The TT RS is Audi Sport’s newest RS model and also one of its most exciting. Based on the current, third-generation Audi TT, which is a great place to start, the Audi TT RS is one of the most exciting cars in its class. It sports a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that develops 400 hp, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive. That makes it good for 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, making it the fastest car in its class.
However, there’s another car that’s been garnering headlines in the segment, a car that’s been getting even more attention — the BMW M2. Sporting a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine, the M2 packs 365 hp and can get from 0-60 mph in about 4.2 seconds with a six-speed manual transmission (a seven-speed dual-clutch is available). But the M2 is rear-wheel drive and less grippy.
Top Gear recently pit both of these sports cars against each other to see which small, punchy German is best.
In terms of speed and performance, the M2 simply can’t hang on to the TT RS. The Audi’s bomb-like engine and all-wheel drive grip allow it to walk away from the M2, especially on corner exit. Don’t mistake that, though, as the M2 is properly quick. In any other company, the M2 would be silly fast. But it’s just not capable of keeping up with the Audi TT RS.
The TT RS’ engine is also more charismatic. Its five-cylinder growl is unique and loud enough to wake the dead. It burbles at low speed and roads as revs climb. It’s a spectacularly characterful engine and one that entices you to push the go pedal more and more. BMW’s inline-six is buttery smooth as usual and makes a good noise. Again, in any other company, this engine would be the benchmark. But Audi’s 2.5 liter five-pot is a gem.
When the roads get twisty, though, things turn in the BMW’s favor. Whereas the Audi TT RS is more of a point and shoot car, the BMW M2 is a momentum car. Its rear-wheel drive chassis and electronic rear-differential allow it to kick its tail out through corners in a smooth, predictable and wonderfully enjoyable manner. The M2 is the far more playful car here.
The M2 also gives the driver more feedback through the steering wheel and the seat, allowing the driver to have full confidence in what the car is doing. The TT RS, while clinically effective, is quite numb and disconnected from the driver.
On the inside, the Audi TT RS’ cabin is nicer to look at and filled with better materials, but the M2’s simpler, more driver-oriented cockpit makes it the choice for car enthusiasts. The TT RS has tech to brag to friends about, but the M2 is the more personal car to be in.
Overall, Top Gear felt that the M2 was the car they’d choose if they had to only choose one. It’s the more rewarding car to drive overall. While the Audi TT RS is brutally fast, packed with character and great looking, inside and out, the BMW M2 is the car that more consistently put smiles on faces and that’s the most important aspect of a sports car.