Driven – Audi TT RS

While it’s not been ‘officially’ announced, the current Audi TT will be the last made, after 20 long years and three generations the production line for this Audi icon is shutting down and shifting its focus to Audi’s future. Audi will replace the TT with an all electric sports car, which sounds very interesting, indeed.

Audi shot to fame in the 80’s with the Quattro, taking full advantage of new rules in rally, which allowed four wheel drive in competitions, the Ur Quattro is an Audi icon, much as the TT, so it’s fitting that the two icons share an inline 5-cylinder turbo charged engine. The one in the TT RS, however has almost 400 precise German horses charging away ready to go with a stamp on the throttle.

This then, is the TT’s swan song, and there’s no surprise in it being a very drivers focused car. There’s no central console or infotainment system which the passenger can see too, all of that is in the drivers display. It’s fair to say then, that the TT RS is a drivers car and not a car which you would be taking the family out in, despite it being a 2+2 Coupe. I did however, manage to get my Britax Romer in the back when I was on the kids weekend club run. A weekend car for the discerning father.

The one I drove was priced at £52,335 and came with a bunch of extra’s including comfort and sound package at £1,495 Power seat adjustment and magnetic ride, both of which coming in at just under a grand. It even had it’s top speed increased to 174mph… why you would pay £1,600 for that, I don’t know, but there we go! Specced at this price we’re seeing the TT RS compete against Porsche Caymen, the much acclaimed Alpine A110 and even another Germanic heavyweight in the BMW M2 Competition.

There is something which is obvious with this car, performance. It’s on rails in the corners and there is plenty of power to get you from A to B almost 400 precise German horses charging out the engine and planted on to the tarmac through Audi’s wonderful Quattro system. Personally, I think that’s what lets this car down. It’s fantastic, wonderful and the speed is all there but it’s also quite predictable and very serious. There’s nothing about this car which brings about that fun. It’s so serious in what it does, it’s gear change doesn’t mess about it just happens, much quicker than you or I can change gear. 0-60 happens in 3.7 seconds and it charges on and on but it just happens. You almost feel a passenger as a driver.

When you get to turning the wheel there isn’t any dramatics, the car turns in. There’s a hint of understeer, which due to the Quattro you can’t do anything about with the power, hence the under dramatics. even in the wet, the TT RS find grip, I don’t know where but it finds it from somewhere and slingshots you around the bend. The car gives you the confidence it gives you to lean on the throttle out of the corners and you find yourself on the car in front very quickly.

The infotainment system can be fiddly and setting the Sat Nav to where you want to go can take a little longer than a touch screen. However, it works very well and the display is clear and easy to see. Directions are good and clear and easy to follow. Moving between phone, media, navigation and in the cars information is easy. There are nice touches on the inside, too. The controls for the fans and air conditioning are buttons on the fans, which work well.

The real touch is having the engine start button on the steering wheel – this makes it feel much more of a racing car opposed to a sports car. The driver change modes button is easy to use, too. It just feels right and the steering wheel and position equally works well for a sports car.

It’s even economic. On the motorway it will achieve 41mpg cruising along and even around town it’s not overly thirsty, either.

I adore this car, it amazes me. It makes the fantastic feel slightly mundane. You have to check yourself sometimes and remind yourself you’re on a B-road and not everything is as capable as this. I think it’s well styled, looks muscular and the air intakes add that extra degree of performance look. The fixed spoiler finishes the back end off perfectly. I wouldn’t call it pretty but it’s certainly a stand out car.

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