Audi TT RS

14 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Audi TT RS
Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS

With its Golf DNA and its modified Kombi engine, the halo TT is a plum example of 21st century automotive alchemy

Audi TT RS

Road Test

Price Guide (recommended price before statutory and delivery charges): $136,900

Options fitted to test car (not included in above price): metallic paint $1377; BOSE surround sound audio upgrade $1377

CO2 emissions (g/km): 214

Overall Rating: 3.5/5.0

Engine/Drivetrain/Chassis: 4.5/5.0

Price, Packaging and Practicality: 3.0/5.0

Safety: 2.5/5.0

Behind the wheel: 4.0/5.0

X-factor: 4.0/5.0

About our ratings

Audi’s TT-S had already delivered one of the more rewarding drives in its circa-$100K price bracket. Then the company released the TT RS — demanding a 30 per cent price premium, the new model had to deliver something more. It does and then some.

The new equation starts with one extra cylinder and 500 extra cubes. This hails not from an extension to the die from which the TT-S’s 2.0 litre four is cast, but (in the dim past) from parent company Volkswagen’s Transporter. That’s right — Audi’s tilt at Porsche’s lauded Cayman and co has a Kombi engine.

Do not be put off — the V10 in Dodge’s insane Viper came out of Chrysler’s truck division and Lamborghini once built tractors.

In the 0-100 dash, at 4.7 seconds it out-accelerates the Cayman S (4.9) and almost matches its R8 stablemate (the V8, anyway — 4.6) — albeit without the supercar histrionics or drug-dealer chic looks.

It’s not a flat-six or a V8, but it’s addictive nonetheless. More than the sewing machine of a four but without the woofling growl of a V6, this quintet of cylinders sings a song all its own — chamber music against the full orchestral sturm und drang of the R8. Hard acceleration adds an eerie harmonic to the base note that’s irresistible.

Hit the Sport button and it opens up an extra door from the exhaust manifold to pump up the volume.

In the manner of so many German hard chargers, the TT RS is as easy to live with in the commute cycle as it is pleasurable on the open road. It’s available in six-speed manual only — which might invite complaint from some — but cars like this are wasted on autos and sequentials. And the great thing about having 450Nm on tap from 1600 revs is that you can almost drive the thing like an auto anyway.

It’s flexible enough to accommodate any silliness, capable of easily exceeding urban speed limits in first and making a decent uphill getaway from 10km/h in sixth (well, something like that, anyway — you know what I mean). With the traffic lights in a good mood, you can live for days in the mid gears.

The five-cylinder engine is pushing along just 1450kg (plus people and things) — modest for the array of technology under the shell.

Audi TT RS

The gearlever’s action gives away its humble origins — while it’s not heavy, it’s no MX5, with a longish lever-throw and a meaty, reassuring feel that comes with familiarity. Whatever momentum is lost in shift times is recouped effortlessly through the go-pedal.

A run to Parma, just south of Nowra, via Royal National Park in pouring rain proved instructive as to the true meaning of grip. The TT RS is as sure footed in the wet as any car this tester has ever driven, as unthreatening as it is swift. Rather than commanding respect, it fosters confidence — its quattro drivetrain and chassis are competent enough to deliver a very high stupidity threshold.

And then there’s the stability control as well.

The TT RS is specced according to the classic German trade-off formula. For nigh on twice the price of a base-spec TT, you get the standard goodies for its sector: satnav, comprehensive trip computer, bi-xenons and decent audio.

But that’s about it for toys and trinketry.

On the outside it gets the racing suit — big breathing holes for engine and brakes up front, side skirts, matt aluminium mirror housings, a rear diffuser and wing with big twin oval exhausts — but most of the money goes into invisible mechanical stuff. Brakes are bigger than the standard TT or TT-S and Audi’s sophisticated Magnetic Ride suspension with Sport and Comfort modes is standard.

The latter’s more effective in eliminating body roll than road noise, which is amplified by the big 19-inch alloys and broad, lo-pro rubber. That said, the ride compromise is admirable — you can feel what’s going on below, but not jarringly.

It’s all brought together when you hit the Sport button on the console — the ride stiffens, throttle responses sharpen in both directions and the exhaust note goes fortissimo. Steering is Audi-lightish at parking pace but gathers weight and feel with speed. While it doesn’t deliver the feedback of competitors, it’s near neutral.

The furniture’s purpose-built: deep-dish racing chairs in Nappa leather with hard side bolsters — good for a cheeky wedgie on the way in and near-emasculation on the way out. Adjustment is fully manual, which might raise a grumble or two. If you wish, you can have electrically adjustable, airbag-ready seats as a no-cost option.

While the rear seat’s a joke, it folds down to amply accommodate overnight gear for two plus the metre-square dog bed on which Buster snoozed peacefully for the entire south coast trip.

Over the week we had it, we logged fuel consumption from the mid-11s to early 12s with no effort put into keeping it down and Sport mode taking up more than its share of the time. Out of town, we were down in the 8s.

The Golf-based standard TT has drawn some disdain as the ride of choice for looking to stand out from the MX5 set. The TT-S took its quality DNA into street-hoon terrain. The RS extends it again into track territory, without exacting too high a cost in usability.

If it hasn’t given rise to a rush of M3 and Cayman S trade-ins, that’s more about brand loyalty and image than actuals.

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Published. Friday, 17 September 2010

Audi TT RS
Audi TT RS
Audi TT RS
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