2012 Audi TT RS
2012 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2012 Audi TT RS

The 2012 Audi TT RS was made to hoon.

While you won’t find the word “hoon” in your dictionary, it’s frequently used by British auto writers to describe rambunctious, enthusiastic, and, well, anti-social behavior behind the wheel.

I’ve come to this conclusion with regards to the TT RS mainly because its transverse-mounted turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder produces a license-busting 360 hp, 343 lb-ft of torque and a spectacularly vocal hoooon when caned.

I will confess to being a bit skeptical when first approaching the hyper TT, as Audi’s cute two-door, built on humble Golf underpinnings, has always been more about style and less about true driver engagement in my opinion. That preconception pretty much vapourized after a few kilometres behind the wheel of the $67,600 TT RS.

2012 Audi TT RS
2012 Audi TT RS
2012 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge

First off, it’s quite freakin’ fast. Our Canadian six-speed manual cars make the 0–100 km/h dash in a tick over 4 seconds and top out at a purely academic 280 km/h.

Slide into the snug sport seat and the lovely flat-bottomed steering wheel and alloy shift knob fill your palms. Once past the typical Audi featherweight steering at parking speed, the helm weights up nicely. The firm clutch and short-throw shifter work in mechanical harmony with the buttoned down chassis and Haldex quattro all-wheel drive to produce a driving experience that is the very definition of “hooked up”.

Even on 18-inch winter tires (19-inch performance rubber is standard), the TT RS is a point-and-shoot car like no other. It corners flatter than a Saskatchewan ice rink, and shows an unerring and unflappable neutrality that goads you into giving it more juice just when your internal yaw and g-force sensors start waving the red flags.

With the Sport button on the console pressed, the magnetic dampers (which do a fine job of smoothing the ride otherwise) firm up, throttle response quickens and the stability control allows for some real rear-wheel-drive antics as I joyously discovered on a deserted snowy back road.

Hooning indeed.

With this small-displacement turbo motor generating so much thrust, you’d be forgiven for expecting a peaky power delivery plagued with turbo lag. Far from it. Audi’s expertise in turbocharging is front and centre here — the 2.5L five doesn’t act at all pressurized. While the prodigious twist is on board from 1,650–5,400 rpm, there is no discernable lag and power delivery is seamless right up to the 7,000-rpm redline.

Beefed up brakes with four-piston fixed front calipers ably counter forward inertia.

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