There seems be to be a cynicism about modern sports cars among enthusiasts. The idea that cars were better in the good ole days is one that will never go away. We always seem to yearn for cars of yesteryear. However, there’s no denying the fact that modern cars are far superior to their elders when it comes to actual performance. As evidenced by this new video from Sport Auto, where the Audi TT RS Performance out-laps the first-gen Audi R8 V8 at Hockenheim.
When the first-gen Audi R8 made its debut, it packed a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 with 420 hp. The engine was mounted in the middle of the car, behind the driver, and it powered all four wheels via either a six-speed manual or a six-speed single-clutch automated manual (dubbed R-Tronic). Those aren’t bad specs but when you compare them to the modern Audi TT RS, you start to see why the new car is faster.
Powering the new Audi TT RS is a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, which is down almost two full liters of displacement and three cylinders. However, the punchy five-pot packs a whopping 400 hp, which is a better specific output (horsepower/per liter) than the R8’s free-breathing V8. The TT RS is also lighter and uses a rapid-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which can snap home shifts far quicker than either of the old R8’s transmission choices.
Honestly, its weight, ultra-stickiness, quick-shifting ‘box and turbocharged torque are the reasons for the Audi TT RS being a bit quicker than the R8. According to FastestLaps, the original R8 V8 lapped Hockeheim in 2:00.65, while the TT RS did it in 1:57.70. For the record, that also makes the TT RS faster around Hockenheim than the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M2 Competition. So it’s a surprisingly fast little car.
Admittedly, this specific Audi TT RS had added Audi Sport Performance parts, such as added aero, wheels and tires. So it had a bit of an advantage over the standard car. Still, according to FastestLaps, a standard TT RS did the time in 1:58.80. So that would still be almost two seconds quicker than the original R8.
Of course, if the first-gen R8 had the same powertrain as the TT RS, it’d be faster. Its chassis is by far better balanced, more poised and more capable. However, this just shows how far modern performance cars have come and how quickly they’ve gotten to this point.