Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush

2013 Audi TT RS
2013 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge

They called them the “Millionaire Flying Aces” of World War Two. The British RAF Squadron 601 was comprised mainly of the sons of aristocracy, yet they were an elite fighting unit that became known for their flamboyance and daring.

Although membership was initially restricted to gentlemen (who were subjected to “trial by alcohol” to determine whether their behaviour – or accent – changed under the influence) it was relaxed to include sportsmen, self-made men, and those from upper-crust colleges.

My late father, a Cambridge man, was one of these. Piloting tiny Spitfires and Mosquitoes, he twice earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in the air.

Looking over this week’s test car I can’t help but think my old man would approve. With its aerodynamic shape and fixed rear wing the 2013 Audi TT RS looks purposeful and focussed – and for all the world like a little fighter jet.

The poor TT has always been saddled with the “chick car” designation – a sort of well-heeled Beetle for the gentler folk. Even the somewhat more virile TT S didn’t quite manage to change its image as the number one choice of aging metrosexual sports car drivers.

2013 Audi TT RS2013 Audi TT RS
2013 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge

But from the tip of its blunt face to the cocky little spoiler the Audi TT RS exudes testosterone. It’s a stealth mode fighter jet that’s indistinguishable from the less potent TT S – except for those in the know. Lower, with a more aggressive fascia, rear diffuser and side cladding, the TT RS also wears the 19-inch wheels exclusive to this model.

I’d driven previous TT RSes before and each time it had been a bright peacock blue with all its extremities trimmed in flat silver. I much preferred this week’s “Monza Silver Metallic” – devoid of any silly racer-boy flashiness, its subtlety didn’t detract from the TT RS’s clean, uncluttered lines.

The cabin, or in this case it just feels right to say “cockpit”, is far from lush but boasts typical Audi craftsmanship, from its angular, leather-clad panels finished in contrasting stitching to its suede door panel inserts and aluminum trimmed gauge panel, console and shifter knob.

Its Spartan simplicity will be appreciated by those who are easily frustrated by complicated user interfaces – instead of the MMI integration system found in its more luxurious brandmates, there are three large round knobs that continue the circular theme established by the air vents: simple, straightforward and user friendly. Aside from some brushed aluminum trim and drilled pedals it’s a simple environment focussed on driving. Embossed into the seatbacks and featured on the gauges is the TT RS logo.

2013 Audi TT RS2013 Audi TT RS2013 Audi TT RS2013 Audi TT RS
2013 Audi TT RS. Click image to enlarge

Racing-style seats are highly-bolstered and richly upholstered in thick leather. Settling into the driver’s seats snug grip I almost felt sorry for editor Jonathan Yarkony, who was forced to turn over his scheduled test to me due to conflicting workloads. The feeling was fleeting however (sorry, Jon) and quickly gave way to a deep sigh of contentment. I love the TT RS’s steering wheel; truly, madly and deeply. Thick and grippy with the flat bottom of a serious sports car it established a lovely point of contact between driver and car – and just felt damned good in the hands.

Available only as a 2+2 coupe the Audi TT RS does offer what could laughably be called “rear seating” but seriously shouldn’t be considered much more than a nicely upholstered parcel shelf. I wedged myself back there for a brief trip all in the name of serious research – and suffice it to say it was a rather claustrophobic experience. Head held at an angle to avoid contact with the rear glass, legs cramped from straddling whatever passed for rear footwell space, I was glad when I finally extricated myself – a process that I’d imagine was not unlike being reborn.

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