It’s quicker, cheaper, more powerful, and sounds miles better than the four-banger in the Porsche corner.
A gorgeous futuristic interior peeled straight out of our wildest iRobot fantasies and a rich blend of angular yet smooth lines of the current R8 may have made every critic of Audi’s feminine design approach a believer, but to most, the Mk2 generation TT was still too rounded to look the least bit tough. To some, it even echoed the design approach of the Volkswagen Beetle, but thankfully Audi remedied that with the more confident looking Mk3 released late in 2014.
While Audi spent plenty of time talking about the ultra-rapid RS version that would soon make it to market, the automaker has just backed up that talk by announcing the US launch of the mid-engine 2018 TT RS ahead of its official debut at the upcoming 2017 New York Auto Show. In terms of hardware, there isn’t much we haven’t already heard about the car. Four wheels will be supplied by a steady stream of 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque courtesy of a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five engine. The TT RS’s main competitor, the Porsche Cayman S, has both less power and a more conventional turbo four in its midsection, which means it sounds nowhere near as good as the five-cylinder.
A quick listen to the two cars side by side confirms Porsche fan's worst nightmares. Despite the lack of balance, Audi engineers have managed to harness the chaotic engine and channel its power through a clever all-wheel drive system that helps anchor the lightweight aluminum-framed coupe in the corners and rocket it to 60 mph from a dead stop in 3.6 seconds before topping out at 155 mph or 174 mph when optioned with the Dynamic plus package. Orchestrating the entire show is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and while the quattro all-wheel drive system reserves the right to send nearly all of the power to the rear wheels when it senses the need for it, the TT, like all other Audis, will not come with a drift mode.
It will, however, install four drive modes including Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual in order to get the software to properly sort the hardware to meet driver requirements. A starting price of $64,900 is a direct argument against the less powerful $67,700 Porsche 718 Cayman and should be a lesson to Porsche that it should probably find a way to make its small displacement cars sound better. If a Fiat 500 Abarth can do it, we’re sure Stuttgart can manage.