April 10, 2012
2012 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge
From the outside you’ll know the TT RS by its gaping maw, lowered ride height, oval exhaust tips and fixed rear spoiler. The Phantom Black pearl paint of this tester ($650) somewhat muted its presence, which, depending on your point of view, could be a good thing. I saw a TT RS in bright blue and it really screamed performance. To keep weight in check, this special TT incorporates a hybrid aluminum and steel body structure, 69 percent and 31 percent, respectively. It is built at Audi’s facility in Neckarsulm, Germany alongside the R8 and RS5.
Inside, the TT RS is all black and all business, forgoing the colour and design details available in other TTs. That said, the quality is classic top-shelf Audi, and all the bits that matter, like the bolstered leather sport seats and crystal-clear gauges, make for a proper driver’s environment.
The 2012 TT RS comes well equipped with bi-xenon headlights with washers, Bluetooth, auto climate control, hill start assist, Homelink, auto dimming mirror, cruise and heated seats. This car had a $2,300 navigation package, $1,300 Bose audio upgrade and a $4,000 Titanium Package that adds 19-inch titanium rotor design wheels, carbon-fibre exterior mirrors and sport exhaust with black finish tailpipes.
What we can’t get here is the 7-speed R tronic twin-clutch gearbox found in European models. Granted, that’s great a tranny that gives the TT-RS slightly more impressive numbers, but while slicing through this delightful close ratio six-speed I sure wasn’t pining for the paddle shifters.
On the highway the TT RS is stable and comfortable, but with the boomy five-cylinder turning 3200 rpm at 120 km/h, it’s far from a serene cabin. Official economy figures are 12.3 L/100 km city and 8.1 L/100 km. I will confess to getting nowhere near that as this little Audi goaded me at every turn.
An obvious competitor is the $75,600, 330-hp Porsche Cayman R, and on paper, the Audi’s price, back seats, horsepower advantage, and standard equipment give it a head start over the pared-down Porker. But as fab as the TT RS is, it can’t match the uncanny balance, delicacy and ultimate seduction of the Cayman’s mid-engine chassis — not to mention the siren song of it’s naturally aspirated 330-hp 3.4-litre flat-six.
This fact will not matter a whit to those few Canadians who are fortunate enough to bag one of the 110 TT RSes coming to our shores, as this scorching little Audi will out-hoon just about anything that comes its way.
Pricing: 2012 Audi TT RS
Crash test results