Audi unveils the TT-RS Coupe and Roadster at the Beijing Auto Show

In March of 2016 we were looking at the most recent spy shots of the upcoming Audi TT-RS Roadster, and with the kickoff of the Beijing Auto Show, we’re finally getting to see the car in the metal. The Roadster is a pretty big departure from its predecessor. Highlights include new styling up front, new Matric OLED lights available in the rear, a cockpit that is focused on the driver, and – more importantly – an updated 2.5-liter that promises to bring a 60-horsepower improvement over the previous model. The new TT-RS Roadster hits showrooms in Europe as early as fall of 2016 and will have a starting price of €69,200 – $77,873 at current exchange rates.

Originally, we expected to see the TT-RS Coupe debut at the New York Auto Show and the TT-RS Roadster to come later on at the Paris Auto Show in October. Audi threw us all for a loop, however, and decided to pull the sheet off both at the Beijing Auto Show. Since we’ve been itching to see the Roadster like there is no tomorrow, join me on a stroll down the page as we talk about the new TT-RS Roadster in detail. There are some exciting things to talk about, if you’re an Audi fan, that is.

Updated 04/25/2016: Audi unveiled the new TT RS at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster.

  • 2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed S Tronic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    354
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    € 69200
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    9/10

Exterior

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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Looking at the previous-generation TT-RS Roadster and the new-gen model side by side, we can see that the exterior styling is more refined than ever, but more aggressive at the same time. Up front, the car has maintained its smooth and unadulterated hood, but the four-ring badge now graces the tip of the hood as opposed to sitting inside the grille. Speaking of which, the grille has also changed dramatically. It now has a hexagonal shape, with honeycomb mesh. On the bottom edge of the grille, the Quattro logo is prominently displayed.

The exterior styling is more refined than ever, but more aggressive at the same time

Now that the hood has been redesigned and doesn’t curve down at the nose, the headlights now take on a less rounded shape and are recessed under the hood just a little bit on the inside edge, giving the front end more of a 3D effect. On the corners of the fascia, the vents have been redesigned. There aren’t as wide as they were on the outgoing model, and now feature a vertical louver toward the outside edge and honeycomb mesh. The small air dam-like vent below the grille now has two vertical louvers, which add even more character to the front end.

On the sides, there is more evidence of the car’s redesign. The side view mirrors now have shorter arms and sit a little lower than before. The same body line runs from the front wheel arch back to the rear. Down below, however, the protruding body line between the front wheel arches is gone, and the side skirts no have more aggressive styling. The taillights still wrap around from the rear and terminate into a sharp point where the rear fascia meets the rear quarter. The car comes standard with 19-inch wheels, but can be optioned with 20-inch, forged lightweight rollers.

To the rear, we can see that the rear decklid and the taillights were redesigned. The end sides of the decklid now slant inward, which means the taillights now come to a sharper point at the base of the decklid. There is a body line that runs the width of the rear fascia, and down below, there is a new rear diffuser. The new diffuser is now all black, and the exhaust outlets in each corner look to have moved inward a bit. A small spoiler on the rear decklid rounds off the aerodynamically enhanced exterior of the new TT-RS Roadster.

Interior

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Interior
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Interior
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Interior
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It looks like Audi put just as much time into redesigning the interior as it did the exterior. For starters, the TT-RS Roadster comes standard with Audi’s fully digital virtual cockpit. The 12.3-inch display screen makes up the instrument cluster and offers three different views, with the most important being a special “RS” screen that displays the tachometer as well as information regarding tire pressure, torque, and g-force, among others. For the record, this is the mode you’ll want the instrument cluster in as you power around your local track on the weekend.

The TT-RS Roadster comes standard with Audi’s fully digital virtual cockpit

The screen also displays a virtual shift light, so you don’t forget to shift up as you have fun in those higher gears. Another new development inside is the RS sport leather steering wheel. It has shift paddles and two satellite buttons that are used to fire up and shut down the engine and alter the driving dynamics. The idea is that the driver doesn’t have to remove his hands from the wheel to make any changes to the car’s handling capabilities.

On the entertainment side of things, the TT-RS Roadster can be optioned with Audi’s MMI navigation plus infotainment system with MMI touch, Audi connect with Wi-Fi hotspot, and natural voice control. With the built-in phone box, cell phones can be charged inductively and paired with the on-board antenna. Selected apps from the phone can be accessed and displayed directly on the virtual cockpit screen, so with that said, who needs a co-pilot? Of course, the entertainment system wouldn’t be complete without a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

As you look over the interior, you can see other interesting changes as well. Now that the in-dash display screen isn’t mounted in the center stack, the three center vents have now been dropped down a bit and sit at an angle. A small host of buttons sits directly below the center vents, offering certain HVAC functions and the ability to access the hazard lights. Most notably, the center console has changed rather dramatically. The handbrake is now electronic, so there was no need for a handle cutout in the console. That said, the console is now more refined with the shifter in the middle, and a knob just below it to control various other functions. Carbon fiber inserts cover the face of the center console as well has the door handles. Furthermore, the seats have taken a new design with white contrast stitching and a diamond quilted pattern in the middle. All told, it’s a pretty big and welcomed departure from the outgoing model.

Drivetrain

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Drivetrain
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The 2.5 liter TFSI now delivers 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque - a 60 horsepower and 24 pound-foot improvement over the previous model

There is even more to talk about on the drivetrain front. The 2.5-liter TFSI has been voted as the “Engine of the Year” six times in a row, and Audi is hoping to increase that number. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine has been developed even more and features a more lightweight construction, reduced internal friction and increased power delivery. Audi didn’t go too far into details as far as exactly what it did to the aluminum engine, but it now delivers 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 60 horsepower and 24 pound-foot improvement over the previous model. Special attention has been paid to cylinder placement and firing order to ensure that the engine delivers a favorable and pleasing rhythm at high or low engine speeds.

Power is routed from through a seven-speed S Tronic transmission, and power is delivered to all four wheels via the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. With the Audi drive select system, the driver can change settings for the all-wheel-drive system, steering, transmission, engine performance, and exhaust flaps. Modes available include comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual. According to Audi, the TT-RS Roadster can hit the 60-mph sprint in 3.9 seconds – 0.2-seconds slower than the TT-RS Coupe – and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. That top speed limit, however, can be increased to 173 mph upon special request.

Pricing

The only thing we know for sure at this point is that the TT-RS Roadster will be hitting European showrooms come Fall of 2016. The Coupe will actually retail at €66,400, with the Roadster commanding a premium at €69,200. At current exchange rates, that’s $74,722 and $77,873, respectively. Unfortunately, we don’t know if any other markets will benefit from the new TT-RS Roadster, and chances are we probably won’t see it on U.S. shores anytime soon. Our fingers are still crossed, though.

Competition

Porsche 718 Boxster

2017 Porsche 718 Boxster High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Despite the fact that most of the body panels on the new Boxster are quite similar to the previous model, Porsche claims that each body panel was completely redesigned. All told, the 2017 model was actually a pretty mild facelift, even with the redesign of the body panels. Inside, the Boxster received a new dashboard and some new technology.

For 2017, the Boxster received a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That really isn’t enough to compete well with the TT-RS Roadster, though. So we have to look at the Boxster S. It has a 2.5-liter mill that pumps out 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet, which puts it much closer to that of the new TT-RS. The 60 mph sprint takes 4.4 seconds with a manual transmission, or 4.2 seconds when equipped with the PDK tranny. The standard Boxster retails from $56,000, but moving up to the Boxster S will set you back by $68,400 – right about where we expect the TT-RS Roadster to be priced.

Read our full review of the Porsche 718 Boxster here.

Conclusion

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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You’ve really got to give it to Audi when it comes to the TT-RS. In a world where the words “redesigned” and “all-new” are thrown around like dirty diapers, Audi came through a delivered a TT-RS that is worthy of the terms. Other manufacturers should really take note of what Audi has done here because the TT-RS is a prime example of what the evolution between generational models is supposed to look like. The car has received a fresh looking interior, and the cabin is sportier and more inviting than ever. I wish the TT-RS would come to U.S. shores for this generation, but somehow I doubt that will happen. We’ll still have the TTS, which will give us some of the luxuries found in the TT-RS, but we would love to get the full package that is the TT-RS. Hint, hint, Audi…..

  • Leave it
    • Probably won’t come to U.S.
    • Won’t debut until at least six months after the TT-RS Coupe

Spy Shots

March 15, 2016 - First testing session

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

The sound: inimitable five-cylinder. The performance: tremendous at 294 kW (400 hp). The traction: inexhaustible thanks to quattro drive. As the sporty spearhead of the TT series, the new TT RS* is to be marketed under the Audi Sport label. At the Beijing Motor Show, Audi is presenting its Coupé and its Roadster for the first time to the world’s public. Sales in Europe will begin in fall 2016.

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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“The new aluminum five-cylinder engine delivers 400 hp, which is 60 hp more than its predecessor,” says Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. “Together with the quattro drive, it ensures sporty driving pleasure with maximum traction. Audi uses Matrix OLED technology in the rear lights for the first time.”

Impressive performance: the new five-cylinder engine
A jury of international motor journalists has voted the 2.5 TFSI “Engine of the Year” six times in a row. Now Audi has further developed the five-cylinder engine in all areas – with lightweight construction measures, reduced internal friction and increased power delivery. As a result, the turbo engine gains a good 17 percent increase in performance at an unchanged capacity of 2,480 cc. At 294 kW (400 hp), it is more powerful than ever before. The maximum torque of 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft) is available between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm. It ensures fantastic pulling power, which accompanies the unmistakable sound. Cylinders positioned directly beside each other and far away from each other fire in alternation. This brings with it a very special rhythm. The TT RS Coupé accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds, the Roadster in 3.9 seconds – this corresponds to the level of a supercar. Audi regulates the top speed at 250 km/h (155.3 mph), or at 280 km/h (173.9 mph) upon request.

For the best traction and plenty of driving pleasure: the quattro drive
The forces of the 2.5 TFSI engine flow via a seven-speed S tronic, which shifts at lightning speed, to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Its multi-plate clutch distributes the power freely between the axles. This provides strong grip and immense driving pleasure. The wheel-selective torque control makes handling even more agile and safe. Using the Audi drive select system, the driver can influence the quattro drive and other components such as the steering, S tronic, engine characteristic and exhaust flaps. The four modes available for this are comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual.

Pure dynamics: the chassis
In addition to its light weight, the Audi TT RS has its sporty chassis to thank for its outstanding handling. The direct steering provides close contact with the road and makes it a pleasure to drive challenging winding stretches. At the front axle, ventilated and perforated steel discs are in action behind the 19-inch wheels – or 20-inch forged lightweight wheels as an option. Alternatively, lighter and particularly abrasion-resistant carbon-fiber ceramic discs are available. At the back, a steel monoblock disc is used. As an option, Audi supplies RS sport suspension plus adaptive dampers in magnetic ride technology. In this case, the damping characteristics can be influenced electronically. The control technology is integrated into the driving dynamics system known as Audi drive select.

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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New feature: Matrix OLED lights
For the first time in a series-production Audi, Matrix OLED technology (organic light emitting diode) is used in the rear lights as an option. These emit an extremely homogeneous, high-contrast light. The light can be continuously dimmed, it does not cast any shadows and does not require any reflectors – this makes the OLEDs in 3D design efficient, light and visually impressive. Each rear light contains four wafer-thin units which become smaller from the inside out. The biggest bears the TT logo and the four Audi rings. The TT RS has LED rear lights and LED headlights as standard. Alternatively, the latter are available as intelligently controlled Matrix LED units.

Athletically streamlined: the exterior design
Large air inlets, a Singleframe grille with a newly designed honeycomb grille and quattro logo, a fixed rear wing and two large, oval exhaust tailpipes – the new TT RS Coupé and the new TT RS Roadster exude concentrated power. Along the flanks, aerodynamically-shaped side sills emphasize the dynamic design. Both models measure 4.19 meters (13.9 ft) in length, 1.83 meters (6 ft) in width and 1.34 meters (4.5 ft) in height.

Inspired by racing cars: the cockpit
Controls and display in the new TT RS are focused completely on the driver. All information is displayed as standard on the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3-inch screen. The driver can choose from three views, including a special RS screen that highlights the rev counter and provides information on tire pressure, torque, and g‑force, among other things. The Audi virtual cockpit also displays a shift light which informs the driver that the engine speed limit has been reached. For the first time in the RS portfolio, the RS sport leather steering wheel with shift paddles has two operating satellite buttons for turning the engine on and off as well as the driving dynamics system known as Audi drive select, in addition to multifunction buttons. This means that the driver’s hands stay on the wheel at all times. The driver can influence the exhaust flap control via the sound button on the center console.

2018 Audi TT-RS Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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Best entertainment: infotainment and Audi connect
Audi also offers a huge amount of high-end infotainment technology. The options include MMI navigation plus with MMI touch including free text search and natural voice control, as well as the Audi connect online module with Wi-Fi hotspot. Using Audi phone box, compatible cell phones can be charged inductively and paired with the onboard antennae for optimal reception. The new Audi smartphone interface technology displays selected apps from the cell phone directly in the Audi virtual cockpit. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is a highlight for fans of excellent acoustics.

Golden Fall: market launch
The new TT RS models will be launched on the European market in fall 2016. The Coupé prices start at 66,400 euros, the Roadster is listed at 69,200 euros.

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