Imagine cruising down the strip in your new R8, checking out the chicks and looking pretty damned slick in surely the finest car ever to wear an Audi badge. Then, just for a second, think about the derisory glance you'd give this kitted-out TT pulling alongside at the lights. And then envisage your world falling apart as this pocket rocket rammed that sense of smug self-satisfaction down your throat and blew your baby off the road.
Because, with a power-to-weight ratio closer to a Lamborghini than anything in its own family, MTM's supercharged TT V6 is faster than the supercar that has won over the world-much faster. Of course, company boss Roland Mayer can't make those claims too loudly. So a copy of a German car magazine is generally not far from straying eyes, left open at the relevant page, as their independent tests show the R8 beaten to the tune of 0.5 seconds to 62 mph-a lifetime, in other words.
This is a company that knows everything there is to know about the TT, having created the near-dangerous Bimoto from the original blobby Audi and scheduled to go for the 400-kph (248.56 mph) landmark speed record for tuners.
Thanks to a low-pressure supercharger grafted to the 3.2-liter V6, the RTT has all the power of the R8 and more torque, without the bulging hips. Take that side stripe from Audi's supercar and suddenly the body boasts all the definition of Fatty Arbuckle on a cream cake diet. This 3430-pound whippet could hide in big brother's shadow without losing any of the impact.
That front spoiler makes room for bigger air vents to feed the voracious supercharger. Even the R8 doesn't have such vicious blades, ready to slice 'n' dice cars in front. It has become a popular look with TT tuners, ditching the delicate lines in favor of sledgehammer-style subtlety. As for the back-well, that's pure car porn.
Visible exhaust cans and menacing pipes housed within that low-slung rear apron take the smooth, chic, elegant TT and give it muscle, machismo and the clear message that it's about to rip you a new one. Naked carbon-fiber blades on those spoilers would have made it something truly special, but then with a body kit that costs just $2,700 front and rear, that would be too much to ask.
The engine conversion is an altogether more costly process. But it would be, as the MTM supercharger has turned a civilized coupe into a borderline psychopath when the throttle is well and truly dropped. It will blast past 62 mph in 4.1 seconds, 125 mph in 15.3. And it will barely pause for breath until it bangs into the sixth gear limiter at 175 mph. That's the only chance the R8 would have to catch up, and the RTT would be a long way down the road.
Crucially, it feels stupid-fast even when compared to the benign big brother. Plant the gas and every wheel bounces wildly off the all-wheel drive and ESP like an espresso-fuelled hyperactive child as both systems are stretched to the limits. Every nuance is transmitted into the cabin through the seductive twitches and noises as the computers fight to contain 415 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. It sounds like a major breakdown in a sewing factory.
Clattering onto the bridge leading from the track (at three times the suggested speed limit), the front wheels take off and spin violently before finding traction and ripping down the road-all this going on as the driver tries to register what's just happened. The S-tronic 'box is limited, incidentally, and a manual transmission could access another 20 hp. But this version will always be faster, thanks to gearchanges that happen as fast as an eye-blink.
Without all the gadgets reining it in, the car would slide right off the map. Had it not been for strict orders not to play the fool on our brief foray to Hockenheim circuit, the RTT would have needed a new set of Michelin Pilot Sports on its return. The front tires show just how hard the rubber is working-they've folded right over onto the sidewalls. Stiffer suspension would have resisted such tomfoolery, and Mayer will comply if you want. MTM can strip the interior, fit a fire extinguisher and provide a 2860-pound honest-to-goodness rocket. But on this model, MTM ignored the obvious temptation to drop the car to the bumpstops and left Audi's suspension alone. That keeps the price below $98,250. It also means this machine won't bounce off those 19-inch Bimoto rims, grind its splitter away to dust or break the driver's spine on anything with a less-than-perfect surface.
This is the TT gone wild, the reason for knocking on Roland Mayer's door, but it is a super sports car without the grief. There's no folding yourself into the seat, no petrol fumes drawing tears from your eyes and, surprisingly, no eardrum-splitting noise. The engine is loud and the rich 3.2-liter bristles to an aggressive, throbbing roar from those four 2.75-inch exit pipes, but it never truly invades the cabin and makes your ears bleed.
The brakes are beautifully balanced with a reservoir of genuine road use at the top of the pedal travel that bleeds off the speed. Stamp on the 15-inch fronts and 12-inch rears, though, and the car will simply stop and send your spleen flying into the car in front.
Driven with a modicum of self-control, this car is every bit as practical as the base TT. Driven like a lunatic, it will leave the R8 crying, shivering, and violated. In this trim, the baby of the line-up could bully the big boy. If you've bought an R8, we hope you still have the receipt.
Transverse front-engine, four-wheel drive
3.2-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve, MTM supercharger, intake, manifolds, metal catalysts and exhaust
F: 15-inch rotors
R: 12-inch rotors
*Wheels and Tires
MTM Bimoto, 9.5x19
Michelin Pilot Sport, 265/35
R8-style front and rear bumpers
Peak Power: 415 hp
Peak Torque: 368 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.1 sec.
Top Speed: 175 mph (limited)