In the 1980’s, Audi dominated the rally stages with the original Audi Quattro Group B Rally car. It was where Audi’s spirit was truly born. Low grip, all-weather surfaces are what fast Audis were born for. While cars like the Audi TT RS might look pretty and be used as more of a fashion statement, it can crush low-grip surfaces with ease and loves to play in the mud.
So Autocar put it up against two other all-wheel drive performance cars that also like the mud — the Ford Focus RS and Mercedes-AMG A45. They took all three to a rally-cross course to see which was the best.
Now, the Ford Focus RS is probably the most popular hot hatch on the road at the moment. It uses a crazily complicated all-wheel drive system and raucous turbocharged engine. Yet, it was actually slower than the Mercedes around the course. The Focus RS posted a time of 46.7 seconds around the short test track while the Mercedes-AMG did a 45.3 second lap, making over a full second faster. That’s impressive considering the more conventional all-wheel drive setup of the AMG.
A lot of that has to do with both cars’ front ends. The Focus RS lacks a lot of front end grip that the AMG has, making it understeer too much. That makes it more difficult to handle, especially on low-grip surfaces.
What time does the Audi TT RS get? A surprising 45.5 seconds. That makes it two tenths of a second slower than the AMG. Why? Because it actually slides a bit more than the AMG. The TT RS has a ton of grip but it translates to oversteer quite easily. However, it looks like more fun to drive than the other cars, thanks to its oversteer-y ways. Regardless of which car is faster, it proves that the Audi TT RS isn’t just a fashion statement. It likes to get muddy, too.