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RE: Audi TT RS: Review

Tuesday 13th September 2016

Audi TT RS: Review

With the Cayman down to four cylinders, is now the TT's time to shine?



Did you know the flagship Audi TT has a five-cylinder engine? And did you also know that its closest rival now has a four-cylinder engine, where it previously didn't? Of course you do, but that wasn't to stop Audi from forcing the point home on the TT RS launch event. There was a 90 IMSA GTO to pore over, engine cutaways, sound clips, a reminder of just how many awards it has won... Be in no doubt, Audi is keen to identify the 2.5-litre lump as the USP of the RS.

And why shouldn't it? Even after all these years - it has won its Engine of the Year category seven times in a row - it remains absolutely tremendous. For this car, the engine has shed 26kg thanks mainly to an aluminium crankcase (saving 18kg) but also lighter con-rods, lighter pistons and a new cylinder head as well; a useful saving given the fairly unfavourable distribution of mass. For reference the claimed kerbweight is 1,515kg for a Coupe to EU standards, against 1,570kg for a BMW M2 and 1,430kg for a 718 Cayman.

Neither of those engines has 400hp though, or such an ability to worm its way into your affections. Yes, even the BMW. While the Audi 2.5 may not feel quite as revvy as it may once have - the Porsche flat-four is probably a little keener in fact - the five-cylinder's combination of performance, usability, character and noise remains deeply endearing.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - go!
There's more lag than you'll notice in either the BMW or the Porsche, but then a fantastically exciting torrent of boost thereafter. Peak power is made from 5,850-7,000rpm, so you'll find yourself hanging onto gears to go faster and faster still. And for the noise, of course. Much like the RS3, Audi has ensured there will never be any doubt as to this car's cylinder count, regardless of whether you actually want people knowing or not. With the sport exhaust off, the TT RS is just a throttle prod away from every Mikkola-in-the-forest analogy you care to think of. With it on the noise becomes almost an onslaught; jolly good fun for a while, but the car actually sounds more authentic with it off.

So the engine is great. But that was largely a given. What was less assured was whether this second generation RS could make amends for the original five-pot TT's rather ordinary dynamics. Certainly it's where the M2 and Cayman, as well as perhaps an F-Type V6 Coupe, will be eager to claim back some ground.

The big news for this fast Audi is that the Quattro torque split is now included into the familiar drive select control. So on top of the usual dynamic parameters, the driver can now adjust how the power is distributed. This in addition to a new multi-plate clutch for the Quattro system, lighter than before and mounted at the back for better weight distribution. Sounds promising, doesn't it? Sadly this TT hasn't emulated its Ford Focus namesake; this is still a Haldex system and, regardless of Audi's claims, there's no situation where the driver senses 100 per cent of the torque going to either end. Torque vectoring is of the brake activated kind too, rather than a more proactive system.


Push/pull
On circuit the result is a car that feels - you've guessed it - largely dictated by its front. Even out of Jarama's slower corners, the RS feels much more to be pulling out through its front wheels rather than being pushed out from the back. Which isn't really all that fun. This isn't simply an unreasonable journalist demanding oversteer everywhere, but it means the car simply has very limited cornering options. You brake, you turn, you power out. Fast, certainly, and extremely competent, but nowhere near as engaging or rewarding as the other two. Sorry.

For the track cars, Audi didn't permit anything more than ESC Sport to be engaged. For those cars used on the road, everything could be turned off. Go figure. It doesn't reveal a whole new side to the dynamic character though, certainly at road speeds. With 255-section Pirelli P-Zero tyres, grip from the TT RS is huge and there's never any impression of that ceding. You brake, you turn, you power out.

That being said, on road and at a more sensible pace, the RS is entirely pleasant. The brakes aren't as snatchy as the typical fast VW fare, the gearbox is decisive enough (where it wasn't always on track) and it often feels more agile than that weight would suggest. And there's always that noise, of course.

All of the test cars were fitted with the optional magnetic dampers and 20-inch wheels. Though the dealer will probably advise against so for resale, it would seem wise to try the standard set up if possible. Certainly the ride improves with speed, but the low speed choppiness seems a bit much. Perhaps that's one to be sure of in the UK.


Points for style
But if these sound like familiar criticisms - yes, the steering is always a little numb too - then the TT RS also comes with many familiar (and very pleasant) attributes. The interior is, as expected, absolutely glorious, worthy of a car more expensive and comfortably ahead of both the BMW and the Porsche. Once you've finished admiring the cabin you'll notice the driving position is very good too, with the driver sat low and the wheel able to be pulled right out. It looks fantastic outside also. As a feelgood sports car experience, the combination of the quality, the powertrain and the styling will be enough for many customers, both returning and conquest.

As a sports car for drivers though, the TT RS still leaves something to be desired. There's no doubting the performance or the outright ability, but so much of the subjective charm that sports cars should possess - the involvement, the entertainment and the fun - isn't really there. That probably won't matter to many potential customers, but from a PH perspective the TT RS doesn't quite cut it. The M2 or a Cayman, the latter even with a four-cylinder engine, remain the more rewarding sports cars.


AUDI TT RS
Engine
: 2,480cc, five-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 400@5,850-7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 354@1,700-5,850rpm
0-62mph: 3.7sec
Top speed: 155mph (174mph optional)
Weight: 1,515kg (EU unladen)
MPG: 34.4 (NEDC combine)
CO2: 187g/km
Price: £51,800 (Coupe), £53,550 (Roadster)













Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

644 posts

143 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
The review conclusion come as no surprise but I'm sure it won't stop Audi from shifting a lot of these...

Dave Hedgehog

9,796 posts

129 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
The review conclusion come as no surprise but I'm sure it won't stop Audi from shifting a lot of these...
They had trouble shifting the last one, you could get monumental discounts of dealer demo's

it's one thing for a family hatch with a ballistic 5 pot to be a bit numb / push on the limit it's a very different thing for a sports car to do it

i used my RS3 as a daily for 5 years, i would take a caymen over the TT every single time even with the 4 pot

DM525i

75 posts

73 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Yet again another fine example of Audi selling a perception of a sports car when really it's just a fast re-bodied humdrum piece of kit. Who in there right minds would buy this over a Porsche or F Type?

daveco

3,402 posts

132 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
DM525i said:
Yet again another fine example of Audi selling a perception of a sports car when really it's just a fast re-bodied humdrum piece of kit. Who in there right minds would buy this over a Porsche or F Type?
Audi don't need to driver feedback as much as their competitors because then it would compete directly with the most profitable arm of their business, Porsche.

Porsche911R

13,222 posts

190 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
i used my RS3 as a daily for 5 years, i would take a caymen over the TT every single time even with the 4 pot
I don't get it, you ran a RS3 for 5 years but would taker a Cayman !!! seem you would take the RS3 lol
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Porsche911R

13,222 posts

190 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
DM525i said:
Who in there right minds would buy this over a Porsche or F Type?
me prob :-)

Cotic

469 posts

77 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
DM525i said:
Yet again another fine example of Audi selling a perception of a sports car when really it's just a fast re-bodied humdrum piece of kit. Who in there right minds would buy this over a Porsche or F Type?
The original one was a pretty little thing, to be fair. This version just looks too aggressive to even appeal to the folk that bought that one. Luckily for Audi there seem to be plenty of buyers for whom the traffic-light grand prix is the greatest test.

Adz The Rat

8,880 posts

134 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Porsche911R said:
me prob :-)
Me too, cant stand the F-Type and never really been a Cayman fan.

Im a big fan of the RS3 so cant wait to try this engine and the new Quattro distribution trick.

They will sell lots of these Im sure.

Dave Hedgehog

9,796 posts

129 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
DM525i said:
Yet again another fine example of Audi selling a perception of a sports car when really it's just a fast re-bodied humdrum piece of kit. Who in there right minds would buy this over a Porsche or F Type?
you can get dealer demo M4's for 52k, something else i would take before the TT

Dave Hedgehog

9,796 posts

129 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Porsche911R said:
Dave Hedgehog said:
i used my RS3 as a daily for 5 years, i would take a caymen over the TT every single time even with the 4 pot
I don't get it, you ran a RS3 for 5 years but would taker a Cayman !!! seem you would take the RS3 lol
different cars for different jobs

RS3 is a compact RS4/6, an A - B family car in any weather at hyper speed

sports cars should be bought for the purity and enjoyment of actual driving

IMO of course

if you want to be the "big dog" 52k gets you a decent GTR

sidesauce

Original Poster:

644 posts

143 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
sidesauce said:
The review conclusion come as no surprise but I'm sure it won't stop Audi from shifting a lot of these...
They had trouble shifting the last one, you could get monumental discounts of dealer demo's

it's one thing for a family hatch with a ballistic 5 pot to be a bit numb / push on the limit it's a very different thing for a sports car to do it

i used my RS3 as a daily for 5 years, i would take a caymen over the TT every single time even with the 4 pot
Yes because Audi only sell this car in the market you're from. Come on, look past the UK!

Jam12321

143 posts

35 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
'The interior is, as expected, absolutely glorious, worthy of a car more expensive'

What world do you live in? i have sat in a couple of these and there is plenty of cheap plastic to be found - couple years down the line and the screens in place of the dials will look very old..


Dave Hedgehog

9,796 posts

129 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
es because Audi only sell this car in the market you're from. Come on, look past the UK!
i believe those markets also get porsche, jaguar and bmw products wink


Leo-RS

281 posts

82 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Jam12321 said:
'The interior is, as expected, absolutely glorious, worthy of a car more expensive'

What world do you live in? i have sat in a couple of these and there is plenty of cheap plastic to be found - couple years down the line and the screens in place of the dials will look very old..
You've sat in a new model TTRS? How have you managed to do that considering they were only released to the press on Monday?

Why will the screens look very old in a couple of years time? They are digital dashes and can be updated through a software update to keep up to date with the times. You mean the screen resolution? The screens in the first TT's released back in 2014 still look very modern today in 2016, same dash being used in the new R8's.

These screens may need an update in about 2022, just the same way the dashes from 2010 could do with an up date today.

On the straights, a 718 Cayman will look like a lethargic hamster next to this TTRS. The 718 looks awful from the rear end, it has no presence, you can tell its the baby in the entire Porsche range and that has always put me off the low end Porsche's. GT4 an exception, they look a lot better. TTRS is far more practical also and wins hands down there too.
Performance - TTRS
Practicality - TTRS
Engine - TTRS
Sound - TTRS
Traction - TTRS
Drifting - Cayman
Fuel Economy - Cayman (Just) 34.9mpg vs 34.4mpg

345hp in 2016/17 just doesn't cut the mustard in a £50k+ performance sports car. The TTRS's power output is just about right at 400hp and will no doubt be pushed up to 420 when the eventual + model is released. I'd be mega pis*ed not being able to keep up with a Golf R in my new 718.

Edited by Leo-RS on Wednesday 14th September 12:55

Dave Hedgehog

9,796 posts

129 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Leo-RS said:
Why will the screens look very old in a couple of years time? They are digital dashes and can be updated through a software update to keep up to date with the times. You mean the screen resolution? The screens in the first TT's released back in 2014 still look very modern today in 2016, same dash being used in the new R8's.

These screens may need an update in about 2022, just the same way the dashes from 2010 could do with an up date today.
How many people wear digital watches? Why do people spend thousands on analogue watches when a £10 casio is vastly more accurate?

GroundEffect

10,513 posts

81 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Leo-RS said:
You've sat in a new model TTRS? How have you managed to do that considering they were only released to the press on Monday?

Why will the screens look very old in a couple of years time? They are digital dashes and can be updated through a software update to keep up to date with the times. You mean the screen resolution? The screens in the first TT's released back in 2014 still look very modern today in 2016, same dash being used in the new R8's.

These screens may need an update in about 2022, just the same way the dashes from 2010 could do with an up date today.

On the straights, a 781 Cayman will look like a lethargic hamster next to this TTRS. The 781 looks awful from the rear end, it has no presence, you can tell its the baby in the entire Porsche range and that has always put me off the low end Porsche's. GT4 an exception, they look a lot better. TTRS is far more practical also and wins hands down there too.

Performance TTRS
Practicality TTRS
Engine TTRS
Sound TTRS
Drifting - Cayman

Edited by Leo-RS on Tuesday 13th September 11:51
It sounds more like 'Driving - Cayman'. Balance is very, very important to the enjoyment in a car. Even at road speeds.


Limpet

2,536 posts

86 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Like most Audis, it's a lovely "thing" with a very high standard of fit and finish. And it's fast in a straight line, will cover ground incredibly quickly and without drama, and it makes a great noise. That will probably be enough for pretty much everyone who is likely to buy one. I have a sneaking suspicion that the finer points of balance or what it behaves like at nine tenths and above are simply not relevant to most people who buy Audi TTs.

I'd say this is Audi showing that it knows its customers.

Leo-RS

281 posts

82 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
A bit like comparing a Nokia 3310 to an iphone 7 Dave, both will do the same thing in respects to calling and texting but the iphone 7 will do a lot more and look a lot fresher.

The new digital screens have satnav in the cluster for example so you don't need to look at a separate centre screen. These new digital display dashes are in a lot of todays new supercars, a sign of things to come for all makes and models of cars going forward over the next 10yrs I would say. The benefit they have is that they are software driven and easily customisable and changeable.

Leo-RS

281 posts

82 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Limpet said:
Like most Audis, it's a lovely "thing" with a very high standard of fit and finish. And it's fast in a straight line, will cover ground incredibly quickly and without drama, and it makes a great noise. That will probably be enough for pretty much everyone who is likely to buy one. I have a sneaking suspicion that the finer points of balance or what it behaves like at nine tenths and above are simply not relevant to most people who buy Audi TTs.

I'd say this is Audi showing that it knows its customers.
Got it in 1.

95% of the general driving population will never ever visit a race track to exploit a cars handling capabilities. On the roads, trying to push a car to the extremes to induce under/oversteer to heighten enjoyment is a lot more foolish than planting the loud pedal and hitting 3 figures in a straight line.

All this Nurburgring laptime handling understeering nonsense that's spouted by motoring journos really has no relevance to 95% of the driving population.

Audi cars are planted, they may not be the most exciting to drive but for people like me, my excitement comes from speed and acceleration, not drifting or inducing lift off oversteer. I absolutely detested my F10 M5 for example, I gave the rear wheel drive thing a go and I was that pi**ed at its lack of traction from 10/20mph I got rid of it and back into Audi Quattro traction (RS6 C7) after only 3 months.

Audi know their market extremely well I would say. Rumours of the next M5 going X drive too, will surely give the motoring journos something to bump their gums about.

Edited by Leo-RS on Tuesday 13th September 12:26

Porsche911R

13,222 posts

190 months

Tuesday 13th September 2016
quotequote all
Dave Hedgehog said:
sports cars should be bought for the purity and enjoyment of actual driving
I don't think any new cars offer the "purity" you talk about, it's all turbos, rear wheel braking into corners and automatics these days, along with EPS !