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In-depth reviews

Audi TT RS review - Engines, performance and drive

The cracking five-cylinder engine makes all the right noises, while the chassis provides plenty of control and grip

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.2 out of 5

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The Audi TT RS is surely one of the fastest ways of getting from A to B, thanks to its blistering acceleration and the phenomenal grip provided by fat sticky tyres and its quattro four-wheel-drive system.

That said, in contrast with the balance and poise provided by the Porsche 718 Cayman, the TT RS has a more brutal feel. The front-engined layout means there’s lots of weight in the nose, and carrying too much speed into a corner will see it gently push wide. The chassis doesn’t easily give you the flexibility to alter the car’s line on  the throttle or brakes either. The upshot is a car that’s easy to drive stupidly fast, but a skilled driver will likely enjoy the extra involvement of the Cayman more – even if the Audi driver makes slightly faster time.

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Given its astonishing performance, the ride quality of the TT RS is excellent. With the optional Magnetic ride suspension, the damping is fluid and supple in spite of the car’s lower ride height and stiff springs. It can jar over rough surfaces, but in general the ride quality is well composed, which will be satisfying to owners using their cars on a daily basis.

There’s only one transmission option in the RS, and it’s a rapid-fire dual-clutch DSG unit that flicks seamlessly through its seven ratios as quickly as you can blink. Set the TT RS into Dynamic mode using the standard Audi Drive Select system, and it will bang through the gearbox with a cacophony of pops and crackles from the tailpipes.

Engines

Audi has a history of producing wonderfully characterful five-cylinder engines, and the 2.5-litre unit developed for the TT RS is a cracker. It’s now also available in the RS 3 Sportback and Saloon, making the same 395bhp and 480Nm of torque – all of it available from 1,700rpm. It’s actually the most powerful five-cylinder engine ever found in an Audi road car, and it blasts the TT RS to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a maximum of 175mph. That means the car is a little faster off the line than even some of the old R8 models.

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