Edmunds gets a First Drive of the new 2018 Audi TT RS. Take a spin in the all-new 2018 Audi TT RS with Edmunds Senior Writer Carlos Lago. With 400 horsepower and all-wheel drive, we expect this compact sport coupe to be quick. How quick? That's exactly what we find out in our acceleration test. After that, we head to the handling course to get a feel for how the TT RS attacks corners. Lastly, we take a closer look at the TT RS' interior.
CARLOS LAGO: That's the new Audi TT RS. It's got a 400-horsepower, 5 cylinder, and all wheel drive system. We're going to show you how fast to goes in a straight line, how it handles, and what the interior looks and feels like. With a car like the TT RS, acceleration is going to be really easy. This is all-wheel drive and automatic. So you basically just have to slap the gas down with your right foot. First thing we're going to do is a key up run with everything and drive, not into any of the sports settings. And then we'll see how the dynamic settings help this car go faster. So let's just mash the gas and go. OK, a bit of clutch slip at the very beginning. But still very quick. This is a fast car. A firm car, too, a very firm car as you can see from the vertical jostling. This is a pretty quick car even in its key up settings. Let's put it in dynamic-- shifter's in dynamic-- make sure the exhaust is in loud mode. Done. All right, mash the brake with the left foot. Hit the gas with the right and let's see what happens. It's very firm, this car. Good on the braking, which is nice. So quite an improvement to 60 and to the quarter mile. The 5 cylinder is a unique sound. Some people really like it. Some people kind of don't like it. But it is unique. You can't argue against that. And it does deliver a substantial amount of power. That acceleration is really quick. With stability control in sport mode-- that's launch control. There we go. That's it right there. Ha! That was launch control. If you've got your Audi TT RS, and you want to make sure you're in launch control, hit the stability control button once when you're in dynamic mode. Still a few too many buttons to hit if you want to get launch control, to my taste, but that's how you do it. Tack shot up to what seemed like 3,500 RPM. When I released the brake, it took off with the acceleration you'd expect from a 400-horsepower, all-wheel drive car. Of course, the TT RS is not meant for just straight line speed. RS vehicles from Audi supposedly handle well, too. So we roll into the handling test of the TT RS. A couple of caveats we have to tell you-- the door pressure on this car says 42 PSI for the front, 35 PSI for the rear, which is absurdly high for performance driving. But that's the only indicator we have. So that's the one we have to go by for our test policy. The handling complaints are going to center around what happens when you have overinflated front tires. That's understeer. And, in essence, the managing-- that understeer. It's disappointing because this car changes directions really quickly and with an ease that's admirable. It's a smaller, lighter vehicle than the stuff that you've seen previously on the channel. And that already helps it around the tighter, slower corners here. Big cars-- you have to just sort of park in the corners like this, turn around and wait, and slowly and painfully drive them out of the corner. But not this car. This car is very nimble and that's a refreshing thing. But in the high speed concept radius stuff-- that understeer-- it comes up. And around this complex right here, it feels like there is a lot that this chassis could do despite the heavy front weight bias and front wheel oriented, all-wheel drive system. But there still feels like this chassis is capable of a lot more. There's nice feedback through the steering wheel, which is surprising for a front-drive based, all-wheel drive system. And there is a playfulness that you feel that you could access. That 5 cylinder makes a very unique sound that's enjoyable. I think it's going to be a love it or hate it kind of thing for some people. Some people who really like the Audi legacy and history of 5 cylinders and rally cars will find a lot to enjoy. It's certainly different. And it makes for plenty of acceleration. This thing gets up-- gets straight real quick. This duel-clutch transmission shifts very quickly. I have in the manual setting. And that seems to be a good way to do it because I like having the reference points of which gear I'm in. But there's a lot to enjoy about this car. But also, if you look at the TT RS, if you're going look for a serious sports car, maybe don't look for a car with 60% of its weight on its nose. So those kind of things limit the appeal of the TT RS as a pure performance handling car. The heavy front weight bias, the front-wheel oriented, all-wheel drive system. But in spite of that stuff, there's still some good things to enjoy about this car. I think the handling balance, when you tune the tires right, can be very good. I think this is a nice introduction to the world of fast all-wheel drive cars. I think this has a very unique sound and a look that you don't get in a lot of other places. It's something you'd really have to go to Audi to get. So if this is a car that looks appealing to you-- if it's a car who's-- you know, you like the Audi history, you like the 5 cylinder sound and sensation, I think you're going to like this car a lot. I think it's really tractable and, you know, enjoyable to handle in a lot of ways that would be good for an amateur but still also engaging for an advanced driver, too, because someone who would like to enjoy managing sort of the push and unique character and nature of the way this car set up. I also think that, though this car is about $80 grand, and there is some stiff competition at that price level. So you have to really be looking to enjoy the unique qualities that this car gives you. And that uniqueness is really what's going to be the appeal of this car. I think the handling is enjoyable. Though there's superior cars out there for less than this money, but they don't feel as different as this car does. And this thing is-- there's plenty to enjoy in here. It's very-- it's rapid. It's very quick. The braking pedal feels good. The overall control is strong. And I was-- I was-- to be honest, I was prepared to dislike this car because of how much weight is on the nose and how it's all-wheel drive system is biased. But I'm finding there's actually-- if you back down on your-- if you don't try to kill it with handling-- if you try to slow down a little bit, you find that there's plenty to enjoy about guiding this car around. So, yes, a unique handling, unique sounding, unique driving car. And that uniqueness is really going to be the driving point if you're interested. If this car speaks to you because of how different it is, that's really all you need to know. The Audi TT has, and always will be, a design-focused car. And if the exterior doesn't tell you that, the interior sure does. Minimalism is kind of the thing. Everything is black. And if it's not black, it might be silver or it might have this little red stitching. It has a very nice, immediate sensation. You sit down in to these bucket seats that have the RS logo embroidered on the upper seat back. There's quilted leather that feels good and red contrast stitching. That red contrast stitching runs throughout the dash and it has this sporty look to it. You also have this big red engine start button right here. Interestingly, this dash doesn't have a display right here at all. The only display for this vehicle is in the gauge cluster. It's a full digital display that is generally pretty easy to read, although there can be quite a lot of information in there. And this is where you get your nav. This is where you get your radio. Everything comes through this display. It looks really neat in practice. I don't like using it as much, to be perfectly honest. I like just having the important driving stuff here and then the not-so-important entertainment stuff and navigation stuff right here. That's personal preference. You might see it differently. Another unique thing this vehicle does is the air conditioning controls. The climate controls are all done on the vents themselves. Your seat heating is dialed in by turning this knob over here for the driver-- over there for the passenger. Your climate control settings-- turning up the fan, you do with this dial here. And it's an interesting look. It'll take you a little bit to get familiar with. And it's a system that probably benefits from a lot of use. For me, the first look of it is something that is spending more time on looking neat than actual immediate functionality, although it's something that's easy to learn. The rest of it is pretty much your sports car-- your modern sports car basics. Carbon fiber everywhere, a microfiber suede material-- it's all very nice stuff. But, really, the key differences between this and most other sports cars are the center display here and the straight-up, maybe design-focused-to-a-fault appearance of the interior. But that's what the Audi TT is. You can't really fault it for being so focused on design. I like the flat bottom steering wheel. It helps you with getting in and out of the car if you've got bigger legs. And it also helps if you're doing big dramatic steering inputs to always know where the steering's at. Also you can make the engine louder by hitting this button here. And I recommend that you always do that. That's been a look at the Audi TT RS. If you want to see more videos like this one, keep it tuned right here and be sure to visit edmunds.com.
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2018 Audi TT RS Coupe Overview
The 2018 Audi TT RS Coupe is offered in the following styles: quattro 2dr Coupe AWD (2.5L 5cyl Turbo 7AM). TT RS Coupe models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The 2018 TT RS Coupe comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed automated manual. The 2018 TT RS Coupe comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.