Of all the new Audi Sport models offered in North America, the TT RS is probably the most intriguing (aside from the ludicrously expensive Audi R8). Admittedly, that title would be held by the Audi RS4 Avant if it were sold here but, alas, it isn’t. So that leaves the Audi TT RS as the most exciting and interesting little car that Audi Sport sells in America at the moment. In this video from Edmunds, we get to see why.
First, we take a look at its performance, which is actually quite remarkable. The 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that powers the TT RS makes 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which sends power to all four wheels. While it’s called Quattro all-wheel drive, the TT RS actually uses a Haldex setup, meaning it’s primarily front-wheel drive but sends power to the rear wheels as needed. However, Audi does claim it can send up to 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels if it deems necessary. We wonder how often that will actually happen, though.
In this video, Edmunds’ Carlos Lago does three acceleration runs in various different drive modes. The fastest run is obviously in dynamic mode with traction control set to its most aggressive setting and launch control engaged. With all of that setup, the Audi TT RS was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, which is astonishingly quick for an Audi TT with a 2.5 liter engine. On a rolling 0-60 mph run, it was capable of 3.3 seconds, which is even crazier. Five years ago, that was Ferrari-speed. It also ran an 11.9 quarter-mile. In an Audi TT.
When it comes to actual handling dynamics, though, the Audi TT RS can be a lot of fun but only after you learn it. When you first drive it, you might be tempted to try and drive it like a delicate sports car, like a BMW M2. But it isn’t that. The TT RS takes a bit of patience; slow into a corner, manage the understeer and use the all-wheel drive grip to power you out. Once you learn it, though, it can be a lot of fun. It also has sharp, albeit slightly numb, steering and changes direction really well. It just isn’t the ballerina that, say, a Porsche Cayman is.
Where the Audi TT RS gains some ground over its rear-drive, more engaging competitors is in terms of style and usability. It looks more exciting than both the BMW and the Porsche and its all-wheel drive allows it to be more usable all year long. It also features a very slick cabin with good technology.
Lago didn’t seem to be a huge fan of the TT RS, which isn’t unusual as fast Audis aren’t really universally loved, being a bit of an acquired taste. However, we’re fans of the TT RS and think that it’s the most exciting reasonably affordable car to come from Audi, and sold in North America, at the moment.