The Audi TT has been a frequent sight on our roads for two-decades and now, in its third generation, has never looked so good – recently we got to drive the epitome of TT, in a package known as the TTRS.
For me, the last two letters of the badge that adorns the rear of this German beauty, stand for nothing more than ‘Really Special’ – as to be honest, the TTRS is just that!
However, the purists right now will be spitting at their screens with the actual meaning so I best let you all know.
Audi’s ‘RS’ range – meaning ‘RennSport’ which equates to ‘Racing Sport’ is a part of the ‘Audi-Sport’ family, combining supercar performance with everyday practicality in a way that few others can manage.
The Audi RS family has grown to be quite large too, from humble beginnings in the early nineties with the RS2 Avant, it has developed into a brood to be proud of for Audi.
From the not so family friendly TTRS – which is available also as a convertible for those who enjoy going topless – the range moves up in size and practicality to the RS3 [read our review here] which is available in saloon or hatchback – affording it to a few lifestyles.
RS range then moves to the incredibly sleek and stylish RS5 Coupe alongside the similarly shaped RS7 sportback which offers a bit more usability with a pair of rear doors. It is then onto the most popular and I guess the icons of Audi RS in the guise of their super-practical estate cars – starting with the RS4 and its larger sibling, the RS6, suiting those who need to transport big loads in a hurry.
That’s enough rambling about the range however and its back to that ‘Really Special’ TT, finished in this instance in Vegas Yellow – an option meaning you will never lose your beloved car in the supermarket car park again and one that makes you stand out from the crowd.
The general silhouette of Audi’s TT hasn’t changed much over the years, an attribute that is appealing – I mean, why change a good thing when you can simply just improve on it, bringing it more in line with automotive trends, safety and the signature styling that keeps the Audi range looking as one.
LED lighting (including the £800 optional OLED rear lights) and a matt aluminium styling pack (£800 option) feature alongside 19” alloy wheels behind which, lurk eye-watering ceramic brakes – not eye-watering at the sheer size and beauty, more at the £4,695 price tag attached to them.
Starting at £52,450 – this model tested thanks to Audi UK, has quite a few extras fitted, most of which I will touch on during this article but the final, on-the-road price comes in at £62,815 for what you see in the images.
If you want one, you need to be patient as the waiting list on a new order is sitting at around 12 months for delivery and with no direct all-wheel-drive competitor I guess you could say that the TT is in a class of its own and worth the wait.
That said – BMW’s M2 and Porsche’s Cayman S are comparable.
On lifting the boot, a sufficient load-space is on offer, enough room for a couple of weekend bags, a spaniel and most certainly enough room for a couple of fuel cans and helmets for those adventurous enough to exploit the TTRS’s ability on track.
Inside, the TTRS is as plush as one would expect from a premium brand like Audi featuring a mass of leather and Alcantara with contrasting cross-stitching throughout the cabin. The seats fitted in this model tested are the electrically adjustable, nappa leather option costing £800.
It is money well spent nonetheless as not only do they look absolutely sublime, but offer every bit of support you would expect from such a sports car. Rear seating is present but isn’t much use for anything other than a chihuahua or designer handbag.
It’s a minimal affair inside the TTRS with design I have never seen before, something that fascinates me and something that you can see in the photo below – this design allows the centre of the vents in the middle of the dash to not only display your climate settings, but also act as the adjustment dials and push button controls too.
For the outermost vents, the same area is utilised as illuminated push button controls for the heated seating up-front – this idea may not seem like much to most of you, but I found it rather appealing and shows some manufacturers are thinking outside the box.
Many modern Audi’s feature an electrically retractable screen that protrudes from the centre of the dash and looks very much like a cheap afterthought, the TTRS however – bins this in favour of using only Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
All of the infotainment including sat nav and phone connectivity, along with vehicle data etc is all visible via the full-colour, digital display behind the steering wheel and proves there really is no need for the pop-up screen that usually features alongside the virtual cockpit.
Music is provided in a cinema-like, surround-sound fashion via the Bang & Olufsen audio system but to be honest, I could live without anything but Bluetooth in the TTRS as it has an awesome soundtrack of its own, via the RS Sport exhaust system (£1,000 option) making the five-cylinder power-plant a little more vocal.
Stemming back to Audi’s rallying exploits in the eighties, it is great to see a large capacity five-cylinder engine still being used today – in this case the 2.5L TFSi unit producing a whopping 400PS with 480Nm being put to the ground via a 7-speed twin-clutch ‘S-Tronic’ transmission and Audi’s much-admired Quattro, all-wheel-drive system.
Audi’s TTRS is a proper fast car, capable of a 0-62mph sprint in a mere 3.7seconds (putting this into perspective, its just half a second slower than Audi’s pinnacle of speed, the R8 V10 which costs much more than double the TTRS) with a top speed of 155mph whilst still returning a combined mpg of something in the low 30’s but in the real world, I’d not personally expect to see anything over 30mpg.
Driving the TTRS is a joy, and via the RS Sport suspension with Audi Magnetic Ride (£995 option) isn’t as firm and uncomfortable on the road as you may expect for this type of vehicle. Various drive modes and the suspension can all be dialled in via ‘Drive Select’ button on the steering wheel.
Being well refined for day-to-day living, the TTRS becomes incredibly sporty when required and is a true gem with only one complaint, something that many all-wheel-drive cars suffer from, and that is understeer.
On a few ‘hot laps’ of a roundabout during my test, the front wheels didn’t do much of what I was asking of them and it begs the question, does the TTRS have the option of split width wheels – the fronts being wider, like can be done on the RS3 to shun such characteristics?
If so, then i can’t really think of a car, offering all the practicalities of modern motoring that can provide as much fun as the TTRS and in all fairness, only a heavy track user would notice the benefit of the wider fronts, if available – so for anyone driving the TTRS only on the roads, it is just fine as it is, ,out of the box.
Audi offer a 3-year / 60,000 mile warranty, 3-year paint warranty and a 12-year anti-perforation warranty with servicing needing carried out every other year of 19,000 miles (whichever comes first).
I have always been a fan of the RS3 sportback which shares the same engine, but I must admit, the TTRS has won me over and is quite possibly my most wanted Audi at present – well done!
Words and Photos: Graham Curry
[images must not be used in any way without prior written consent of the photographer]