When Audi brought the TT to the U.S. back in the 2000 model year, it was not overly powerful or fast. Rather its 180-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter engine produced adequate power combined with an agile chassis to make a complete sports coupe. As time went on, however, the TT became more powerful and firmly planted itself as one of the best sports cars on the market.
In the 2012 model year, Audi decided it was time to show exactly what the TT could do, given the right tuning. With this came the introduction of the 2012 Audi TT RS, which was a super-high-performance machine that left every other sports car in its wake – even some that were significantly more expensive.
In 2013, Audi will continue this high-performance variant of the TT and will, for the most part, carry the model over from the 2012 model year. So the question that begs to be answered is “can the TT RS continue to dominate with essentially the same setup as it had a year ago?”
Click past the jump to get the answer to that question in our full review of the 2013 Audi TT RS.
...the Audi TT-RS boasts a very sexy and sleek exterior that’s a far cry from the odd shape that it featured in its earlier years.
On the outside, the 2013 Audi TT RS is essentially a carryover from the 2012 model year. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Audi TT-RS boasts a very sexy and sleek exterior that’s a far cry from the odd shape that it featured in its earlier years.
Up front, you get a set of sleekly designed Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights. The headlights also boast an automatic adjustment feature to assure they are always pointing in the right direction. The front fascia features Audi’s signature grille with the four-ring and “TT RS” logos proudly displayed near the top. The TT RS adds in a special grille, which features a high-gloss black diamond-look, giving the front of the TT a sportier look. To add a little more sport to the TT RS’s front end, you can opt for the available high-gloss black grille surround in place of the silver surround that comes standard.
The lower portion of the front fascia features air-intake vents with three louvers covering them. These louvers are given the same high-gloss black diamond-look as the grille to help complete the look. At the base of the fascia sits a silver splitter to help add a little extra downforce.
The side profile of the 2013 TT RS shows a sleek windshield and a roofline that closely resembles that of another German sports car that shall remain nameless. The TT RS boast an arching side glass line that mimics the roofline well. From the sides, you also get a good look at the standard 9- x 19-inch five-arm rotor design wheels coated in high gloss clear. As an available option, you can opt to coat these wheels in titanium or high-gloss black with a red surround.
The side views stand apart from the body on thin posts, helping air swoop by them easier. These mirrors come in a matte-aluminum finish as standard, but you can opt for the available electric-folding carbon-fiber side mirrors. These optional mirrors are heated and feature LED turn signal repeaters.
On the backside, you get a standard dual-post spoiler to add a little more downforce to the already-stout TT RS. At the base of the rear end, you also get a shapely diffusor and dual-oval exhaust exits. The taillights match up to the headlights pretty well and they feature LED technology to lengthen their lifespan and increase visibility from the rear.
The 2013 Audi TT RS is available in eight exterior colors, four of those eight are exclusive to the TT RS model. The colors that it shares with the rest of the TT lineup include: Ibis White, Daytona Gray, Phantom Black and Misano Red. The RS-exclusive colors include: Panther Black, Monza Silver, Sepang Blue and Suzuka Gray. All of the metallic and pearl-effect paints run an extra $475, plus you can plan on adding an additional $950 or $1,075 if you plan to add either the Suzuka Gray or Panther Black paints, respectively.
Overall Width (With Mirrors)
Standard Exterior Features:
9.0Jx19 Five-arm rotor design wheels in high gloss
Audi Single-frame grille with RS high-gloss black diamond-look grille with/without license plate holder
Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running light technology
Automatic headlight-range adjustment
Lights Styling package: Front assembly chrome trim, rear dark red lens
Rain/light sensors for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
LED taillight technology with white reverse lights
Daytime running lights, user programmable
“Three Blink” touch-to-pass lane change feature in turn signal
Automatic light switch controlled by light sensor, coming home/leaving home function
Power-adjustable, auto-dimming, heated side mirrors, manual folding
Matte aluminum RS model side mirrors
Heated windshield washer nozzles
Front windshield with gray color strip
Dual oval exhaust, finished tips
TT RS front bumper, rear bumper, rocker panel and diffuser
Carbon fiber engine cover
Fixed TT RS rear wing-type spoiler
Optional Exterior Features
Aluminum matte optic exterior package
9.0Jx19 / Five-arm rotor design wheels in titanium
Incl. With Sport Exhaust Titanium Package
9.0Jx19 / Five-arm rotor design wheels in high gloss black and red surround
$400 ($0 W/ Sport Exhaust Titanium Package)
High-gloss black grille surround
Incl. With Sport Exhaust Titanium Package
Incl. With Technology Package
Carbon fiber side mirrors; heated with LED turn signal repeaters (electric folding)
Sport Exhaust Titanium package
Speed-deployed electric rear spoiler, with manual override
On the inside, the TT RS features a stylish, yet very clean, design. The TT RS does feature one change for the 2013 model year and that is the addition of optional bi-color leather interior.
As you open the TT RS’ doors, you are greeted by an aluminum door sill with an “RS” logo that lets you know that if you’re not all about excitement, don’t bother stepping in. The TT RS also features its own exclusive door handles to add a little extra something to the package.
...Audi went the extra mile to combine comfort and sport.
As you slip into the silk Nappa leather-wrapped sport seats embossed with “TT RS,” you can tell that Audi went the extra mile to combine comfort and sport. These seats boast 10-way power mobility and 4-way lumbar support with thigh support. For an added fee, you can opt for fine Nappa leather bi-color seats in either black and red or black and titanium. You can also change the seats to a wrapping of leather and Alcantara. Lastly, for those living in cooler climates, the 2013 Audi TT RS has optional 3-step heated seats.
Not only is sitting in the TT-RS something of beauty, but gripping its flat-bottomed, dimpled-leather-wrapped sport steering wheel assures you that you’re in for an intense, yet comfortable ride. Adding to the feel of the TT-RS is the fact the Audi equipped this sports model with a slightly thicker steering wheel than the other TT models.
The entire dashboard dons a shade of black that would typically give you that sea-of-black feeling, but thanks to Audi adding in aluminum accents, it does not have that feel. The center stack features only the most basic controls and they are laid out very well. The gear shifter features an aluminum knob, as well as an aluminum trim piece, giving it a luxurious and sporty look.
If you are a tech nut, Audi didn’t forget about you, as the TT RS features an Audi concert radio. This system features a CD player with MP3 reading capability, AM/FM/Satellite radio with presets, phase diversity for improved AM/FM reception, nine speakers powered by a 140-watt amplifier, and Graduated Audio Level Adjustment which adjusts volume based on vehicle speed. The TT-RS also comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity and voice control for the radio, navigation and your paired cellphone.
There is an optional infotainment system for the 2013 TT RS. This infotainment system is the Audi navigation system plus with six-disc CD changer, which includes: Audi MMI operating logic, 6.5-inch TFT color display, In-dash CD/DVD player, Navigation DVD for US and Canada including Hawaii, two SD card inserts to play MP3 audio data, AM/FM/SAT radio with channel preset capability, Phase diversity, RDS (Radio Data System, Graduated Audio Level Adjustment, Five language settings and voice guidance.
If you are looking for an even cleaner sound, you can opt for the BOSE sound system with AudioPilot. This setup features 12 speakers, a subwoofer and 253 watts of power. This system includes: one 2- x 4.25-inch mid/high-range center-fill speaker in the instrument panel, a pair of 1-inch tweeters (one on each of the instrument panel), a 3-inch neodymium mid-range speaker and 8-inch neodymium woofer in each door, two 1-inch tweeters in the rear firewall, two 6.5-inch low- and mid-range speakers in the fire wall, and one 5.25-inch Richbass woofer in a 9.4 liter enclosure.
Both of the optional audio upgrades come as a part of the Technology Package, which Audi offers for $3,500. In addition to the audio upgrades, the Technology Package adds in ambient LED lighting, adaptive headlights and rear acoustic parking sensors.
37.7 Inches / 32.6 Inches
41.1 Inches / 29.3 Inches
Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)
53.2 Inches / 47.5 Inches
Luggage Capacity (Seats Upright/Second Row Folded
13.1 Cubic-Feet / 24.7 Cubic-Feet
Standard Interior Features:
Audi premium sound system (one CD) with SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Ten-way power seats w/ four-way power lumbar
Aluminum door sill inserts with TT RS logo
Auto-dimming interior mirror w/ compass
Silk Nappa leather sport seats w/ TT RS embossing
Brushed aluminum interior inlays
Driver information system with lap timer
TT RS multifunction steering wheel with flat bottom
Garage door opener (HomeLink)
Optional Interior Features
Audi exclusive bi-color interior
Heated front seats
Audi First Aid kit
Audi Guard all-weather floor mats/trunk liner
Audi Guard all-weather floor mats
Audi Guard textile floor mats
Audi Guard trunk liner
Audi Guard wheel lock kit
Engine and Drivetrain
Okay, the inside and outside of the Audi TT RS are stunning, but what you’re truly buying into this model for is its performance. The 2013 TT RS comes fitted with a 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder engine that features a turbocharger, TSFI and a 10.1-to-1 compression ratio. This all adds up to an amazing 360 ponies at 5,500 rpm and 343 pound-feet of torque at a super-low 1,650 rpm. The 2.5-liter’s block is made from cast iron and its cylinder head is aluminum alloy. Sitting atop the cylinder head is a pair of camshafts opening and closing the engine’s 20 valves.
This super-powerful 5-cylinder powerplant hooks up to a 6-speed manual transmission. Showing the TT RS’s true colors, but also alienating a lot of customers, Audi does not offer an optional automatic transmission – we see Audi sliding its S Tronic dual-clutch transmission to the TT RS in coming years. The transmission ships the ponies to all four wheels via Audi’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
All of this combines to launch the TT RS to 60 mph in a supercar-like 4.1 seconds – yes, it is quicker than a Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S. Audi stripped the speed limiter from the TT RS model, netting it a maximum speed of 174 mph, which is simply incredible.
...you get a car that sticks to the road like week-old road kill – yeah, that’s a good thing.
Much like the rest of the TT RS, Audi made sure not to mess with the suspension and braking systems. First and foremost, you have Audi’s famed Quattro system keeping the wheels at their optimal traction levels through the twist. Up front, you have a 5-link independent steel spring suspension and on the rear, you get a trapezoidal-link independent steel spring suspension. This suspension setup is a little dated, but toss in the Audi magnetic ride with Sport button and 10 mm (0.39 inch) lowered chassis and you get a car that sticks to the road like week-old road kill – yeah, that’s a good thing.
It has been tested to hold up to 0.95 Gs on a 200-foot skid pad and it hits a top speed of 70.7 mph – both numbers are extremely impressive considering its front-engine-AWD setup.
The TT RS comes standard with 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with 14.6-inch discs up front and 12.2-inch discs on the rear. Also standard are Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control (ASR), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) and brake assist.
On the corners, you get standard 255/35R19 performance rubber to keep the TT RS adhered to the pavement.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control (ASR), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
200-Foot Skid Pad
Slalom Course Sped
255/35R19 Summer Performance Tires
In terms of pricing, the Audi TT RS is very competitive, as it comes in at a relatively wallet-friendly $57,200, plus an $895 destination fee. With every single available option selected on the TT RS, making it a completely decked out performance luxury coupe, it comes in at $65,970. Yes, that price also includes the most expensive paint job – Panther Black crystal.
When you talk about a car company cutting off its own nose to spite its face, Volkswagen is first on that list, as it has so many makes under its umbrella that they are bound to step on each other’s toes. Then again, VW shouldn’t care, as it is getting your money one way or another.
With that, let’s look at the only adversary worthy of taking on the Audi TT RS, the Porsche 911 Carrera S (how many of you just yelled “Blaspheme” right now). Hear us out though. The Carrera S features a 400-horsepower H-6 engine that also cranks out an acceptable 325 pound-feet of torque – that’s a 40-horsepower advantage on the TT RS, but an 18 pound-feet deficit. Then again, the Audi gives the 911 Carrera S a nearly 300-pound advantage, so the numbers should skew toward the 911, right?
Well, now you get to see exactly what it means to combine a low-rpm peak torque with Audi’s Quattro AWD system. The Carrera S with a manual transmission hit 60 mph in a very impressive 4.3 seconds. For those keeping score at home, that makes the TT RS 0.2 to 0.3 seconds quicker to 60 mph, depending on whose tests you believe. Now, when you add in Porsche’s awesome PDK transmission and the Carrera S can finally catch up to the TT RS to 60 mph. In pure top –end muscle, the TT RS loses out, as the 911 Carrera S’ extra horsepower nets it a 188 mph top speed.
We cannot compare the base model features of the TT RS to the Carerra S’ base features, as the Carrera S is pretty well loaded up. However, when you completely deck out the TT RS, to the tune of $65,970, plus tax, you will see that the Carrera S and TT RS nearly mirror one another.
Now onto price… There is absolutely no competition, as the Carrera S comes in at a huge $96,400 base price with a manual, and to get the same acceleration as the TT RS, you have to increase your buy in to $100,480 to get the PDK transmission. That’s a $30,430 to $34,510 increase over the Audi – roughly the price of a base BMW 3-Series.
Okay, back to reality. Are we saying that the Audi features the same pure driving fun that the Porsche 911 Carrera S affords you? Absolutely not, as the 911 is a superior handler and its drivetrain is much more in tune. With that precision engineering also comes some serious maintenance in the future, so we come back to the Audi and its relatively simple design. Hmm, interesting dilemma, but we’ll take the TT RS with a side of 328i – you’ve gotta have a beater car.
...if you are willing to give up the Porsche exclusivity for Porsche-like performance for $30K less, we say act now and snag up a TT RS...
Now that we have thoroughly pissed off the Porsche faithful and are likely now only entertaining those that are actually thinking the TT RS is a good deal, we can continue. We absolutely love the TT RS, but there’s one underlying problem, and that is the fact that it may not last too long in Audi’s lineup. Its low fuel economy and severe niche marketing may render it an obsolete trim level soon. So, if you are willing to give up the Porsche exclusivity for Porsche-like performance for $30K less, we say act now and snag up a TT RS before it’s too late.
4.1 seconds to 60 mph and 174 mph top speed
Porsche-like performance at bargain-store pricing
Quattro AWD is the best, hands down
Poor city mpg
Looks a little too much like its 911 sibling rival
May get hard to find