Audi TT RS (2016) Review

Audi TT RS (2016) At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
It might be bettered by some for outright agility and driver engagement, but there’s no denying that the the TT RS is a compelling all-rounder.

+Characterful and powerful engine, easy pace with plentiful and surefooted grip, practical yet desirable thanks in no small part to the beautiful interior.

-It’s just not as fun or as engaging as the best of its rivals, infotainment is fine if the driver wants to operate it less so if the passenger does.

New prices start from £54,895, brokers can source from £52,469
Insurance Groups are between 37–46
On average it achieves 85% of the official MPG figure

Audi’s current TT line-up is headed by the TT RS, those two letters turning Audi’s cool-looking coupe and roadster into a seriously capable performance car that’s got the power to humble rivals from Porsche, among others. Power comes from a turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 400PS, it driving all four-wheels via Audi’s quattro system and a twin-clutch paddle-shifted automatic transmission. It’s not just fast, either, the TT among the most useful of its coupe competition.

The Audi TT absolutely wowed when the original was launched back in 1999, and with the current, third-generation TT, Audi’s stuck with the same winning formula of head-turning looks, a 2+2 hatchback layout (in the coupe), quattro four-wheel drive and a range of engines to cover every expectation of performance.

The TT RS heads that line-up, it powered by a turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine, which is enough to give the TT serious firepower, it managing a 3.7 second 0-62mph time and onto an electronically limited 155mph maximum speed.

That can be raised to 174mph should you pay Audi a little bit extra, but unless your driveway’s the length of a runway, or your commute regularly takes Germany’s unrestricted autobahns, then it’s not really worth paying for. 

The TT RS provides plenty of performance then, its output putting among the most potent among its potential rivals, these including cars like the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman range, the BMW Z4 or M2 Competition or CS models, Toyota’s Supra, the Jaguar F-Type and, at the more purist end of potential rivals, cars like the Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise/Exige.

To get the sort of output the TT RS delivers with a Porsche badge on the bonnet you’ll be looking at the GTS or GT4 models, which still can’t match the plucky Audi against the clock, nor on the price lists. 


That makes the TT RS a compelling buy if outright power and pace is your goal, but for all the big numbers associated with it, the TT RS lacks the sort of fine agility and engagement of the best of its competition.

That won’t bother many, though, as while it might not be quite as engaging, it’s a lot more useable than the majority of its rivals, with the hatchback rear, and the (admittedly tiny) rear seats making it a more practical proposition than most rivals, while the four-wheel drive mean it’s surefooted even in typically British conditions – read wet, most of the time.

Throw in the TT’s cool looks, gaining a more overtly sporting style with the RS addenda, and interior quality that’s a league above pretty much all of its rivals – the cool virtual cockpit instrumentation likely to win the TT RS a good few buyers alone – and it’s not difficult to see why the TT RS is appealing to so many. 

The Roadster loses some of the coupe’s usefulness, the opening roof robbing the TT of its hatchback rear and small pews in the back, but the gains, hearing that rousing five-cylinder more clearly and having the sun on your neck, more than make up for the loses.

Even so, there’s talk of Audi discontinuing the TT in the next year, instead attaching the badge to yet another crossover model, though powered by an electric drivetrain. An era ending car, then, get one quick, while you still can.  

What does a Audi TT RS (2016) cost?

Buy new from £52,469 (list price from £56,080)