UK Drive: Audi TT RS


Solid. This is the word that defines the new Audi TT RS, but it is as much a criticism as it is a compliment.

The doors open and close with a weighty thud. The switchgear, major controls and general construction of the cabin are seriously substantial. The looks, it’s probably fair to say, are on the sirloin steak side of meaty. And that 335bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged five-pot isn’t what you’d call a flimsy motor.

All of which is an undeniably good thing. The problem is that there’s a similarly solid feel to the way the TT RS goes down the road. There’s grip and traction in abundance, and the ride isn’t exactly what you would call crashy, but it is a bit distant.


The TT RS is a car that smothers a road, bending it to its will. Which means that the TT RS can go down even a fairly bumpy road very quickly indeed, but it will do so with none of the fluidity or finesse – the sense that the car is working with the road rather than against it – that marks out a truly great driver’s car.

We suspected as much when we tested the TT RS at Zolder and this drive, our first chance to sample the fastest-ever Audi TT on UK roads, confirms it. The TT RS is simply too uninvolving to make you want to take it out for a drive purely for the sake of it.


Look at this from an Audi TT perspective and this is not too much of a problem – TTs have always been more about the style statement (just don’t mention the H-word) and the feel of them than they have been about a Sunday morning blast. From that angle, the TT RS is a triumph. The quality of the interior, the sporty looks and the hugely accessible performance make the TT RS a great choice for a casual enthusiast.

But the original Quattro started raising the bar of expectations for genuinely fast Audis, and stuff like the last RS4 and R8 have raised Audi’s performance game still further. There are now RS-badged fast Audis out there that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with drivers' greats like the Lotus Elise or the 997 GT3RS. And, as competent as it is, the TT RS doesn’t quite make it on that level.

If the S5 or the RS6 was the dynamic pinnacle of Audi’s achievements, then the TT RS would be amazing. But we know Audi can do better and that’s why the TT – by the slightest margin – is a bit of a disappointment.

The coupe version weighs in at £42,980, whilst they'll chop the roof off for £44,880. Watch your barnet, though.





 

Comments (108) Join the discussion on the forum

  • baz1985 22 Aug 2009

    I think the TT RS could be a great everyday car. With respect to A-B pace in any conditions it has few peers at sub £50k (0-62 4.6S is circa M6, and not far from 997 Gen2 C2/4S PDK territory).

    In Monza Silver, with the fixed rear spoiler deleted and the RS decals/inscriptions removed it could be a relatively subtle fast car.

    I'm guessing the optimum factory setup is standard 18"s with Magnetic Ride, or aftermarket KW V3 / Intrax coilovers.

    The Cayman might have more poise and fundamental dynamic integrity/ interaction, but in typical UK conditions IMO the Tw8ts Toys R S would be more accessible. And if you're lucky you'd not have to put up with constantly f8cked engine issues or worthless Porsche Warranty.

  • Lost soul 22 Aug 2009

    Escort Si-130 said:
    Of course I know they are stupid generalisations, but idiots like yourself is what angers people like me to post stuff like that. As stupid badge snobbery from people like yourself that love to insult anything that does not come under the BMW,VW,Audi or Merc badge.
    So this would then generate others to just do the same back on posts to piss you off.
    Care to post a pic of your car or list what you drive instead of just checking mine out to take a swipe at me?


    Lost soul said:
    Escort Si-130 said:
    Estate car drivers???? what are you on about?

    Merc = for the person who thinks they have made it in life BMW = drug dealers ride, Audi = cocks
    Hmmmm i wonder

    gay escort cabriotlets - Gay hairdressers

    for fk sake can we stop these generalisations
    What i drive has nothing to do with this , You are the one making ridiculous schoolboy comments i simply threw it back in your face

  • j123 22 Aug 2009

    baxster said:
    What a useless write up.
    I thought Pee heads was all about good honest entusiastic motoring. Most of the write ups are lame and lack any detail.
    I have honestly given up reading reviews of cars, most of the journos apart from a handful are in certain manufacturers pockets.
    My advice is if you like the look of a car go and have a drive, do a bit of research on forums about potential issues and if all is to your liking buy it! Easy eh?
    Baxster,

    So true. Some editors try to play games with their reader, and do so rather sucessfully! The goal is to never get into a rythym or pattern where too much detail is ever offered; this way no one ever remembers what a proper road test should consistenly read like.

    A good example of this is evo, who did a really nice road test of the Cayman, and evora and GT-r a few issues back, and then completly lost the plot with their more recent 911GT3/R8v10/AstonV12 test which had very little detail. Indeed I think most simply don't remember what makes tests like the evora/cayman so good, they just say 'that was great'.

    I think a topic of 'what is a proper road test' should be a separate thread, but beware there are just as many journalists and free-lancers on these boards as there are users- or so it seems when the topic is breached. J


  • Escort Si-130 22 Aug 2009

    Of course I know they are stupid generalisations, but idiots like yourself is what angers people like me to post stuff like that. As stupid badge snobbery from people like yourself that love to insult anything that does not come under the BMW,VW,Audi or Merc badge.
    So this would then generate others to just do the same back on posts to piss you off.
    Care to post a pic of your car or list what you drive instead of just checking mine out to take a swipe at me?


    Lost soul said:
    Escort Si-130 said:
    Estate car drivers???? what are you on about?

    Merc = for the person who thinks they have made it in life BMW = drug dealers ride, Audi = cocks
    Hmmmm i wonder

    gay escort cabriotlets - Gay hairdressers

    for fk sake can we stop these generalisations

  • jdcampbell 21 Aug 2009

    Autocar's road test rather sums this car up


    "The RS's jostling ride, deadened responses and heavy high speed steering lose it the dynamic edge that a car of this calibre ought to offer,"

    "..it's not the sports machine that it could be".

    Still, if you like the look of it, inside and out and that makes you feel good, why not spend £42+ on it?

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