The first Audi RS model to appear in the United States in three years, the TT RS extends a grand performance coupe lineage first established by the now-legendary Sport Quattro in the mid '80s. It incorporates three distinct facets of that lineage: the RS nameplate, designating it as the pinnacle of the TT line; Quattro all-wheel drive; and the return of a turbocharged, inline five-cylinder engine.
The engine, a transversely mounted 2.5-liter unit, produces a peak of 360 hp at 5500 rpm, and peak torque of 343 lb-ft that stretches from 1650 to 5400 rpm. This five-cylinder power unit is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox-the S tronic automated manual will not be available in the American market. Still, Audi claims the TT RS can run to 60 mph from rest in a tick over four seconds, nearly a second quicker than the TTS, and all the way up to a top speed of 174 mph.
The TT RS chassis incorporates a hybrid aluminum-and-steel body structure, 69% and 31%, respectively, making the overall unibody almost 50% lighter than an all-steel construct. This Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology keeps overall weight relatively low and allows the RS model to tip the scales at 3,306 pounds.
Model-specific design elements include a gloss-black, diamond pattern Singleframe grille and large corner air inlets, an optional fixed rear wing (which can be deleted in favor of the standard speed-deployed TT fin), oval exhaust pipes, unique 19-inch "Rotor" wheels, prominent body sills and side mirror housings in a matte aluminum finish. The interior features RS-exclusive accoutrements like the contoured three-spoke steering wheel, aluminum door sills, and RS-specific door handles.
Trim options include Silk Nappa leather or leather with Alcantara accents, titanium-look Rotor design wheels or gloss-black Rotor design wheels with red accents, as well as new paint options that include Panther Black crystal effect and Suzuka Grey metallic. The Audi TT RS is on sale now, with a starting MSRP of just under $57,000 (excluding destination charges and tax).
2012 Audi TT RS
Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive
2.5-liter I5, dohc, 20-valve, turbocharged
Power: 360 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 343 lb-ft @ 1650 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.1 sec.
Top Speed: 174 mph