these old-school weapons nowadays are without doubt the Group B monsters which churned out more than 260kW of power courtesy of a turbocharged 2.1-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
The original Quattro set the template for other icons including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Evolution and Toyota Celica GT4, for which it will always remain one of the heroes of motoring and motorsport.
Fast forward 40 years and Audi has just released the latest iteration of the ‘Quattro’ formula, the $134,900, 294kW/480Nm TT RS, the ballistic swansong of the TT sportscar range which is soon to be put out to pasture.
Just like the original Quattro, the TT RS is a force-fed, five-cylinder, all-wheel-drive coupe with almost unbelievable performance.
Standstill to 100km/h in this little sportscar takes just 3.7 seconds, more than quick enough to worry most Porsche 911s – most of which cost more than twice as much – and leave a 718 Cayman GTS wondering where it had gone.
As you would expect from a car with such a rich motorsport pedigree, the TT RS has been designed to not only obliterate straight bits of road, but dominate in the bends as well.
Riding on ‘RS sport suspension plus’, the TT RS sits 10mm lower to the ground than the standard models with magnetic damping included as standard to keep things as composed as possible, regardless of road quality.
To make sure you don’t mistake it for one of its standard stablemates, the TT RS brandishes all kinds of muscular and aggressive styling cues including larger front air intakes finished in black mesh, 20-inch RS alloy wheels sitting inside flared wheelarches, a fixed rear spoiler, bold ‘quattro’ lettering along its chin and Matrix LED headlights.
You would be forgiven for likening this fire-breathing little coupe to a baby R8 – despite being front engined – and it would probably give the supercar a very real headache on a twisty backroad or alpine pass.
While ballistic performance is undoubtedly the name of game, Audi has been sure to pack in a good deal of creature comforts and luxury features into the TT RS to ensure it can be used day-to-day for more than just scaring 911 drivers.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit, MMI navigation plus system with voice control and a 12-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system are all fitted as standard while standard safety features include six airbags, active lane assist, side assist, parking sensors, a reversing camera and tyre pressure monitoring system.
In fact, Audi says there is more than $6500 worth of extra equipment included as standard in the new model compared to its predecessor, despite being $2350 cheaper.
According to Audi Australia product planning and pricing director Shaun Ticehurst, the TT RS has never been a more attractive prospect thanks to the new levels of standard equipment and its blissful five-cylinder powerplant.
“The TT RS Coupé exudes our rich Audi brand heritage,” he said.
“The iconic Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo is one of the most celebrated engines in motoring, and its combination of power and soundtrack provides a rare thrill for enthusiasts.”
While this may be the last hurrah of the TT, the lineage of the legendary Quattro will live on and into future generations with Audi also preparing to lob the latest version of its RS3 hyper-hatch, which uses the same engine and quattro all-wheel-drive system as the TT RS.
The TT may not be around forever, but hot, compact all-paw Audis will be, to continue the story quattro story first started in 1980.