2018 Audi TT RS: Germany's Little Coupe Bulks Up

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2018 audi tt rs germany s little coupe bulks up

Math was never this writer’s strong suit, but it’s easy to work out what the looming Audi TT RS means for its occupants: 100 horsepower per passenger. (Does anyone ever venture to that abbreviated backseat?)

That’s right, Audi’s smallest offering will gain an impressive amount of brawn when the new-for-2018 RS variant bows at the New York International Auto Show. It also grows an extra cylinder.

Five-cylinder engines, once rare, are now a threatened oddity, but Audi’s new 2.5-liter TFSI unit sounds like a peach. With 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque on tap, it should satisfy those buyers who forked over a pile of extra cash to get themselves out of an MX-5.

Audi claims the TT RS should make the 0-60 mph run in 3.6 seconds. That’s a full second faster than the model’s closest cousin, the 292 hp TTS, and far and away faster than the entry-level 220 hp TT. In calling its horsepower and acceleration “class leading,” Audi references the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S, 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C and 2017 BMW M2 as competitors.

The automaker’s newest five-banger features an aluminum block, a lighter crankshaft and a magnesium oil pan, shedding 57 pounds over its predecessor. Finessed for low-friction operation, the unit’s peak torque is accessible at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm. Couple that with an all-wheel-drive system that can send 100 percent of available power to the rear wheels, and you’ll have angry anonymous letters filling your mailbox in no time.

All that newfound power flows through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, mated to a launch control program.

Top speed grows to 155 mph, or 174 with the available Dynamic plus package. To keep the TT RS between the lines — or on the runway — Audi has bestowed its RS magnetic ride system on all TT RS models. A sport suspension option exists for those worried the vehicle might be too soft.

When the fun’s over, eight-piston monoblock brake calipers clamp down on 370 mm ventilated and cross-drilled discs. Should that sound inadequate, carbon-ceramic discs are just a checkbox away.

Audi has topped off the package with enlarged air intakes, a fixed rear wing spoiler and larger exhaust ports. Naturally, moving up from a four to a five-cylinder won’t come cheap. The 2018 TT RS stickers for $68,875 after delivery. Compare that to the $44,475 needed to enter the TT line, or the $53,475 demanded for a TTS.

Audi TT RS models should be available this spring, ready to tempt deep-pocketed members of the TT fan club and (it hopes) bring new eyes to the lineup. The automaker’s little 2+2 isn’t as hot a seller as it was at launch, though last year’s sales tally — 3,044 — was its best U.S. showing since 2008.

[Images: Audi of America]

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  • Scott25 Scott25 on Apr 05, 2017

    For sure what I would drive if I won the lottery, probably spending some extra money eliminating the body kit. A TT, M235i or an F-Type are the only "sports cars" from premium brands I could ever see myself driving. I would never have the balls to buy a used TT, even though I like everything about all three generations. Maybe since I'd only be buying an automatic it wouldn't have been driven as hard over its life...maybe... Plus I'd rather just drive a GTI or Golf R since I prefer hatchbacks and more introverted styling.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Apr 06, 2017

    Audi's gonna sell tens of these!

    • Ccd3 Ccd3 on Apr 06, 2017

      For MY12-13, Audi exported 1200-1300 TT RSs to the USA. Back then, the car listed around $58,000 and you could get one loaded with every option for less than the new $68,000 asking price. Given a $10,000 price jump and all the competition (Cayman, F Type, Vette, etc), the RS will have its work cut out for it in terms of achieving market share. It won't be 10s, but it could be 100s.

  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the dot.com bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗
  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!