2018 Audi TT RS

2018 Audi TT RS Review

The return of the high-performance Audi TT RS just put the rest of the sport coupe class on notice.
7.5 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

After a five-year absence, the performance-focused Audi TT RS is back and poised to challenge some strong coupe rivals. We're already big fans of the "regular" TT, so with a 400-horsepower five-cylinder engine and sharper handling dynamics, we expect the RS to raise the bar in a class that inspires and excites. On top of athleticism, we also anticipate a decent amount of comfort, refinement and easy-to-use technology. The 2018 Audi TT RS may very well be the car to beat.


What's new for 2018

After about a five-year absence, the Audi TT RS is back. It represents the performance pinnacle for the already impressive Audi TT.

We recommend

There's only one trim level for the 2018 Audi TT RS, but we'd suggest adding the Technology package for the navigation and enhanced smartphone integration. Unless you're planning on a lot of time on racetracks, we'd consider passing on the Dynamic Plus package because its fixed-rate sport suspension will probably sacrifice ride comfort.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Audi TT RS is a four-seat high-performance variant of the standard TT coupe. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder, good for 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It drives all four wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Standard features include 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, heated and power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, a rear spoiler, adaptive suspension dampers, selectable drive modes, and keyless entry and ignition.

On the inside, you get automatic climate control, a virtual instrument panel, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front sport seats, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, Audi's MMI infotainment system and a nine-speaker sound system with satellite/HD radio and a USB input.

Major options include the Technology package (a Wi-Fi hotspot, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, blind-spot monitoring and a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system) and the Dynamic Plus package (front carbon-ceramic brakes, traditional fixed-rate sport suspension dampers, a top-speed increase to 174 mph, a carbon-fiber engine cover, a real-time tire pressure monitor and upgraded taillights). You can also get the Black Optic package (adds 20-inch wheels and gloss black accents) and the Design Selection Interior package (adds red air vents and seat belts, more leather trim and floor mats). Other add-ons include a sport exhaust, a different rear spoiler, red brake calipers and carbon-fiber interior trim.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Audi TT RS Quattro Coupe (turbo 2.5L inline-5 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.5 / 10

Driving

8.5 / 10

Acceleration9.0 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering8.0 / 10
Handling8.5 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

6.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort6.0 / 10
Noise & vibration5.5 / 10
Climate control6.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Driving position9.0 / 10
Roominess6.5 / 10
Visibility9.0 / 10
Quality9.0 / 10

Utility

6.0 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space6.5 / 10

Technology

7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation8.0 / 10
Smartphone integration7.0 / 10
Driver aids6.0 / 10
Voice control7.5 / 10

Driving8.5

The TT RS has explosive power and sticks to the pavement with considerable cornering grip and abundant traction. Despite the computer-controlled all-wheel drive and automatic gearbox, it's involving and capable, if not quite as sublime as a Porsche Cayman S.

Acceleration9.0

There's a slight delay off the line in everyday driving. After that, acceleration is linear and strong, with quick and smooth gear changes. It hits 60 mph in only 3.6 seconds in our testing, which is quicker than the Porsche Cayman S and the BMW M2 we tested (with manual transmissions).

Braking8.0

The pedal is moderately firm, and we observed no brake fade after heavy use. Under hard braking, the car remains poised and very controllable. Stopping from 60 mph required 105 feet, a very short distance that is typical among sports cars equipped with summer tires.

Steering8.0

The steering is very precise, and the amount of effort is appropriate for a small sporty car like this. The steering ratio feels quick, and it responds crisply to subtle driver inputs. Yet on straight highway stretches, it doesn't require the driver to be ever vigilant.

Handling8.5

This car slices through turns with precision and little drama, which inspires confidence. The car can rotate slightly midcorner, and it's very controllable. It's sharp and stable yet willing to change direction, if not quite as playful as the benchmark Cayman.

Drivability8.0

In Comfort mode, the gear changes are so smooth that they're rarely felt. Despite its performance, it's quite civilized in everyday driving and very maneuverable in tight spaces.

Comfort6.5

Sports cars generally sacrifice comfort for performance. The TT RS makes more sacrifice than usual due to an abundance of road noise and a stiff-legged ride quality with the optional fixed dampers. The front seats are both supportive and comfortable.

Seat comfort7.5

The front seats have a good balance of lateral support when cornering and long-distance comfort. The extendable thigh supports are especially helpful for taller passengers. The leather upholstery can be sweaty, even in mild weather. Ventilated seats are not available.

Ride comfort6.0

The ride is rather stiff, with harsh jolts on initial impact with bumps and considerable jostling over undulations. Our test vehicle came with the Dynamic Plus package that replaces the adaptive suspension with fixed-rate damping. It's possible the standard suspension would have a more compliant ride.

Noise & vibration5.5

The TT RS exhibits a lot of road noise on nearly every surface. On coarse asphalt, it's intrusive enough to drown out the stereo. We expect some road noise from sporty cars but not this much. The engine's loud but characterful, and the dual-tone exhaust does sound great, especially in Dynamic mode.

Climate control6.5

The climate controls look very cool and modern, but directing the flow isn't as intuitive as it is with traditional vents. On cold mornings, it takes a while for the system to warm up. On hot days, it blows very cold air almost immediately.

Interior8.0

Audi's minimal yet functional interior design impresses. While an intimate space, the cabin is no chore to get into or out of, and the driving position is darn near perfect. The extended Virtual Cockpit instrument panel is clear and presents information logically.

Ease of use8.0

The virtual instrument panel replaces all other readouts, including the typical center-mounted infotainment display. It takes a short while to get used to but is easy to operate after that. The primary controls and steering wheel buttons are well-placed.

Getting in/getting out8.0

You have to stoop a bit to clear the low roofline, but as far as sports cars go, the TT RS is easy to get in and out of. The narrow sill and large opening between the dash and seat give you plenty of access. No contortions required.

Driving position9.0

There aren't a lot of adjustments to the seat, but there's enough range to suit small and large drivers. With ample reach and tilt for the steering wheel, we found our preferred driving position almost immediately.

Roominess6.5

The cockpit feels rather snug but by no means confining. Taller front passengers will have enough space to remain comfortable. The rear seats, however, are so small that you're better off thinking of the TT as a two-seater.

Visibility9.0

This is one of the best sports cars when it comes to outward visibility. The roof pillars are situated farther away than they are in some competitors, making less of an obstruction when looking through sharp left curves. The rear glass gives a very good view, requiring little reliance on the rearview camera.

Quality9.0

Everything inside the TT RS has a substantial build quality with excellent materials. It's quite a bit nicer than the BMW M2's interior and comparable to the Porsche Cayman's. Its design, layout and execution make passengers feel special.

Utility6.0

It's a small sports car, which means you can't expect much in the way of convenience or utility. The trunk is shallow yet easy to access, and cabin storage is limited. It's not ideal for use with a car seat.

Small-item storage6.0

There aren't a lot of places to stash your personal effects. You're limited to one tiny cupholder that can't hold a smartphone, a bin in the center stack with a USB port, and small pockets under the armrest and in the doors. A secondary flip-down cupholder is under the armrest.

Cargo space6.5

With 12 cubic feet of cargo space, the shallow trunk at least has a low liftover height. The load floor lies flat when the rear seats are folded.

Child safety seat accommodation5.0

Small cars like this generally aren't family-friendly — no surprise. You can probably get a booster seat in the rear seats or maybe a forward-facing infant seat. A rear-facing seat seems improbable. With the obstructed access, trying to get a kid back there would also be a challenge.

Technology7.5

Audi's multimedia system handles many functions and can take a little time to get used to. But the systems are reasonably intuitive to operate. Native voice controls work well. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is offered but isn't ideal to use with the MMI knob. There are few driver aids.

Audio & navigation8.0

Audi's MMI infotainment system is one of the best in the business. It has sharp graphics and quick responses, but it takes a little time to get acquainted with the many menus and functions. After that, it's intuitive and can be operated with the center dial or the controls on the wheel.

Smartphone integration7.0

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered, and in some cases, easier to use than the already strong MMI system. But using the infotainment controllers to operate Apple CarPlay isn't as easy as a touchscreen and can be a bit more distracting as a result.

Driver aids6.0

The TT RS does not have much in the way of advanced safety features. Blind-spot monitoring is pretty much all that's available. The cruise control gets points for maintaining speed on steep downhill grades.

Voice control7.5

Voice recognition in Audi's MMI system is accurate and fairly easy to use thanks to on-screen prompts. It's not as easy as Apple CarPlay, which allows for much more natural speech, but it also requires an internet connection.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.