Audi has done a cracking job on the second-gen TT coupe. In standard dress with pocket protector, the 2.0-liter TFSI front-driver gets the nod over the heavier and underpowered 3.2 V6 Quattro. But add an evil red Abt supercharger to the V6 and it's a whole different deal.

All the great German tuners are coming out with TT programs this year and I've tried them all. But, deep inside, I knew I was waiting for the Abt-Sportsline 8J 3.2 treatment, called the TT-R after the DTM all-conquering racer that vaulted Abt into the big league. I love the sound of superchargers whining and I want 355 horses thumping from my TT.

The savants in Kempten start out with a client's 8J TT 3.2 VR6 and even strip the Audi Magnetic Ride suspension-should the client want the full-TT-R treatment. This includes Abt's Height Adjustable suspension kit which lowers the TT-R by as much as two inches versus the standard TT. Years of experience in the knock-down, drag-out DTM racing scene have made this upgrade a must for a mature and manly TT. The taut springs and perfectly balanced shocks (adjustable for height, rebound and pressure) have given the ride of my life. The balance between stability, comfort, and responsiveness is the best I've felt in a car like this.

Now to that all-important 355 hp peaking at 6700 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque more or less flat from 4000 rpm up to 6600 (the base car hits 250 hp at 6300 rpm and dishes roughly 236 lb-ft between 2700 and 3500 rpm). Apart from the obligatory ECU shenanigans, power and torque spikes are due mainly to the red supercharger, large Abt front-mounted intercooler, and a black CRP airbox from Abt. The company refuses to reveal its supplier for that gorgeous red turbine tube (does the 'FK 102 1002' stamped on the turbine housing give it away?), but claims maximum boost pressure of 8.7 psi at full jam. How the car launches in the mid-range and holds onto it for overtaking is huggable stuff.

What isn't so huggable in this current set-up is the standard S Tronic six-speed box (read: DSG), together with the sluggish throttle uptake of the standard 3.2 TT. At these power and twist levels, there should be a snappier response, even if the TT-R weighs some 132 pounds more than the already big-boned base car. Regardless of the fact that estimated acceleration from zero to 62 mph in the TT-R is 5.1 seconds (vs. 5.7 seconds on the standard car), delivery could be better. The S Tronic is all over the place, upshifting and downshifting at every wrong point. With the 'box in 'S' it should hold each gear right up to the limiter, forcing the driver to shift. Getting up in the gears and keeping the throttle constant around 6000 rpm is the only solution. A pity, but perfection would cost a fortune. Abt at least makes S Tronic shift moments more brilliant by taking just 200 milliseconds on full throttle. True and serious TT-R clients must go for the manual six-speed, side-stepping this issue, even though acceleration will add a couple of tenths.

The TT-R aero package front and rear is all polyurethane. While the default angle on the fixed rear wing and pounds of added downforce front and rear via said wing and front splitter remain trade secrets, the attractive rear wing's width is 54.3 inches. In combination with the sensational comp suspension, intensely happy autobahn cruising happens at an effortless indicated top speed of 168 mph. The Abt-look 9x20 AR20 wheels with 255/30 extra-load ContiSportContact 3 tires, and an offset at all corners of 1.6 inches, do a perfect job of giving great road-hugging stance.

It stops with authority. Inside all four wheels is a drilled disc and eight-piston caliper arrangement supplied by the racing gurus at Movit. All discs measure 15 inches in diameter and 1.33 inches in width, so there is a veritable football field of swept surface to distribute friction while slaloming through curves and occasionally swearing at the S Tronic tranny.

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