Launched in 1998, the Audi TT had to wait for its second-generation model to arrive before receiving a true high-performance version. In 2009, three years after the TT Mk2’s introduction, Audi showcased the TT-RS , a beefed-up model, available in both coupe and roadster guises, that climbed atop the existing quattro Sport and the TTS in the TT range. The company’s first compact RS was powered by the legendary, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that produced 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist. Visually, the first-gen TT-RS benefited from revised styling, a lowered ride height, larger wheels, and improved braking system. Interior highlights included Recaro bucket seats and enough leather and Alcantara to add a luxurious feel to the sporty compact. The TT-RS came to the United States in the 2012 model year, when the Plus model was launched. Fitted with an uprated version of the 2.5-liter turbo-five, the TT-RS now has a cool 355 ponies and 343 pound-feet on tap. Coming into 2014, Audi has unveiled the third-generation TT and began testing the second-gen TT-RS.
As the upcoming TT won’t cross the Pond to the U.S. until 2015 for the 2016 model year, the TT-RS won’t become available until 2017. Of course, we’ll be able to have a look at the high-performance, two-door when Audi unveils it to the European market. Meanwhile, we’ll just have to settle for the spy shots and videos coming from different locations.
Note: standard Audi TT pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Audi TT-RS.
Details are limited as of August 2014, but we do know that the 2017 TT-RS will be motivated by the same turbocharged, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder mill. The engine will benefit from a number of upgraded internals that are likely to increase output to 375 horsepower, 20 ponies more than the current TT-RS has to offer. Also lighter than its predecessor, the upcoming coupe will be faster too. The extra power should enable the TT-RS to sprint from naught to 60 mph in about four seconds, while maintaining its top speed in the 175-mph area.
Naturally, the new TT-RS will feature a design based on the third-gen TT, meaning it will borrow the latter’s sharp front grille, brand-new headlamps, and revised rear end. The enhanced interior will blend sportiness with luxury and come with several additional features when compared to the standard model.
Definitely an enticing machine, the TT-RS faces stiff competition from Porsche, a brand that’s also under Volkswagen ’s huge umbrella. Not one, but two Porsche-badged sports cars compete against the TT-RS — the Cayman and the Boxster. Available in three guises in the U.S., the Boxster seems like a proper proposition for the TT-RS when wearing a GTS badge. The range-topping model benefits from 330 horses, which are sent to the rear wheels through either a manual transmission or a PDK. It can reach the 60-mph mark from a standing start as quick as 4.4 seconds, and although that may seem a little slow compared to the TT-RS, the Boxster delivers unmatched handling and balance. The only downside is its sticker, which is set at $73,500.
Those looking for a bit more power and an engine mounted closer to the seats can opt for the Cayman. In GTS trim, the German sports car comes with 340 ponies and the same choice of manual and PDK transmissions. It needs 4.5 to 4.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph depending on gearbox and it can reach a top speed of 177 mph. Although slower on paper than the TT-RS, the Cayman and its 2.7-liter flat-six make up for an enticing combo that only a manufacturer like Porsche can put together. Like the Boxster, the Cayman GTS is also much more expensive than the TT-RS, with a base price set at $75,200.
Gallery Porsche Boxster GTS
The 370Z Nismo just got updated for the 2015 model year, gaining a more appealing exterior design, and updated interior and suspension. Albeit prettier than its predecessor, the refreshed Nismo doesn’t benefit from an upgraded engine. However, the 3.7-liter V-6 and its 350 ponies are enough to give the TT-RS a run for its money. Although it’s the slowest of the pack with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of five seconds, the 370Z Nismo is quite nippy on the track, thanks to its exceptional balance. The big news is Nissan finally added an automatic transmission on the options list, meaning the Nismo can be had with a seven-speed unit that features Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control.
Pricing is not available as of August 2014, but expect the 2015 370Z Nismo to cost around $45,000. That makes it cheaper than both the Cayman/Boxster and the TT-RS and the obvious choice for a tight pocket.
Gallery Nissan 370Z Nismo
Similar to its forerunner in terms of styling, the 2016 Audi TT is a sleeker and sharper proposition of the company’s sporty coupe. The front end is highlighted by a larger grille, brand-new headlamps, and revised details all around. The interior boasts the same precise and luxurious build quality Audi is known for, with the new updates making the TT seem even sportier.
Three engines are available with the third-gen model, starting with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel powering the entry-level version. The oil burner delivers 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque for a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 7.2 seconds. The coupe becomes quicker once the 2.0-liter TFSI unit with 230 ponies and 273 pound-feet is fitted under the hood, as acceleration drops below the six-second mark. Lastly, the uprated 2.0 TFSI generates 310 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque for a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.