Audi loves to build oddball cars; the RS6 Avant is a gloriously rapid station wagon the likes of which we rarely get to see, and the Audi TT RS is just as unique with its 394-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-pot engine emanating sounds you'd think could only come from a Group B rally car. This feisty little monster is now in its last year on the market in the US and celebrates it with a limited-run TT RS Heritage Edition. The TT RS goes up against some stiff competition, including the fantastic Porsche 718 Cayman, but with AWD - a front-biased system at that - is the TT RS a worthy competitor or simply out of its depth? In this Audi TT RS review, we see what makes this car so unique and why you should buy one because, in an age when its future is uncertain, you really should.
2022 will be last model year for the TT RS and to celebrate it, Audi is launching a TT RS Heritage Edition of which only 50 cars will be made - ten each in five unique Audi heritage color schemes: Alpine White with Ocean Blue leather, Helios Blue with Diamond Silver leather, Stone Gray with Crimson Red leather, Tizian Red with Havanna Brown leather, and Malachite Green with Cognac Brown leather. It will run on unique 20-inch alloy wheels and have a sport exhaust, OLED tail lights, Heritage Edition logos etched into the rear quarter-glass window, and a speed limiter increased from 155 to 174 mph. The normal TT RS continues unchanged.
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The Audi TT is a highly recognizable sports car, but only hardcore fans and gearheads will be able to tell the difference between the standard car and the RS, especially from a distance. The RS features a rather aggressive front and rear bumper with the front including a stealthy hexagonal mesh grille. Larger air dams help channel air to the larger intercooler.
The US-spec RS comes with 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 255/30 R20 summer performance tires, the Black Optics package as standard, features like the RS high-gloss black front spoiler and fixed RS rear wing spoiler are all model specific. Other exterior features include dual exhaust outlets and fully auto LED headlights. The Heritage Edition is only available in five special Audi heritage colors and other unique exterior features include model-specific 20-inch five-arm cutter-design wheels in a two-tone anthracite finish, Alu-optic exterior styling elements such as the mirrors, OLED taillights, and a sport exhaust with black tips. Collectors of this rare car will delight in the "HERITAGE EDITION" script, followed by the "1-2-4-5-3" firing order of the five-cylinder engine and "quattro" etched into the right-hand-side rear quarter-glass window.
When it comes to the TT RS's dimensions, one starts to get an idea of just how compact this German sports car is, especially when a comparison is drawn with competitors such as the Porsche Cayman and now-discontinued BMW M2. The TT RS Coupe measures in with a total length of only 165 inches and rolls on a stubby 98.6-inch wheelbase. It's 52.9 inches tall, and the overall width, including the mirrors, is 77.4 inches. The front track is 61.6 inches, showing the vehicle's front bias compared to the rear figure of 60.8 inches. While the figures for 2022 haven't been revealed by the German marque yet, last year's RS had a curb weight of 3,329 lbs; we expect 2022's figure to remain close.
Those interested in driving a TT RS won't want to hide behind mundane colors. After all, the TT RS is a naturally shouty car, and we're not only talking about the glorious noise that a five-cylinder turbo engine emits. With bold angular lines and an aggressive front end, the TT RS looks best in bright colors, and Audi has provided some cool ones to choose from. Nardo Gray is the first no-cost option and looks rather spectacular. Pulse Orange and Turbo Blue are also stunning colors that draw the eye and don't pain the wallet. Colors such as Kyalami Green, Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Daytona Gray pearl, and Tango Red Metallic all come with a price tag of $595, but if you want a bespoke hue, Audi also offers its exclusive special paint colors at $3,900. The TT RS Heritage Edition comes with its own unique color palette. Only ten cars of each of the five colors will be built for a total of 50 units; these colors are Alpine White and four metallics: Helios Blue, Stone Gray, Tizian Red, and Malachite Green.
For some unfathomable reason, the Audi TT has been seen by many car enthusiasts as a bit of a 'hairdresser's car,' despite it proving time and time again that it is a capable sports car. The latest generation of TT has once again made it crystal clear that it is here to deliver pure performance driving pleasure, and the RS sits at the top of the pile. What makes the RS so alluring is that it is a real-life sleeper car and will take down much more exotic machinery with ease. The secret lies with its 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo engine that delivers 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Mate that to a quattro AWD system, and you have a recipe for success, despite its front-biased nature. Audi loves underquoting performance figures, and the TT RS feels much faster than what it says in the specs. The 0 to 60 mph sprint takes only 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph arrives not much later - or 174 mph in the case of the Heritage Edition. The TT RS launches from a standstill like a bat out of hell, and you'll embarrass much more expensive machinery from the lights, guaranteed.
The performance car market has been flooded with small capacity turbocharged engines, usually of the 2.0-liter four-pot variety. These engines deliver good poke and manage to keep fuel costs down but can suffer from turbo lag, and in some cases, top-end power is compromised due to small turbochargers. The TT RS works around this by adding a cylinder, some extra displacement, and a larger turbo. The result is one of the most characterful modern turbo engines around. The sound alone will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at full attention, but it is the real-world performance that bowls most over. This 2.5-liter five-pot delivers 394 horses and 354 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The combination of low to mid-range torque and a lightning-fast transmission means that the RS feels faster than the official numbers claim. Highway overtaking speeds are monumental, but the dual-clutch transmission also allows for chilled city crawling and long-distance cruising.
Far from being a straight-line dragster, the Audi TT RS has been set up to hug the road and melt faces through the corners. Its stubby dimensions are complimented by standard adaptive magnetic dampers and quick steering that produces a driving experience that feels planted and agile. The quattro system sends most of its power to the front in normal driving conditions, giving it a predictable feel, but as soon as things get turned up, the system sends some love to the rear, changing the dynamics of the vehicle significantly.
The TT RS is comfortable enough around town, but your average driver will eventually start to complain about low-speed bumps. For those who take their driving seriously, the optional sport suspension setup will perform better than the adaptive system but comes with an even harsher ride. The fact that the RS rides on standard 20-inch wheels doesn't make things better. Speed is scrubbed off by massive eight-piston calipers in the front and offers fantastic feel. This sports coupe is possibly one of the best point-and-shoot cars out there, and very little will keep up with it in tight canyon roads, but the RWD Porsche Cayman provides substantially more driver involvement. The Heritage Edition adds an extra thrill in that its standard sport exhaust brings the tuneful melody of the five-cylinder engine to the front row of the choir - and it never hits a flat note.
With close to 400 hp on tap turning all four wheels, you'd think that this supercar-slayer would be a thirsty beast, but it surprises with frugal fuel consumption figures. The EPA rates that the 2022 Audi TT RS will consume 20/29/23 mpg city/highway/combined. These figures best the 19 mpg combined figure of last year's BMW M2, as well as that of the 2022 Porsche 718 Cayman S with its 22 mpg. Independent real-world testing has shown that the TT RS will best its official numbers by a significant margin, too, provided you can keep the lead out of your shoes. With a 14.5-gallon fuel tank on board, the TT should have a maximum range of around 333 miles.
Audi doesn't mess around when it comes to interiors, especially in its performance models. The TT RS's interior is a near-perfect balance of premium luxury and sportiness and closely resembles the interior space of the much more expensive and exotic R8. Get in, and it is immediately clear who is the most important person in the cabin; controls and vents are slanted to the driver, and we love the dashboard's clean design thanks to the absence of a standard infotainment screen. The turbine-like air vents are also a cool touch. The TT RS's steering wheel resembles the one found in the R8 and falls neatly to hand, its leather and Alcantara finish inspiring you to grip it and rip it. Keeping the driver and passenger in place is a set of comfortable bucket seats with 12-way power adjustment. Since last year, carbon fiber trimming is standard. The Heritage Edition steps it up a notch with unique interior finishes and leather color combinations never before seen in a US Audi, as well as other model-specific detailing such as Alcantara on the shift lever and steering wheel, the latter also bearing a straight-ahead marker in a leather finish.
There is enough space for precisely two human adults within the confines of the TT RS's cabin. Sure, it's technically a 2+2, but getting a real person to squeeze in the back will take a few dislocated joints. It is best to see the back seats as additional storage space. Getting in and out of the RS will pose some difficulty for taller passengers, as one has to stoop quite low to gain entry to the interior. Still, once seated, the eight-way power-adjustable sport seats offer generous support, and the driver is placed in a great position. An additional four ways of lumbar adjustment makes it even more comfortable. From the outside, the TT RS looks compact, to say the least, but we were surprised with its leg and headroom. Six-footers will be able to sit comfortably for long road trips without the need to call a physiotherapist. Visibility out the front is good, but trying to look out the back is basically useless, especially when trying to look for cars in your blind spot. At least blind-spot assistance is standard.
The TT RS interior is decidedly sporty, but far from being a mid-nineties Subaru WRX, the Audi manages to feel seriously premium as well. The seats are upholstered in black Nappa leather with diamond cross-stitching available with either blue, red, or plain black stitching. All three options are matched with a black dashboard, carpet, and headliner. The air vents, shifter console, and door handles are finished off in aluminum, and the TT RS comes standard with carbon-fiber inlays. The RS Design selection interior option adds leather to the armrests, center console, airbag cap, and instrument cluster hood for an additional $1,450 and is available with blue or red highlights.
The Heritage Edition is on a whole new level and brings leather color combinations that are specially selected to complement the color of the exterior. Alpine White cars get Ocean Blue leather with Diamond Silver stitching, Helios Blue paint goes with Diamond Silver leather and Ocean Blue stitching, Stone Gray goes with Crimson Red leather and Jet Gray stitching, Tizian Red paint goes with Havanna Brown leather and Jet Gray stitching, and Malachite Green cars get Cognac Brown leather with Black stitching. Both the shifter and steering wheel are trimmed in Alcantara and the steering wheel gets a natural leather-color 12 o'clock marker.
The TT RS was never intended to be a grocery-getter but is more practical than one might think. Pop open the trunk lid, and you'll be greeted by 12 cubic feet of trunk space. That is enough to pack for a long weekend away and will swallow a decent amount of shopping bags. The only issue here is that the long and narrow trunk lid and trunk opening makes loading and unloading your stuff a rather uncomfortable chore. We've already mentioned the useless back seats in the RS, which are better used as storage space, but to maximize the room on offer, the rear 50/50-split rear seats fold flat for even more room.
The RS's compact cabin offers its occupants a small phone charging dock in front of the center console, wide door pockets, and a storage tray underneath the driver's seat.
The RS's primary focus might be driver enjoyment, but it is still an Audi after all, and customers will expect a decent amount of standard features. Notable exterior features include the adaptive damping suspension setup, heated, auto-dimming, and power-folding mirrors, and auto LED headlights. On the inside, you can expect to find heated 14-way power-adjustable and heated leather seats with four-way lumbar adjustment, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit driver info display, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass and HomeLink, and front and rear parking sensors. Optional extras include an electrically-adjustable rear wing, OLED taillights (standard on the Heritage Edition), and RS fixed sport suspension, among others.
Most will prefer the thrum of that 2.5-liter five-pot engine and the symphony of turbo noises, but the TT RS does offer a competent infotainment system for when Mariah Carey calls. The 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster doubles as the infotainment display and provides a slick experience with menus and settings easily accessible and understandable - but they're only visible to the driver as the system is housed in the instrument cowl. Audi's MMI control system uses steering wheel controls, touch controls, or the intuitive touch-sensitive rotary controller for a polished overall experience. Standard features include USB connectivity, two SD card slots, satellite radio, and wireless phone charging. Sound is channeled through a standard 680-watt, 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Who said high-strung turbocharged performance cars are unreliable? The TT RS's reliability record remains untarnished, and the NHTSA has issued not a single recall since it first landed in the USA. Audi will cover the RS with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, 12 years of corrosion protection, a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and four years of roadside assistance.
Unfortunately, the 2022 TT RS has not undergone an NHTSA review, and the IIHS is yet to give it any sort of rating. This is nothing out of the ordinary, as niche sports cars such as the RS rarely undergo crash safety testing in the US. Over the years, Audi has proven itself in terms of building safe vehicles, and the TT RS should be just as safe as any other contemporary sports car in its class.
There's not much in the way of safety features. However, you get the basics such as traction control, ABS, stability control, a rearview camera, automatic LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming interior and exterior rear-view mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. There is, however, a full complement of airbags, including knee airbags and front thorax side airbags. Last year, Audi made blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard.
Building a fast car has become somewhat formulaic in recent years. Manufacturers stick to tried and tested recipes, and while the end result is usually impressive, a lot of new sports cars lack the soul of older, more raw cars of the 2000s and earlier. This leads us into the 2022 Audi TT RS, an AWD turbocharged Group B city-coupe that will eat your Camaro for lunch and return better fuel economy at the same time. What makes the TT RS so great is partly its 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, which adds so much character, but also the fact that it is comfortable, economical, and somewhat practical, all while being comically fast. The RS might not be loaded with the most advanced features, but the 2022 model is better than ever - and your last chance to get one before it's put out to pasture.
Depending on the configuration, the cost of the Audi TT RS will vary moderately, and good second-hand deals can be had. Still, spec and mileage will play a significant role in determining the price. Audi will let you have a TT RS for an MSRP of $73,200, excluding tax, registration, and a destination charge of $1,045. That puts the RS in an awkward position, as it costs almost $13,000 more than the base Porsche Cayman and even $700 more than the Cayman S. Fully loaded, the TT RS will cost close to $80k. The new Heritage Edition is even more expensive that a fully loaded normal TT RS at $81,450, but it does have extreme exclusivity on its side, with only 50 cars produced.
There are two trims of the 2022 Audi TT RS in its final model year on the market - TT RS and TT RS Heritage Edition, with only 50 of the latter to be built at a substantial $8,250 premium over the standard car. Both come with the same 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine producing 394 hp, sending its power to all four wheels via Audi's quattro AWD system with the help of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The TT RS has adaptive suspension, automatic LED headlights and taillights, 20-inch alloy wheels, a standard Black Optics exterior appearance package, dual chrome-tipped oval exhausts, and carbon-fiber front lip and rear wing spoilers. Inside, it has Nappa leather upholstery, 14-way powered and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, LED ambient lighting, a leather/Alcantara flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles, and carbon-fiber inlays. The infotainment system makes use of the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster and incorporates smartphone integration, two USB ports, navigation, SiriusXM, wireless device charging, and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Among the safety and driver-assistance equipment are six airbags, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
The TT RS Heritage Edition is only available in five exterior colors with matching interiors and is based on the normal TT RS in terms of its standard specifications. It differs in trim, paint colors, and model-specific detailing and boasts bespoke badging, unique 20-inch alloy wheels, OLED taillights, a sport exhaust with black tips, no rear spoiler, and a speed limiter increased to 174 mph.
The RS Design selection interior package comes in at $1,450 and adds a ton of leather and color accents to the interior in either red or blue. The sport exhaust, which is standard on the Heritage Edition, costs $1,000 on the normal TT RS and the RS fixed sport suspension is a no-cost option. The Audi Care Package adds a maintenance plan and a few other financial benefits your way for $1,399. More expensive Audi Care packages with extended coverage are available.
Presuming you want to spend more than $8,000 extra and you get your order in on time, you might be the lucky owner of the very rare 50-units-only TT RS swansong cars, the Heritage Edition. You will certainly be the owner of a valuable little piece of history. Other than this limited-run model, there is only one car to go for, and we'll tell you why you should go for the TT RS in general. The first reason is simple: that 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine adds so much character to the RS and is unlike anything on offer from its competitors. It also endows the TT RS with near supercar levels of performance. Secondly, the TT RS is a well-rounded car: it's both styling and comfortable, returns good gas mileage, and the trunk is actually usable. Sure it costs a fair amount more than some of its competitors, but with so much character, it is hard to ignore. Give it a bright splash of paint and the TT RS is ready to go as soon as you are. This year is your last chance to get one.
Audi offers three flavors of TT, with the TTS being the middle child. This sports coupe starts at $60,200, making it $13,000 cheaper than its more powerful sibling. Only true Audi fans will be able to tell the difference between the two, with the TTS getting a set of 20-inch ten-Y-spoke wheels, adaptive suspension, and most of the same exterior color options. The most significant difference comes in the performance of these two cars: the TTS's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot engine produces only 288 hp and 280 lb-ft and is 0.8 seconds slower to sixty. Despite lacking the character of the RS's five-cylinder engine, the TTS will return better gas mileage. The interior shares many of the same features, and obviously, both offer the same room and trunk space. The TTS is worth considering if you're not looking for an all-out sports car, but just a lively everyday driver's car.
It's only natural that these two cars will be compared by Audi fans, despite the glaring differences in price and performance. The Audi R8 is a Lamborghini-powered V10 supercar That goes for a starting price of $148,700. You can buy nearly two TT RS cars for that money, but there's a good reason for that price gap. This mid-engined supercar features a 5.2-liter naturally-aspirated V10 engine sending 562 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. The quattro model takes those numbers to 602 hp and 413 lb-ft while dusting off the zero to sixty sprint in as little as 3.2 seconds thanks to the additional AWD, on its way to a top speed of 205 mph. For $75k less, the RS will do the sixty sprint only 0.4 seconds slower, which is a pretty good deal, and it has semi-usable rear seats. The TT RS is the less serious car but still offers more performance than most people will ever need at half the price, and you also get a usable trunk. Give us the TT RS for the week and an R8 for the track.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Audi TT RS: