Quicker than a Porsche 718 Cayman!

Although the third-generation Audi TT was unveiled in early 2014, it didn’t cross the pond to the U.S. until 2015, for the 2016 model year. The high-performance TT-RS will have a similar fate, even though Audi unveiled the beefed-up coupe at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. It’s been a full year since the TT-RS made its global debut and the high-performance two-door is getting ready to come to the U.S. at the 2017 New York Auto Show, meaning it will go on sale for the 2018 model year.

The TT-RS saga began in 2009, 11 years after the Audi TT’s launch and three years after the TT Mk2’s introduction. Available as both a coupe and roadster, it climbed above 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, and featured revised styling and a sportier interior. The TT-RS came to the U.S. in 2012, when the Plus model was launched. Fitted with an uprated version of the 2.5-liter turbo-five, the TT-RS Plus had a cool 360 ponies and 342 pound-feet on tap.

Already more powerful than a Porsche Cayman, the Plus will be replaced by an even wilder version of the TT equipped with a brand-new iteration of the 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine. Find out how powerful and quick it is and how it stacks up against Porsche’s relatively new 718 Cayman in the review below.

Updated 04/25/2016: Audi dropped the official details on the new TT RS at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi TT-RS.

  • 2017 Audi TT-RS
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    354
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    € 66400 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.7/10

Exterior

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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As predicted by our rendering, the new TT-RS features a design based on the third-gen TT, meaning it borrows the base model’s sharp front grille and redesigned headlamps and bumper. Making the car look far more aggressive than its regular sibling is the honeycomb mesh — seen on other recent high-performance Audi’s — in the Single frame grille, the larger air intakes in the bumper, and the silver blade-like element at the bottom of the apron.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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Beefier fenders and side skirts, carbon-fiber mirror caps, as well as newly designed wheels enhance the TT-RS’ profile.

Beefier fenders and side skirts, carbon-fiber mirror caps, as well as newly designed wheels enhance the TT-RS’ profile. Around back, it employs a redesigned bumper, a fixed rear wing, and two large, oval exhaust tailpipes. Optionally, customers can replace the fixed wing with a retractable element.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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Styling aside, the new TT-RS marks the debut of Audi’s Matrix OLED technology on series-production taillights. Available as an option on the high-performance compact, each Matrix taillight contains four wafer-thin units which become smaller from the inside out. The biggest of them bears the TT logo and the four Audi rings. What makes this technology special is that Matrix OLEds emit an extremely homogeneous, high-contrast light, which can be continuously dimmed, it does not cast any shadows and does not require any reflectors. The same technology is also available for the headlamps, otherwise equipped with LED technology as standard.

Interior

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior
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Much like the previous-generation model, the interior of the TT-RS is based on the standard car’s, but enhanced by sportier features. Highlights include red accents on the A/C vents, red stitching on the center console, gear shifter, and doors panels, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with an RS badge. The latter is also wrapped in leather and now has two operating buttons for turning the engine on and off and for the Drive Select function.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior
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The sportiness of the TT-RS is further enhanced by the carbon-fiber and aluminum trim on the center console and door panels, the sports pedals, and the bolstered seats.

All RS models come with a 12.3-inch screen as an instrument cluster. It can be used in three views, including a special RS screen that highlights the rev counter and provides information on torque, g-force, and tire pressure, among other things. The digital cluster also displays a shift light which informs the driver that the engine limit has been reached, just like a rally car. The sportiness of the TT-RS is further enhanced by the carbon-fiber and aluminum trim on the center console and door panels, the sports pedals, and the bolstered seats.

The coupe is also loaded with high-end technology, but most fancy features aren’t standard. The options list includes MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch, Audi Connect module with Wi-Fi hotspot, and the new Audi smartphone interface technology that displays selected apps from the cell phone directly on the screen. Audiophiles can opt for a Bang-Olufsen audio system that’s loud enough to cover the growl of the five-cylinder engine.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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Despite rumors that Audi might drop the 2.5-liter five-cylinder, the new TT-RS continues with the same configuration, albeit with a newly-developed version of the turbo-five with lightweight construction, reduced internal friction, and enhanced output. About 22 pounds lighter than the previous unit, the new 2.5-liter cranks out 400 horsepower, a stout 17-percent increase over last year’s powerplant. That’s a full 60 horsepower more than the second-gen TT-RS and 40 horses more than the TT-RS Plus, making the second-generation car the most powerful TT ever produced. Maximum torque, delivered from as low as 1,700 rpm, is rated at 354 pound-feet, 22 and 12 pound-feet more than the previous TT-RS and TT-RS Plus, respectively.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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The TT RS needs only 3.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, nearly a half-second improvement

With the extra oomph also come better performance ratings. The TT RS needs only 3.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, nearly a half-second improvement. Top speed remains limited at a very German 155 mph, but the limiter can be removed upon request for a maximum speed of 174 mph. The five-cylinder engine mates to a seven-speed, dual-clutch S-Tronic transmission with no option for a manual gearbox. The Quattro all-wheel drive system is standard.

Suspension

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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In addition to being lighter, the new TT-RS also rides on a sportier chassis. The direct steering provides better handling and closer contact with the road, while the optional RS Sport Suspension Plus adds adaptive dampers in magnetic ride technology. The adaptive dampers can be set electronically thanks to a system that’s integrated into the Drive Select function. Braking comes from ventilated and perforated steel discs at the front and steel monobloc discs at the rear. Alternatively, Audi offers lighter and abrasion-resistant carbon-fiber ceramic discs.

Safety

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior
- image 673831

The TT-RS comes with the same safety features as the standard TT. The coupe is equipped with driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags, front thorax side airbags, knee airbags, and side head curtain airbags. The standard safety package also includes front passenger detection for airbags, central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, safety belt reminder, lower anchors and tethers for children in rear seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Prices

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing for the Audi TT-RS starts from $64,900, which is a bit more affordable than I expect. However, at this price point it gets some stiff competition from Porsche and other manufacturers offering sports cars in the United States.

Competitors

Porsche 718 Cayman

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman
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2017 Porsche 718 Cayman
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Facelifted for 2017, the Cayman gained not only a revised exterior and cabin, but also a new name and brand-new engines. Sold as the 718 Cayman starting 2016, Porsche entry-level sports car ditched the all-engine inline-six unit in favor of turbocharged, four-cylinder powerplants. Currently the most powerful version available, the Cayman S uses a 2.5-liter four-banger rated at 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. The coupe hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds with the six-speed manual, 4.2 ticks with the PDK, and only four seconds with PDK and Sport Chrono. While not as quick as the TT-RS, the 718 Cayman is the more affordable option at $66,300.

Find out more about the Porsche 718 Cayman here.

Nissan 370Z Nismo

2015 - 2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo Exterior
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2015 - 2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo Exterior
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Updated for the 2015 model year, the 370Z Nismo gained a more appealing exterior design, and revised 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 that Nissan finally added an automatic transmission to the options list, meaning the Nismo can be had with a seven-speed unit that features Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control. Pricing for the 2016 370Z Nismo starts from $41,990. That makes it cheaper than both the 718 Cayman and the TT-RS, and the obvious choice for a tight pocket.

Learn more about the 370Z Nismo in our full review here.

Conclusion

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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As a gearhead, you can not love the TT-RS for its spectacular inline-five engine, mind-boggling performance, standard AWD and hatchback-like utility. The outgoing model might not be as sharp as its competitors in terms of handling, but that may very well change with the new generation. It might not be as nimble as the 718 Cayman on the race track, but the new 400-horsepower output makes the TT-RS significantly quicker than its Porsche-badged competitors, and not many sports cars can brag about that.

  • Leave it
    • * Still can’t beat the experience you get in a Porsche
    • * Pretty expensive

Video

Updated History

Updated 04/12/2016: A new report on the upcoming Audi TT RS suggest the sports coupe will be unveiled later this month at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. Also, the new TT RS is rumored to be powered by a new 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder engine that will also be used in the upcoming RS3.

Updated 02/08/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming TT RS out for a new testing session in Sweden. The will debut at either the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, or later in October at the Paris Auto Show.

Updated 01/07/2016: The guys over Autobild were the first ones to get a closer look at Audi’s new OLED taillights that will be featured in the upcoming TT RS. Hit "play" to see them.

Updated 01/04/2016: A new report about the upcoming Audi TT RS indicates it will be powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine that delivers a total of 395 horsepower. A TT RS Performance version will also be offered with a total output of 415 horsepower.

Updated 10/12/2015: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Audi TT RS testing close to the Nürburgring. When compared to a standard TT it should feature a more aggressive exterior language, typical to the RS models, while under the hood we expect an engine with about 400 horsepower. An official debut should happen in March 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Updated 09/28/2015: The guys over Gumbal caught the upcoming TT RS our for a new testing session at Nurburgring. Enjoy!

Updated 07/20/2015: New reports suggest that the upcoming Audi TT RS will drop the current six-speed manual transmission and will be offered exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Updated 04/20/2015: While all we have so far on the future Audi TT RS is speculation, we decided to create a rendering of what we think the car will look like. We hope you like it.

Spy Shots

February 8, 2016 - Next Audi TT RS caught testing i Sweden

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior Spyshots
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October 12, 2015 - Audi TT RS testing close to Nurburgring

2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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May 26, 2015 - first testing session

2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Spyshots
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Rendering

2017 Audi TT-RS Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Press Release

With an all-new five-cylinder engine delivering 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, the all-new 2018 Audi TT RS is the most powerful production TT model Audi has ever produced. Joining the new Audi Sport model line, the 2018 TT RS will make its US debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2018 Audi TT RS

Featuring a new 2.5-liter TFSI® engine, that delivers the distinctive five-cylinder sound that is unmistakably Audi and harkens back to the original turbocharged five-cylinder, the Audi Ur-quattro, the all-new 2018 TT RS joins the lineup of Audi Sport vehicles launching this spring. As with any vehicle that bears the RS badge, the TT RS is the most powerful production TT ever produced, boasting impressive driving dynamics and unmatched performance coupled with RS specific design differentiators. In addition, the TT RS features standard quattro® all-wheel drive, the legendary technology that was once a dominant force in the World Rally scene and that has earned the Audi brand many triumphs in motorsport at racetracks worldwide.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
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Powertrain and Performance

More powerful than its predecessor, the all-new 2.5-liter TFSI® five-cylinder engine delivers a class-leading 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque to the front and rear wheels. With lightweight aluminum construction, engineers were able to reduce internal friction and increase power delivery. As a result, the engine’s maximum torque is available between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm.

At less than 20 inches in length, the 2.5-liter engine is extremely compact and is 57 pounds lighter than the previous generation. The upper portion of the oil pan is made of magnesium while the engine block is made of aluminum, saving more than 40 pounds. The engine also has a completely new crankshaft which is lighter and smaller than its predecessor.

A traction control system, specifically calibrated for the TT RS, manages distribution for maximum acceleration with minimal slip. As a result, the TT RS sprints from 0 to 60 mph in a class-leading 3.6 seconds, faster than any other TT model, and achieves a top track speed of 155 mph, or increased to 174 mph with the optional Dynamic plus package. That acceleration is accompanied by the distinctive five-cylinder sound as it passes through the RS exhaust system to the two large signature oval tailpipes or the optional RS sport exhaust with black oval tailpipes. The unique 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence, which allows the ignition to alternate between adjacent cylinder and those further apart, gives the TT RS its own special rhythm.

The gas exchange of the five-cylinder is designed for high throughput. The large BorgWarner turbocharger forces the intake air into the combustion chambers at up to 1.35 bar (19.6 psi). On the exhaust side, the Audi valvelift system (AVS) changes duration of valve opening depending on the throttle and engine speeds. In addition, a new dual-injection fuel system combines the benefits of indirect and direct injection and uses an intelligent engine management control unit to help optimize fuel injection and distribution based on engine load.

Seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission

The power of the 2.5-liter engine flows through a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission that focuses on high levels of performance and acceleration. With the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, the TT RS also now offers a launch control program that allows a heightened level of acceleration through precise engine speed and an automated clutch release.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
- image 673808

Chassis

The TT RS is standard equipped with quattro® permanent all-wheel drive with an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch which has the ability to send nearly 100 percent of available torque to the rear wheels. This compact and lightweight clutch is positioned at the end of the prop shaft for ideal axle load distribution. This allows the quattro system to constantly adjust the distribution of torque to help maximize grip and control.

For the first time on the TT RS, the quattro all-wheel drive is fully integrated within the Audi drive select system offering four distinct drive modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each of the various modes allows the driver to change gear shift points, steering, throttle response and damper control (when equipped with magnetic ride).

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 673839

Suspension

The TT RS is equipped with a four-link rear suspension and a McPherson front suspension with forged aluminum lower control arms. Standard-equipped RS magnetic ride uses a synthetic blend of oils that contain tiny magnetic particles to adjust the firmness of the dampers within a few milliseconds by creating a magnetic field within the shock absorber.

The progressive steering has been specifically tuned for the TT RS. The steering rack is designed so that the steering ratio becomes increasingly direct when turning, helping to provide the driver more precise road feedback while driving. The available RS fixed sport suspension, included in the Dynamic plus package, offers a stiffer ride for enhanced performance.

Brakes

Two brake systems are offered on the new TT RS, both offering outstanding stopping performance. The TT RS comes standard equipped with eight-piston monobloc brake calipers with 370mm ventilated and cross-drilled discs at the front. Also available are front carbon-ceramic brake discs with Anthracite Gray painted calipers as part of the Dynamic plus package. These are more than 8 lbs lighter than the traditional cast-iron rotors and offer increased resistance to brake fade.

Exterior Design and Body

The design of the new TT RS features the same timeless lines of the original TT coupe coupled with reinterpreted sporty elements that harken back the vehicle’s racing heritage. The three-dimensional Singleframe® grille with the signature quattro script, larger air intakes to serve the engine’s need for cooling, fixed rear wing spoiler and large oval tailpipes instantly convey the vehicle’s sporty DNA. Additionally, for the first time in a series-production Audi, the TT RS offers available OLED (organic light-emitting diode) rear taillights in a visually impressive 3D design.

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Exterior
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Additional exterior design highlights include:

19-inch, five-arm design Galvano silver wheels with summer performance tires or available 20-inch, seven-spoke-design, Galvano silver forged wheels with summer tires
Available Black optic package includes 20-inch, seven-spoke design, high-gloss anthracite forged wheels with summer tires, high gloss black exterior mirror housings and a TT RS specific black optic exterior
Standard full LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
Standard LED taillights with dynamic turn signals or available OLED taillights
Standard Matte Alu-optic exterior styling package including matte Alu-optic exterior mirror housings, front blade, rear diffusor and Singleframe® grille surround
Standard Aluminum race inlays or available carbon fiber decorative inlays
Fixed rear wing spoiler

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior
- image 673833

Interior Design and Infotainment

Similar to the TT Coupe, the TT RS features a driver-oriented interior with easy-to-operate controls and functions. From its S sport seats with the integrated head restraints and deeply sculpted adjustable side bolsters, the TT RS is a sports car with a high degree of everyday practicality.

Carrying over from the TT Coupe, the revolutionary HVAC controls eliminate the need for a conventional dash console and instead integrate fan speed, air vent selection and temperature directly into the center of the three central vents, underlining the clean, uncluttered design of the interior.

In addition to the impressive aesthetics, the TT RS represents the Audi brand’s advancements for in-vehicle technology. Similar to the R8 V10, the TT RS features three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles and two steering wheel-mounted satellite buttons (engine Start/Stop and Audi drive select). Behind the steering wheel, the Audi virtual cockpit, an entirely digital dashboard with 3D graphics, transforms the way the driver interacts with vehicle displays such as the tachometer and speedometer as well as navigation.

Additional interior highlights include:

Leather/Alcantara® three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel with RS badge and two satellite buttons
Heated, front Fine Nappa leather S sport seats with diamond stitching
Available design selection interior includes red contrast diamond stitching with seat perforations, red accents on air vents and seatbelts, and RS floor mats
Eight-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar support and pneumatic side bolsters
Aluminum door sill inlays with TT RS logo
Stainless steel footrest and pedal caps

2017 Audi TT-RS High Resolution Interior
- image 673834

Additional infotainment features include:

Standard Audi virtual cockpit features a 12.3-inch display that delivers vibrant color at 60 frames per second with NVIDIA® quad core processing power. Specific to the TT RS is a unique screen that displays information on tire pressure, torque and g-forces. When a defined engine speed is reached, the colored background of the scale prompts the driver to upshift via the steering wheel paddle or selector level.
Optional MMI® navigation plus with MMI touch features a completely redesigned menu structure and an all-new MMI search, which operates similar to an Internet search engine making text input simpler and quicker.
Available Audi smartphone interface for compatible devices, which provides Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto integration via USB connection, making smartphone interactions easier and more seamless for the driver.
Available Bang & Olufsen® Sound System featuring 12 speakers capable of producing 680 watts of pure, crisp sound.
Available Audi connect® features (supported by 4G LTE where available) include online traffic info, weather updates, fuel prices, Apple Siri® Eyes Free integration for compatible devices, internet radio streaming as well as picture navigation, read-aloud personalized news headlines and Twitter® alerts, among other features.
Available Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph.

The all-new 2018 TT RS will join the Audi Sport model line launching this spring.

Pricing Detail:

Model year 2018 TT RS model line starting manufacturer suggested retail prices:
MODEL

2018 TT RS

$64,900

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