Review: Audi TT RS (2016)
Powered by the great sounding 2.5-litre engine with power upped to 400PS. Has a real feel-good factor. Virtual cockpit as standard. Available as a coupe or Roadster.
Very firm ride means it's uncomfortable on poor roads.
Audi TT RS (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £54,895, brokers can source from £49,562
- Contract hire deals from £623.94 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 37–46
- On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure
With list prices of more than £50,000, the TT RS competes with some of the best sports cars around. The obvious being the Porsche 718 Cayman S and Boxster S. That's no easy task given how good the Porsche is so why choose the TT RS?
Well when it comes to power, Audi has upped its game. While the engine may be the same, it now delivers no less than 400PS. The equivalent Porsche 'only' has 350PS while the BMW M2 has 370PS.
So when it comes to big numbers, the TT RS is out in front. It's also quick, on paper at least, with a 0-62mph time of just 3.7 seconds. But that's only half the story. There's more to the TT RS than just power.
For starters there's the sound it creates. That 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine is one of the best around, in both character and noise. Go for the optional £1000 sports exhaust and it sounds even better. There's no manual option - only the dual-clutch S tronic - but the steering-wheel paddles mean you can control the shifts.
As you'd expect, it comes with quattro four-wheel drive which delivers superb traction. Which brings us to the handling - the TT RS is immense through corners with perfectly weighted steering, while the low centre of gravity and stiff body mean pretty much zero body roll. It's further helped by wheel-selective torque control, so that the RS never scrabbles for grip.
It's not a raw performance car though. The TT RS is just as easy to drive in town as a family hatchback. You can leave it in D and just potter about. Although the noisy exhaust isn't going to impress the neighbours when you come home late at night. But it's still a performance car that you can live with day to day.
The ride lets it down though. Audi has seemingly given the TT RS a more 'driver-focussed' feel by stiffening the suspension. The result is a ride that's busy and jittery over anything but a smooth road. So it's fine on a new bit of dual carriageway, but very uncomfortable on your average country lane. So much so that it's hard to drive quickly, as the TT RS fidgets over the road. Which is a shame as ride quality and good handling don't have to be mutually exclusive - as the Porsche 718 proves.
That's not quite enough to detract from the enjoyment of the TT RS. The 2.5-litre engine gives it great character and we like the subtle rather than over the top styling. If you want one of the best cars Audi makes - this is it.
What does a Audi TT RS (2016) cost?
Audi TT RS (2016): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 305–712 litres
Considering how good the interior of the standard TT is, Audi hasn't had to change much for the RS version. It has the same impeccable quality feel with some neat additions such as the red engine start/stop button on the steering wheel with the drive select button on the opposite side.
It's all about giving the TT RS 'driver focus' apparently which supposedly explains all the carbon fibre and alcantara trim on the steering wheel. Because as we all know, nothing says 'performance' like the slightly odd feel of alcantara.
The rest of the cabin echoes the rest of the TT range. So you get a low slung driving position and high central tunnel to give you that cockpit feel, plus there's plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat. The back seats in the coupe are pretty useless, but at least give you extra room for chucking in bags. Go for the Roadster and those disappear, plus there's not much in the way of boot space. But the TT is not a car you buy for practicality.
What it does do well is innovation. Audi has ditched the big dash-mounted screen, instead the controls for the climate control are incorporated into the circular vents. And the rest of the information is displayed in the instrument cluster. It's what Audi calls the 'virtual cockpit' and it comes as standard on the TT RS.
This gives you a big colour screen instead of traditional dials and there are several different configurations, so you can have the digital speedo as the main display or usefully, the navigation. It's fairly easy to control via the MMI dial on the central tunnel and the display copes well in bright sunshine.
TT RS models get 19-inch polygon design alloy wheels in galvanised silver, RS-specific quattro permanent all-wheel drive, RS brake system, RS Sport suspension, Audi Drive Select with 4 modes – ‘Auto’, ‘Comfort’, ‘Dynamic’ and an ‘Individual’ mode, Twin-pipe RS exhaust system with oval tailpipes, progressive steering – increases the vehicle’s agility when cornering and reduces steering work when parking – can be configured via Audi Drive Select thanks to variable steering ratio Lighting, LED headlights with LED rear lights and dynamic rear indicators Exterior, RS body styling, TT RS fixed rear wing, Aluminium-look door mirrors, super sport seats in Fine Nappa leather with ‘TT RS’ embossing, heated front seats, Isofix child seat mounting on front passenger seat and outer rear seats, TT RS 3-spoke leather and Alcantara flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel with 2 satellite buttons for engine start/stop and Audi Drive Selec, TT RS exhaust sound button in centre console, navigation system integrated into the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit to offer 3D map display and the MMI touch-sensitive control panel
Child seats that fit a Audi TT RS (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Audi TT RS (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from 2.5 TFSI 400 quattro to 2.5 TFSI quattro S tronic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 28–30 mpg
Push the neat steering-wheel mounted engine start button and the TT RS immediately comes to life. The 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine - carried over from the previous TT RS - is as characterful as ever.
It creates a wonderful sound and it's hard to resist acting like a pre-pubescent teenager and blipping the throttle while you're sat there. In the coupe it's great but go for the Roadster and you get the full thunderous effect.
When it comes to the 'feelgood factor', the TT RS creates it straight from the off. That said, once you're on the move it quietens down as to not be too obtrusive. So if you're going to be sat cruising on the motorway, the noise shouldn't turn into a headache-inducing drone.
There's an exhaust button on the dash, so you can make everything that bit louder if you want the full on 'sports' experience. Indeed, if you own a TT RS, chances are a big part of the appeal is the sound it makes as much as the performance it offers.
And talking of performance, the TT RS is not short on that front. Power from the 2.5 TFSI engine has risen to 400PS - up from the original 340PS of the previous model. And that was hardly what you'd call slow. This brings the 0-62mph time down to 3.7 seconds (3.9 seconds for the Roadster) and the throttle response is every inch as swift as you'd imagine.
It means gaining speed is incredibly easy. Great for overtaking slower traffic but it's easy to look down at the speedo and realise you're doing a much bigger speed than you thought...
The quattro four-wheel drive system means superb traction. Which is handy for an engine with 480Nm of torque. You'll appreciate this pulling out of a tricky junction in the wet but it really comes into its own on a quiet country lane. It means you can pitch the TT RS into a tight bend - there's huge levels of grip by the way - and it will pull away from without scrabbling for traction or trying to spin the rear end round into the nearest tree.
What lets the TT down is the ride quality. Yes this is a high performance coupe but that driving enjoyment and ride quality don't have to be mutually exclusive. As the Porsche 718 Cayman proves. The TT RS goes down the 'uncomprosing' route with a ride that's on the uncomfortable side of stiff.
That's fine if your drive to work takes you round the Nurburging. But considering most people drive on normal roads, the ride quality soon begins to grate. On a country lane - which is the kind of road you'll want to take to the TT RS on - the stiff ride means it's not that easy to drive quickly as the car jolts and jumps over potholes and uneven surfaces.
|2.5 TFSI 400 quattro||34–35 mpg||3.7 s||181–189 g/km|
|2.5 TFSI quattro S tronic||34–35 mpg||3.7–3.9 s||181–189 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Audi TT RS (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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