For me, the TT, no matter what engine has been shoehorned into its britches, falls well short of the chin-jutting attitude exhibited by a car that I still associate with Walter Rohrl and Stig Blomqvist. However, I will concede that the RS's standing has undergone a tectonic shift since we took delivery. Much of it is to do with the repositioning of Neckarsulm's other contenders.
What has followed recently has not necessarily been for the worse - there's a fine argument which says that the new 2.9-litre V6 engined iterations of RS4 and 5 are better daily drivers than they've ever been - but you'd have to be supremely generous not to notice that some of the edginess has been judiciously planed away in the pursuit of a more rounded setup.
Well, alright, I'd probably say the RS3 because it has a proper boot, genuine back seats and is better looking - but you see where I'm heading. The TT, to its coupe-sized credit, is usefully lighter and lower than its hatchback sibling (and very marginally quicker, too) and, with the adaptive dampers optioned - as you must - I'm not so sure that it doesn't ride with slightly greater aplomb as well.
Factor in the impeccable interior and seemingly indestructible build quality, and you've got the Neckarsulm way in a nutshell - one that costs about £35k less than the retiring RS6 Performance. All of this was rather brought home to roost by a colleague (and self-confessed Audi obsessive) who returned from a weekend in the TT's company with a bemused look on his face. "What do you think," I asked. "It's exactly as I expected," he replied. "Brilliant."
Car: 2017 Audi TT RS
Run by: Nic Cackett
On fleet since: December 2017
Mileage: 4,271 (delivered on 894)
List price new: £50,615 ( As tested £61,080 comprising £550 for Catalunya Red paint, £1,695 for 20-inch '7-spoke rotor' design alloy wheels in matt titanium-look with diamond cut finish, £325 for brake calipers in red with RS logo at the front, £895 for RS Red Design Pack, £945 for Matrix LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic front and rear indicators, £250 for Audi Smartphone Interface, £1,000 for RS Sport exhaust system, £995 for RS Sport suspension with Audi Magnetic Ride, £800 for electrically adjustable front seats, £800 for Matrix OLED rear lights, £325 for Audi Phone Box with wireless charging, £1,830 for on the road costs and £55 for first registration fee)
Say hello to the 400hp TT