2012 Audi TT RS Coupe (2.5L 5-cyl. Turbocharged AWD 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 8/7/2012
This is the best TT ever to be imported. However, the aging chassis and high base price dull what could've been a gem several years ago. It doesn't help the TT RS's cause that there are many other sports cars that are less expensive, quicker and better equipped.
PerformanceThe TT RS's powerful engine, all-wheel drive, precise steering and dedicated brakes can do only so much to counteract the car's inherent 60 percent front-weight bias that effects limit handling.
If you're good with a manual transmission (the only one available), the TT RS will run to 60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds. Acceleration is linear despite the turbocharged engine.
At 111-ft, our best measured stop from 60 mph was on the first of 5. The TT RS remained flat, straight and controlled, however, distances grew over repeated runs.
Electric-assisted steering, though a little lifeless through its flat-bottom steering wheel, is supremely precise friction free.
Handling is tied directly to tire selection. Stickier tires will improve the ultimate limits, but front tires in particular will wear exceedingly fast. Backroads are still a blast.
Despite the addictive qualities of the smooth, powerful engine, the TT RS can grow tiresome on a daily basis from its choppy ride, grabby clutch and lifeless steering.
ComfortSupportive seats, firm ride and adequate isolation from wind and road noise are good enough for a midrange score. It's a pretty dedicated sport coupe, so comfort was not the TT RS's priority.
Standard leather/faux-suede front seats are powered 8 ways and are optionally heated. Rear seats are suited best for duffle bags; not people.
The TT RS's 2-mode adjustable suspension is acceptable, but it is on the harsh end even within the narrow field of sports cars.
It's clear Audi chose to feature the TT RS's unique, raspy exhaust note. Road noise can grow tiresome, but wind noise is evenly dispersed and minimal at freeway speed.
InteriorIn terms of interior design, few do it as well as Audi and the industrio-mechanical TT RS shows this. It is a rather confining cabin, however, using what little room there is to its largest potential.
With the exception of interfacing with an aging (pre-MMI) infotainment/navigation system, the interior's intuitive layout and clear labels and displays are quite good.
Among sport coupes, the TT RS is typical: large doors afford easy access to front seats (but not in narrow parking stalls), and rear "seats" require extraordinary effort.
Owing to its domed roof and high beltline, the interior can feel confining. Inside, there are few places to stow personal effects. Rear seats better used as trunk overflow.
Blind spots come with the territory and rear parking sensors are optional within a pricy package.
Rear seats also fold flat expanding the trunk's capacity from an ample 13 cubic feet to a capacious 24 cubes.
ValueWith a base price in the neighborhood of some other serious sports cars (also from Germany), the TT RS is not as well equipped to attack nor coddle as the fierce competition does.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Honest and genuine materials inside; high-quality build evident throughout, but not on the same level as similarly priced sports cars.
With one trim level, there are still options (like sport exhaust, heated seats and navigation) that must be ordered separately. These should be standard at this price.
Ticking just a couple of option boxes like premium audio and/or rear parking sensors puts the cost over $60,000. There are many (better) sports cars available at that price.
In mixed driving, the TT RS will earn around 20 mpg which is only adequate. Further, we expected the 2.5L 5-cyl engine's highway fuel economy to be better than 25 mpg.
The basic warranty covers 4 years/50,000 miles and includes roadside assistance (with no mileage limit). This is competitive, but not exemplary coverage.
The first scheduled maintenance (within 1 year/5,000 miles) is provided at no charge. Beyond that, living with a stiff-legged 2+2 coupe is living with constant compromise.
Fun To DriveSurprising acceleration is only one element of "fun to drive." Sports cars should offer more driver connection and loftier handling limits than the TT RS can muster.
A driver will feel a bit like he's keeping a secret driving a TT RS. While much more rapid, it's only a little different in appearance from other TTs.
Some have said the TT RS feels a bit "aftermarket" compared to the highly polished offerings from other dedicated makers. The aging chassis lets down the brilliant engine.