Biased? Us? No way.
Yesterday was a big day, thanks to the Beijing Auto Show. Audi and Porsche each revealed highly anticipated sports coupes that have very loyal followings, the new 2017 TT RS Coupe and 718 Cayman S. Each one is very different in nature and yet they’re still competitors. For starters, they’re both German and German automakers love to compete with (and often copy) one another. But let’s take a closer look at each one and see if we can determine a winner based on pure specs alone.
The new Audi TT RS is powered by a re-engineered version of its predecessor’s turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder, now producing 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. That power is, of course, sent to all four wheels via a Quattro all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Zero to 62 mph? Only 3.7 seconds, and Audi is willing to bump the top speed up to 174 mph (from 155) upon request. As is with all Audis, the interior is a work of art, constructed from high-quality materials throughout and benchmark fit-and-finish. Aside from its unique wheels, large front air intakes and fixed rear wing, the TT RS looks very much like any other TT, and that can be a good or bad thing.
It all boils down to whether you dig the TT’s look. It’s certainly unique and very distinctive, but it’s not for everybody. Speaking of distinctive, it’s impossible to mistake a Porsche sports car for anything else. Period. Like its 911 big brother, the new 718 Cayman S has that special Porsche look, only it’s not ass-engined. That new and now turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four is at mid-ship, which has always been the case with the Cayman and Boxster. But what’s new is the fact that the 718 Cayman S is turbocharged. The naturally aspirated flat-six is a goner, but is that such a bad thing? Let’s look at the numbers: 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque, a 0-60 mph time of four seconds flat and a top speed of 177 mph.
Despite the TT RS’s extra 50 hp and 45 lb-ft, the 718 Cayman S really isn’t any slower. It too has a seven-speed dual-clutch (or PDK in Porsche-speak), but there’s one big difference: it’s rear-wheel-drive. That alone can be a deciding factor for anyone who isn’t brand loyal. AWD and RWD cars have different personalities and enthusiasts have long been (and likely always will be) suckers for RWD. It’s just more fun, more engaging. Oh, and because the occasional burnout. But for those who simply don’t care and like the exterior designs for both might be won over by the Audi’s interior. The Porsche’s is far from bad and we really appreciate its straight-forward, no-nonsense design, but it’s not artwork like the Audi’s.
As enthusiasts, we don’t decide on interiors alone, but it’s still a factor. Another area where these two cars are so similar is pricing. The TT RS Coupe is priced from 66,400 Euros (US pricing has yet to be announced) and the 718 Cayman S begins at 66,300 Euros. Two fantastic sports coupes with nearly identical prices, yet each one has its own brand unique personality. What would we pick? The 718 Cayman S. Why? Porsche. There is no substitute. That’s it. Which of the two would you opt for? Because, honestly, you really can’t go wrong either way.