By on April 4, 2017

2018 Audi TT RS

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.

2018 Audi TT RS

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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31 Comments on “2018 Audi TT RS: Germany’s Little Coupe Bulks Up...”


  • avatar
    carnick

    No manual transmission = no interest for me.

    I know, I know… I keep reading about how few people want a manual transmission, at least in the U.S. But wouldn’t it be different for a performance sports car like this? And how about it, European enthusiasts – don’t enough of you still like driving to justify a manual for the world?

    Has it really come to this?

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      Carnick, I think the problem is: the people who can afford such a car, by and large, tend to live in bigger cities. Those cities have been getting more and more crowded each year, leading to worse and worse traffic congestion. Getting stuck in a traffic jam robs most of the joy of having a manual in the first place..

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        By that logic, getting stuck in traffic jams/congestion robs the joy of driving a sporty/performance car altogether, so why offer them?

        “My new Audi can do 0-60 in…never, but it sure gets up to 15 mph quick! SO glad I chose this performance car. You wouldn’t believe all the yellow Crown Vics I’ve taken with this beast!”

        • 0 avatar
          Shinoda is my middle name

          True story: My wife and I made are first (and probably last) trip to Manhattan in late 2015. While stuck in typical mid-town rush hour traffic, surrounded by other cabs (for us plebs) and livery cars (for the elites)and small delivery trucks, I spied a day-glow Lime Green Aventador. I thought to myself….that’s just showin’ off for showin’ off’s sake….why would you own and drive a car like that in Manhattan when you will likely NEVER get it out of second gear.

          New money. Sheesh.

    • 0 avatar
      TTCat

      Sadly it has – what’s worse is the initial 2018 TT RS test cars did have manuals and us “Audi-kins” got our hopes up, but it was not to be.

      One (of the many), reasons I still drive my 05 TT Q-Coupe is that the stick makes it a 1000 times more fun than the Mk3 TT/TTS (also DCT only), even though they are by any measure, far superior to my poor old Mk1…

      • 0 avatar
        RRocket

        Well why didn’t you buy a 2012 TT RS then? They were available in the US with a stick, weren’t they? I know in Canada they were. And despite having “only” 360HP, they did 0-60 in the same time as the new one.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    All the expense of a Porsche Cayman with none of the cache.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    TTCat

    Well Master Baiter, if the “caché” is important to you – to each, their own I guess…

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Nope, still spelled wrong. Finding the accent on a US keyboard sure is a pain, though.

      • 0 avatar
        TDIandThen....

        Alt+131 if I remember correctly. I used to have a little map by my keyboard but eventually switched to a multilingual.

        Now about a used TT Rs…is that as bad an idea as it sounds at first….

        • 0 avatar
          ccd3

          Not sure why it would be a bad idea. Have owned my TT RS for almost 3 years. Bought it used with about 18 months left on the warranty. I had one warranty repair (shock for the rear hatch went) and nothing but routine maintenance since then.

          • 0 avatar
            TDIandThen....

            Really, you’re not sure? It’s VAG, I assume some rich guy beat the crap out of it before me, and then sportscar reliability questions in my mind…. Still, I’ve had excellent reliability in my Golf too, and I believe you that it could be fine. I’m thinking the TT RS used vs a 944 turbo vs Golf R vs Volvo T6 R…mostly I just like to think though.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Character Map still exists in Windows, but MS have rather hidden it for a number of years. It’s easy enough to set it up as a desktop icon, though. It’s surprising how often it comes in handy, especially when dealing with foreign clients.

      • 0 avatar
        TTCat

        This is what I get for either trusting my auto-spell-checker dictionary in Word, or fat fingering the quote marks – oh well, maybe hiding places and perceived prestige are equally important to the Master…

  • avatar
    deanst

    In related news, the Cruze RS offers “RS lettering ornamentation” and black tires. Early feedback indicates that “real people” like it.

  • avatar
    Shinoda is my middle name

    IF there is a car that inspires lust in me in my advancing years, this is it. If there was any way in the world to string the right words together which would convince my loving wife, who indulges me in nearly every other way, that a TT would be in some way, shape, or form practical…..one of these Hungarian beauties would be in my garage.

    Yes, I know, “But Audi!”…. blah, blah, blah.

    Sometimes you want to drive something beautiful. No matter what the cost.

    • 0 avatar
      TTCat

      While it does go against the general anti-VAG sentiment in most places, I have been driving TTs for over 15 years, 135k miles or so on the first (bought new), 130k miles so far on the second, CPO, I have now – both have provided fantastic ownership experiences for me, YMMV…

    • 0 avatar
      ccd3

      Shinoda:

      Sometimes it is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. The first time my wife saw my TT RS was when I picked her up from the subway in the car. Cost me a few nights on the couch, but it was worth it.

      Not sure about the situation where you live, but used TT RS prices are relatively attractive in the USA and a Stage 1 SW upgrade will give you the same power as the new TT RS. You won’t get the virtual cockpit, but the previous gen TT RS has a standard double DIN head unit which is easily replaced with a much more modern unit.

      A used TT RS would probably require fewer nights on the couch! lol!

      • 0 avatar
        TTCat

        ccd3,

        Your response to my earlier comment about the Mk2 TT being a “generic Audi parts bin” effort is of course completely correct in regards to the RS, they certainly were not in any way “generic Audi“ mechanically speaking, and the ones I test drove back then were a blast. I was commenting from an exterior and interior design perspective, and strictly from my own point of view – cheers…

        • 0 avatar
          ccd3

          As for the interior, I doubt there is much difference between the RS and other TTs aside from a few RS badges.

          As for the exterior, I would have agreed with you before I bought this car. One of the surprises of owning a TT RS is how much street presence it has.

          BTW, the car is still a blast to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      slowcanuck

      I’m on my second year with a 2008 TT 3.2 6M and it’s a fun little machine that is actually super practical – for two people.

      I’ve had a couple of 6’6″+ coworkers in the car (separately, you are definitely not carrying a 3rd person over 5′ tall) and they fit fine. And with the hatch and small seats folded down, there is plenty of room in there for luggage and other stuff (it’s even capable of carrying hockey equipment if necessary).

      • 0 avatar
        ccd3

        The TT is one of the few sports cars that is actually quite practical..for two people. The front seats easily fit my 6’4″ cousin. The back seats are a joke, but once folded down, there is a ton of storage space for a sports car. I can easily fit two golf bags and a push cart or my 100 lb dog for a short trip to the park for a walk. Can’t think of any other sports car that even comes close to this.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      Perhaps you did not choose your wife as carefully as you chose your car? Choice of any car I wanted was negotiated prior to marriage (though I am not allowed a Corvette.)

      My wife was thrilled with our TT back when I bought it in 2001. She insisted on driving it home from the dealer, as she was afraid to drive the our then current car, a Supra Turbo, so I drove the Supra back. Of course, I got the first body damage to the TT that day when she put it in the garage.

      She still won’t put our current car, an A5, into our small garage.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd3

        On the contrary, I picked a wife who would let me get away with the stunt I pulled! loL! Don’t have to worry about her fitting the car into the garage because she cannot drive stick. I think I chose my wife rather well! lol!

  • avatar
    scott25

    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.

  • avatar

    Audi’s gonna sell tens of these!

    • 0 avatar
      ccd3

      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.


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