• 2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven

    The new generation TT RS was launched short after the new Audi TT went on sale in 2014
  • And a small facelift followed for the 2019 model year
  • The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is made in 3.7 seconds
  • The front and the rear of the TT RS were redrawn so that the tiny coupe looks more dynamic
  • The sporty look of the rear is enhanced by a newly designed fixed rear wing
  • And rode on 20-inch 7-spoke design titanium matte forged wheels combined with red brake calipers
  • With a quattro logo in matt titanium being placed in the lower section of the grill
  • The exhaust system ends with two large oval exhaust tailpipes
  • The door armrests, pulls and the console are covered in leather
  • The interior of the TT RS is focused completely on the driver
  • The TT RS comes standard with an Audi virtual cockpit
  • And the seats, air vents and the center console features red elements
  • The engine is mated to a seven-speed S tronic to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive
  • And LED headlights are offered as standard
  • Under the hood there is a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine
  • With an output of 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque
  • An Bang & Olufsen sound system was also part of the deal
  • Even the floor mats have a specific RS design
  • The RS sport seats are wrapped in fine Nappa leather with a honeycomb pattern and an RS logo
  • That offers info on the tire pressure, torque, and g-force
  • The front is dominated by the typical RS honeycomb grill
  • The lateral air inlets were enlarged for a better engine cooling
  • The front spoiler and the front apron are connected, so that the TT RS gets a motorsport-inspired look
  • The exterior mirror housings are paint in gloss black
  • Our test car came with a cool Tango red exterior paint
  • And top speed is limited to 155 mph (but can be increased to 174 mph)
  • Our tester car was priced at $77,490

Forget the Audi RS7 - we’ll take a new Audi TT-RS any day!

Audi updated the TT-RS for the 2019 model year, and after just a year on the market, we finally managed to get our hands on one. To our surprise, we found that the updated front and rear designs actually give the TT-RS a more dynamic, yet aggressive look. That is thanks to, at least in part, the new honeycomb grille up front that’s paired with the contrasted front spoiler lip.

Further emphasizing the sporty appearance of our TT-RS tester were the black mirror caps, the black accents on the rear spoiler, and the black diffuser-like elements in the rear fascia. Most people wouldn’t recognize some of the smaller bits, but those black legs for the spoiler, for instance, really stand out with the black accents on the rear decklid and the taillights.

The interior design of the TT-RS just screams performance and, at times, we almost felt like we were driving a Porsche. Maybe it’s the honeycomb inserts on the seats, the low seating position, or the material on the flat-bottom steering wheel. Honestly, it was probably a combination of all three, but we were so mesmerized by the crispness of the Audi virtual cockpit it was hard to look away.

Under the hood sits Audi’s classic 2.5-liter inline-five with 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. We really wish we had a six-speed manual, but unfortunately, the best we could ask for was the seven-speed automatic. The AWD was nice and, despite Audi’s claims of a 3.7-second sprint to 60 mph, we actually clocked the same run somewhere in the high-3.5 to low-3.6 range on multiple occasions. If we had tried a top speed run, we would have been limited to 155 mph (we didn’t break the highway speed limit, though) however, if you’re willing to pay for it, you could get that limit raised to 174 mph. Pricing for our tester, as you see it here, was $77,490.

  • 2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-5
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    394
  • Torque @ RPM:
    354
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2020 Audi TT-RS Exterior Design

  • Aggressive inlets and big wheels let everyone know this TT means business
  • Silver accents around the lip spoiler and the exterior rearview mirrors
  • Black accent package (for wing, nose lip, vent surrounds) also available
  • Huge, singleframe grille with honeycomb mesh, an RS signature
  • Bigger side skirts and the fixed wing complete the visual package
  • Black multi-spoke and silver five-spoke rims also available
  • More than a foot shorter than a Porsche 911
  • 0.4 inches lower than a regular Audi TT
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876545
With a quattro logo in matt titanium being placed in the lower section of the grill
When you see the face of the TT-RS, one that's been altered a bit here and there in the last few years, you see a pissed-off badger.

The singleframe grille isn’t as broad as on some sedans and then there are also the humongous side inlets as well as the protruding lower lip, and the way the hood cuts in over the nose, making the headlights look extra pointy. In fact, the whole face of the TT-RS is all about pointy edges and straight surfaces, an interesting juxtaposition given the roundness of the body and wheel arches.

In the front, the hexagonal grille with its black, hexagonal mesh (but a differently shaped hexagon with the pair angled sides of equal lengths, while the grille itself features much longer angled sides in its lower extremity) dominates everything. The headlights, angled down to exaggerate the way the grille protrudes forward, actually form a triangle in the top outer corner between the outer edges of the grille and the light cluster itself. With the way the hood actually comes hovering over that area, it makes you think there’s some sort of an inlet there but there isn’t, it’s just more intricate surfacing from Audi.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876551
The front and the rear of the TT RS were redrawn so that the tiny coupe looks more dynamic

There’s more of that down below where the edge of the spoiler, painted in black to match the accents on the lip of the rims as well as the side mirrors, goes down on either side of the main grille to accommodate for the opening of the outboard inlets and then goes up in the middle, thus making room for three extra nozzles.

On the inside of the lower part of the grille's frame, you can see the word 'Quattro' written in silver font.

This is a detail that was present on the 2018 MY as well, but that one got silver accents as standard equipment and the letters were all black. You won’t see the extra branding on lesser TT S models.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876525

Talking about the 2018 TT-RS, that one featured a separated vent to the outside of the outboard inlets below the headlights, separated from the inlets themselves through a body-painted frame. On the 2020 version, however, this extra small vent within a vent has been moved towards the inner part of the side vents with the separation being a bit more obvious as they now look like they’re part of the body-painted area that set apart the main grille from the two lower vents. In all, the TT-RS sports a total of eight (8) inlets across its front fascia and that’s if we consider the singleframe grille as being a single vent but it’s actually divided by a bar to which you’d attach the number plate in Europe and other places.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876450
The front spoiler and the front apron are connected, so that the TT RS gets a motorsport-inspired look
Is it, then, a bit too much? We don't necessarily think so.

The TT-RS must stand out when parked next to a Porsche, after all, and it can only do that by boasting with its shouty exterior full of black accents (the four Audi roundels on the hood are black too) and that’s precisely what it does. The hood features two obvious ridges that end just above the inner tip of the headlights.

Viewed from the side, the TT-RS still looks round with that bulbous roof and the curvaceous rear section. The wheel arches too are big but they’ve always been big on a TT, it’s one of the model’s signature design features. However, they’re not just for show on the RS version as they house the humongous 20-inch seven-spoke, titanium matte finish alloys.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876454
Our car came with these wheels that are a $2,000 extra and you can only have them if you also go for the $1,050 'Black Optic' package.

The latter adds all the blacked-out accents we’ve talked about before and some more like the black side skirts on the otherwise body-painted rocker panels (without the ’Black Optic’ package, your TT will come with the silver accents in the places ours is black). Talking about colors, our RS was painted in Tango Red Metallic, a $595 option. Only Kyalami Green, Nardo Grey, Pulse Orange, and Turbo Blue are available free of charge - in other words, only the four non-metallic tints. You can also go for one of a myriad of Audi special paints but you’ll have to fork out an extra $3,900 if you reckon your TT-RS deserves a truly special paint job.

Sadly, the multi-piece 20-inch wheels with a silver outline available on the TT-S are not available on the RS for whatever reason. Now, while these seven-spoke ones don’t look nearly as good, they’re a clear improvement over the standard, 19-inch five-spoke rims that are too tame for the character of this car. In this regard, you can get the 20-inch rims if you go for the $2,000 Dynamic Package that also includes 255/30 performance tires and a sport exhaust system with black muffler tips. The main benefit of the sport exhaust is the ability to set the sound of the exhaust into ’Sport Mode’ or, in other words, loud mode. Yep, if you want a properly loud exhaust on your TT-RS you’ll have to pay an extra two grand...

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876455
And top speed is limited to 155 mph (but can be increased to 174 mph)
In the back, the TT-RS catches everyone's attention with that towering full-width fixed rear wing with rather big endplates.

You can switch back to the adaptive wing that comes in and out at speed free of charge but since this big, fixed one is also included in the car’s MSRP you might as well go with it. Sure, you will see it through the back window but that’s why the TT-RS comes with more sensors than your house.

The LED rear light clusters can be updated to OLED tech if you don't mind paying an extra $1,600.

The pattern of the LEDs in the back is nice anyway with the lower strip of LEDs running in parallel with the rear bumper, besides the two angled strips to the sides. In an effort to make the TT-RS even meaner, Audi added a pair of small, useless vents below the taillights with this final visual touch-up. They are visually connected by the upper ridge of the rear bumper.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876543
The exhaust system ends with two large oval exhaust tailpipes

The rear couldn’t have been complete without a diffuser and the twin exhaust. The black muffler tips let you know if the owner of the TT-RS you happened to spot out in town skimped on the $2,000 ’Dynamic’ package or not. Due to WLTP regulations, you can’t have the screamy function on the stock exhaust as the ’sport’ one also comes with a different particulate filter but we don’t think Audi’s particularly flustered about that. At the end of the day, premium manufacturers love to add in options to make you pay more for stuff you should’ve gotten for free, especially when you consider that this is the range-topping TT with a sticker price of $67,600 (you already know the one we drove for a week is almost $10,000 more so there you go).

How Big is the Audi TT-RS?

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876454
With the general trend in the auto industry being that of growth, you'd expect the TT to be bigger than the original '90s model and, while that's true, the margins aren't too big.

A first-gen TT measures 159.1 inches in length and is 73.1 inches wide or just under six inches shorter and 4.3 inches wider. To put it into perspective, the second-gen TT grew by 5.4 inches in length and 3.1 inches in width over the Bauhaus-esque curtain-raiser unveiled at the 1998 Paris Auto Show in production form.

So, yes, the TT is slightly larger than it once was but it’s barely grown over the last 10 years and it’s smaller than its main rivals. A 718 Cayman, for instance, measures 172.4 inches in length while a Nissan 370Z Nismo measures 167.5 inches from end to end. The BMW M2 Competition is even longer at 176.3 inches while being four inches narrower. The Porsche and the Nissan are narrower too, and by a greater margin: the Cayman is under 71 inches wide and the Nissan just 60.1 inches wide, a whopping 17.3 inches narrower than the TT.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876550
The sporty look of the rear is enhanced by a newly designed fixed rear wing

Height-wise, the TT is taller than both the latest Z car, but only by 1.1 inches, and the Cayman - the Porsche measures little under 51 inches in height (50.8 inches for all you number geeks out there). The BMW, on the other hand, is taller at 55.5 inches which isn’t the best combination when you take into consideration the fact that it’s also narrower than the Audi.

To realize really how compact Audi's 'baby R8' really is, you should park it next to the German automaker's core sedan, the A4.

A 2020 MY A4 measures 187.5 inches in length and is 72.7 inches wide sans mirrors. That’s a difference of 22.5 inches in overall length while the TT-RS is almost five inches wider. For a really unusual metric, let’s just say the difference between an A4 and a TT-RS is almost that of two football balls placed end-to-end. The R8 itself is 9.3 inches longer and, amazingly, a whole inch narrower!

Audi TT-RS vs Competition - exterior dimensions
Audi TT-RS Porsche Porsche 718 Cayman S Nissan 370Z Nismo
Length 165 172.4 167.5
Width 77.4 70.9 60.1
Height 52.9 51 51.8
Wheelbase 98.6 97.4 100.4
Ground Clearance 6.49 4.52 4.8
Front Track 61.6 60.1 60.1
Rear Track 60.8 60.63 61.6

2020 Audi TT-RS Interior Design

  • Alcantara is available for the cabin, which exudes quality from every pore
  • Bucket seats offer good support, the driving position is satisfactory
  • The TT-RS can be had with Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit
  • There’s no added infotainment screen in the middle of the dash
  • The center console is slightly angled towards the driver
  • The rear seats are so small, Audi warns against sitting in the back if you’re over 5 feet tall
  • MMI Navigation Plus system with MMI touch functionality
  • 10GB of onboard HDD storage and Audi Connect are standard
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876538
The interior of the TT RS is focused completely on the driver
The cabin of the 2020 Audi TT-RS is a brilliant space to be in.

It doesn’t feel cramped inside, the S sport front seats offer plenty of side bolstering, and the dash offers a nice mixture of new and old school goodness. For starters, the analog binnacle in older TTs has been ditched in favor of Audi’s fancy Virtual Cockpit digital display but that’s about it. There’s no added infotainment screen on top of the dash or within the center console anywhere. All you get in the middle of the dash are a few buttons and three big, circular air vents.

The seats, since we’ve mentioned them once before, are wrapped in Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching and RS embossing. You’ll notice the RS badge is just about anywhere inside the TT-RS including on the gear knob, the floor mats, the door sills, the digital gauges, and on the steering wheel. You can choose the color of the stitching inside the car and ours came with red stitching to match the red ’Design selection’ interior trim option that adds red accents on air vents, center console, front seats, and front seatbelts, as well as more leather in places like the armrests and the center console. The ’Design selection’ package is available in either red or blue and it costs a hefty $1,150.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876488

The RS comes from standard with aluminum inlays around the center console and the dash. If you want those inlays to be made out of carbon fiber, like in the car we drove, you’ll have to pay an extra $600. It may seem like much but, hey, remember the colored stitching we talked about before? You can choose the color between red, blue, and black without paying a penny more!

So, how is it behind the wheel of the TT? Well, the first thing you notice when you jump inside is that the wheel is quite unique in that it has two new buttons on either side of the airbag cap in the middle.

One of the buttons, specifically the red one on the right, wakes the engine up. The other one allows you to toggle through the driving modes. The wheel itself is flat at the bottom as most sporty wheels are today and that red 12 o’clock marker isn’t standard. It’s a $300 option. It looks cool, sure, but does it look $300 cool? We don’t think so.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876481

The whole center console actually tilts towards the driver which makes it easier for you to reach for the buttons directly above the shifter. There aren’t many. There’s the hazard lights button there, the button that turns the ESP off - which isn’t advisable unless you’re at a track and you know what you’re doing, although this car isn’t easy to spin, and another button for the parking brake.

The lower center console isn’t particularly cluttered. You’ve got your shifter, the circular, multi-functional dial for the infotainment system and a few buttons around it, like one that turns the radio on or off. Down below you get a single cup holder next to the armrest between the seats.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876490
There aren't too many storage compartments inside the TT-RS.

Besides the pockets in the doors, you’ve got the glove box and the back seat and that’s about it. Sure, you can argue the back seat was designed to carry people as evidenced by the presence of belts back there but, frankly, it’s hopelessly tight in the back unless you’re a toddler. Otherwise, you’re better off folding the rear seats down to increase the trunk’s capacity a bit.

2020 Audi TT-RS Interior Space

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876497
The RS sport seats are wrapped in fine Nappa leather with a honeycomb pattern and an RS logo
There's plenty of room inside for two adults.

Broadly speaking, the larger 370Z Nismo only averages about 1-2 inches over the TT-RS in terms of headroom, shoulder room and legroom and we deem that as being acceptable. And there’s no back seat in the Nissan 370Z. An M2 Competition, similarly, isn’t much bigger inside. With 40 inches of headroom, it offers three extra inches over the Audi but that’s because of the more straight-cut shape of the roof. While the theme continues across the board, the 54 inches of shoulder room inside the BMW amount to just 0.4 inches more than you get inside the TT-RS and that’s the same margin when it comes to legroom in the front.

The bigger differences between the Bimmer and the Audi can be seen when you jump or, more appropriately, squirm your way into the back. The M2 Competition offers 37 inches of rear headroom, 53 inches of shoulder room, and 33 inches of legroom. Meanwhile, the TT-RS can do no better than just under 34 inches of headroom and 48 inches of shoulder room with just 29 inches of legroom.

Having said that, you can actually fit a pair of forward-facing child seats inside the TT-RS if you've got time on your hands.

Sure, child seats for older children (+3 years of age) are smaller but those for new-borns will give you grey hairs as you bend yourself in awkward angles to get them in. Once in, you must also slide your seat forwards a fair bit, particularly if you’re taller. In short, the TT-RS is not a car meant for a family - if it wasn’t already painfully obvious - but it can just about do the job as it’s got LATCH anchors in place and all. Not the easiest to access but they’re there, just don’t think about getting in more than one rear-facing child seat...

2020 Audi TT RS interior dimensions
Head room (in,front) 37.1
Head room (in, rear) 33.8
Leg room (in, front) 41.1
Leg room (in, rear) 28.9
Shoulder room (in, front) 53.6
Shoulder room (in, rear) 47.9

2020 Audi TT-RS Cargo Room

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876522
The minimum cargo capacity of the TT-RS is listed at 12.0 cubic-feet, almost double that of a 370Z Nismo (6.9 cubic-feet) and some three cubic-feet down on the minimum capacity of a 718 Cayman.

The luggage capacity of an M2 Competition stands at 13.8 cubic-feet. If you fold the rear seats, you get a maximum cargo capacity of 25.14 cubic-feet which surpasses the best that all of its rivals can do. The TT-RS, then, is a rather practical car that you can use on your holidays as a couple’s car but the trunk with the rear seats up is a bit small for a three-person family since you can’t really cram a stroller in the back although there is room for one of those pram travel systems that feature car seat adapters.

2020 Audi TT-RS Infotainment System

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
- image 876494

Our TT-RS came fitted with the optional and pricey Technology package. For $2,800 you get the Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility that, by and large, negates the need for a built-in GPS. In spite of this, the package also features MMI navigation and Audi Connect with a free six-month trial period. Also part of the deal is the sweet-sounding 680-watt Bang & Olufsen system with 12 speakers.

The single digital display inside the car, namely the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit is standard since there's no other infotainment display inside the cabin.

If you’ve been in another latest-gen Audi with a Virtual Cockpit inside, this one’s no different. You can personalize it in a ton of ways and make it show you all sorts of information besides the usual dials, map, water and oil temperatures or fuel level. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is also optional.

What’s a bit unusual is that the TT-RS lacks the plethora of safety features we’ve come to expect from just about any new car nowadays, not to mention a +$70,000 premium sports coupe. Still, you do get parking sensors and a back-up camera. Blind-spot monitoring is a $450 option.

2020 Audi TT-RS Performance

  • Still powered by an inline-five engine
  • The 2.5-liter mill puts out 394 horsepower
  • That’s 44 horsepower more than what you get from Porsche’s four-pot
  • Max torque is rated at 354 pound-feet, again above Porsche numbers
  • 0-60 mph over and done with in 3.6 seconds (conservative time)
  • It’s quicker on paper than a Ferrari F430 or a 911 (997) Turbo
  • Top speed limited to 155 mph
  • Power reaches all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Reassuringly grippy, chassis tuning is impeccable, although the suspension is maybe too stiff
  • But when you consider how well it drives, it makes sense
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Drivetrain
- image 876504

The third-generation Audi TT-RS is underpinned by Audi’s MQB platform, the same as in the case of the third-generation Audi A3, the third-generation Seat Leon, and the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf.

But the RS version claims its ground with a well-defined personality that makes it stand out even among other TTs.

Suspension is independent all around with RS-tuned MacPherson struts in the front and a four-link setup in the rear. The clever Audi Magnetic Ride system adjusts the pressure in the adaptive dampers on the go but you can actually make do without the magnetic ride if you go for the free fixed sports suspension option. We, however, like Audi’s Magnetic Ride system and recommend it as it works with the driving modes available: Comfort, Dynamic, Auto, and Individual.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Drivetrain
- image 876506
Under the hood there is a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine

We mostly drove around in Comfort mode but it’s in Dynamic that you really feel the nature of the beast (and you can hear it too by enabling the full aural range of the Sport exhaust if you have it installed). Steering is by electromechanical rack-and-pinion just like in a Porsche 718 Cayman S or a Nissan 370Z Nismo.

The brakes are huge at both ends with 14.6-inch ventilated, eight-piston rotors at the front with striking red calipers. In the back, you’ll find 12.2-inch rotors. They look great from behind the seven spokes of the 20-inch optional rims on the car we drove. And they’re needed as this RS weighs in at 3,296 pounds, a whole 306 pounds heavier than a Porsche 718 Cayman S but also 161 pounds lighter than a Nissan 370Z Nismo.

Compared to those two cars, the TT-RS is the most powerful.

Its 2.5-liter, 20-valve, DOHC turbocharged inline-five produces 394 hp at 6,000 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 rpm. By comparison, both the Cayman S and the 370Z Nismo bring to the table 350 ponies and no more than 310 pound-feet of torque (the Z car’s aging V-6 cranks out just 276 pound-feet). Add that to the fact that the TT-RS’ seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels and you understand why Audi’s pocket rocket goes from naught to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.

The Porsche and the Nissan meanwhile, both RWD and with a six-speed manual sending the oomph to the wheels, need 4.4 and 4.9 seconds respectively to reach 60 mph from a standing start. The 2,350-pound M2 Competition is faster. With 405 horsepower on tap from a 3.0-liter inline-six, it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds if paired with the six-speed manual or in four seconds flat if you go for the optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The M2 Competition also cranks out more torque, BMW rating it at 406 pound-feet.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876527
And LED headlights are offered as standard
2020 Audi TT RS vs Competition - drivetrain specifications
Audi TT-RS Porsche 718 Cayman S Nissan 370Z Nismo
Engine 2.5-Liter Five-Cylinder 2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder 3.7-Liter V-6
Transmission Seven-Speed DCT Six-Speed Manual Six-Speed Manual
Horsepower 394 HP 350 HP 350 HP
Torque 354 LB-FT 309 LB-FT 276 LB-FT
Driveline Quattro AWD RWD RWD
Fuel Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline
Fuel Economy 19/29/23 20/26/22 17/26/20
Suspension Front Struts \ Rear Four-Link Four-Wheel Independent DBL Wishbone Front \ Multi-Link Rear
Steering Electromechanical Electromechanical Electromechanical
Turning Circle 36.1 FT 36.1 FT 34.1 FT
Front Tire Size 245/35/R19 265/40ZR18 285/35R19
Rear Tire Size 245/35/R19 265/40ZR18 285/35R19
0-60 MPH 3.6 Seconds 4.4 Seconds 4.9 Seconds (est)
Top Speed 155 MPH 177 MPH 155 MPH (est)

Is the 2020 Audi TT-RS Fast?

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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Yes, convincingly so. The 2.5-liter, turbocharged inline-five with its uneven firing order is a great engine and it really pulls. In the U.S., the TT-RS is limited to a top speed of 155 mph but, without the limiter, it can go all the way to 174 mph in Dynamic Plus mode which is merely three mph off the Porsche 718 Cayman S.

In short, the Audi is faster off the line and faster to 60 mph and it will stay with a Cayman S on just about any track on a sunny day. If, however, it gets a bit damp and greasy, the Porsche’s got no chance as the TT’s Quattro system kicks into high gear and you’ll be driving circles around both the Nissan and that Porker. The Audi is, then, fast on almost any given day of the year.

Does the Audi TT-RS Have AWD?

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The TT-Rs can only be had with permanent AWD. In theory, Audi says the Quattro system can send 100% of the power to the rear wheels but that only occurs if, somehow, the front wheels get no traction. The moment the system senses that the front rubber at least partially touches firm ground, it’ll dispatch some oomph and torque to the front axle as well. What this means is that the car isn’t going to surprise you by throwing its tail around and about if you mash the loud pedal exiting a roundabout. In fact, you can’t do donuts with it even if you turn the ESP off. It does want to slide more without the electronic aids but it doesn’t drift like a Hellcat, never.

Audi TT-RS Driving Impressions

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The front is dominated by the typical RS honeycomb grill
It's confidence that the TT-RS will deliver in unbelievable quantities.

It’s easy to drive slow and at a higher rate of speed thanks to the adaptive ride control and the Quattro system which means you feel like you can push it more than you would an RWD car, naturally. Grip, thus, is plentiful but the steering is a bit moot.

The fixed suspension option is only good if you plan to autocross your TT-RS or take it to Track Days on a regular basis. With it in place, Car & Driver reckons a slightly inexperienced driver won’t be able to feel the end of grip approaching (that’s when understeering kicks in) as well as one would with the adaptive system in place. Our car came with all the clever paraphernalia in place and it’s great.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876551
The front and the rear of the TT RS were redrawn so that the tiny coupe looks more dynamic

The ride itself is stiff even in Comfort mode but the car isn’t communicating too much to you. Its astounding levels of grip tell you you can push and push - in and out of a bend - but that’s about it.

It corners flat and stable but a Porsche gives tons more feel, the Nissan too.

But is that something bad given how well the TT-RS hides the fact that it’s, at the end of the day, a 3,300-pound car, merely 300 pounds less than an Audi A4?

Audi TT-RS Pricing

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
- image 876515
The TT-RS doesn't come cheap, as you'd expect.

The base MSRP is 67,600 without the $995 destination fee and all the other taxes set by the dealer. Our loaded example cost a whopping $77,490. To put it into perspective, a TT-S Coupe starts at $54,500 while a bog-standard TT Coupe is just $45,500.

A sticker price of over $77,000 is a lot of money but the 718 Cayman S starts at $71,000 without options which means it can easily surpass $80,000. A base model Cayman is just under $58,000 bare with the turbocharged T model costing $67,760 before options. A 370Z Nismo is significantly cheaper at about $46,575 but Nissan isn’t playing in the same league as Porsche and Audi are so you have to keep that in mind. And you should also remember that an R8 costs $170,000, more than twice the price of the TT-RS we tested.

Audi TT-RS Competition

There aren’t many cars quite like the Audi TT-RS. We picked the Porsche 718 Cayman S because the fastest TT in the range has always been about harassing Porsches and other sports cars and supercars and also the Nissan 370Z Nismo as it’s more of a budget choice. The BMW M2 Competition is another option but it’ll never be as chic as the TT.

2020 Porsche 718 Cayman S

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The fourth-generation Porsche Cayman was introduced back in 2016 and it features an evolutionary design language and one of the new flat-fours with the horizontally opposed cylinders. The Cayman is still related to the Boxster meaning you can go for that if summertime driving is what you’re after. A topless Audi TT is also offered but not in RS trim, sadly, while there is a Boxster S.

While there’s a gap of little over $3,000 in price between the Cayman T and the Cayman S, the S justifies its heftier MSRP by what’s under the hood. If the T features the 2.0-liter flat-four engine, the S is fitted with the bigger 2.5-liter mill that puts out 350 horsepower, 50 more than the T. The extra oomph makes about as fast as the GTS which, in turn, costs about $11,000 more. But don’t worry, given the price of Porsche options, you can get an S to cost as much as a GTS in no time.

The standard equipment is a six-speed manual. If you want the seven-speed PDK automatic, that’s $3,210 more. The Porsche Active Suspension Management, something broadly similar to Audi’s magnetic ride, is also optional and it costs anywhere between $1,790 and $2,080 depending on how low you want the car to sit (the Sport PASM system makes the car sit 0.78 inches closer to the ground than usual). Then there’s the $2,090 Sport Chrono package that adds driving modes (four if you go for the manual, five in the PDK variant) including Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Individual modes.

We’d definitely pick that as well as the $3,180 Premium Package Plus that features adaptive headlights, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats 14-way adjustable seats, and additional ambient LED lighting inside. So, if you only pick the Premium Package Plus and the Sport Chrono Package, the price goes up by a sizeable $5,270 over the base $71,000 MSRP and that’s before you add tidbits like metallic paint, fancier rims that can cost as much as $3,570 a set, or two-tone leather seats that are priced at almost $3,000!

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In short, the 718 Cayman S is a brilliant driver’s car. The steering is ultra-responsive and chassis tuning offers a perfect blend of grip and predictability, also thanks to the engine’s position in the middle, aft of the cabin. You really can’t find a fault with the way a Cayman drives and the cabin is a nice place to be too. Sure, if you don’t want to spend a pretty penny on sharp-looking leather, you’re left with some rather ungainly plastic inserts here and there and Android Auto connectivity is nonexistent (you can get Apple Car Play and navigation for a premium) but it’s still nice. We like the Audi’s interior a tad more however but you can’t deny that, once you step out, the Cayman is the sleeker of the two. They also get similar MPG (23 combined in case of the Audi and 22 combined for the Cayman S and it can get as much as 32 mpg down the highway with the PDK transmission that makes it a bit more economical).

Read our full review on the 2020 Porsche 718 Cayman S

2020 Nissan 370Z Nismo

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The Nissan 370Z is a bit like that old friend that you feel will always be there for you. The sixth-gen Nissan Z was introduced over a decade ago and you can feel that when you drive one: it’s quite noisy inside (and by that we mean sound insulation isn’t particularly good) and you don’t get as many premium features as you’d expect.

At the heart of the 370Z there’s still that familiar 3.7-liter VQ V-6 that revs all the way to 7,300 rpm to give you max power (350 horsepower). That’s an 18 horsepower hike over what the standard Z brings to the table. To cope with the extra power, the Nismo version is fitted with 14-inch brake rotors in the front with four-piston calipers that hide behind 19-inch RAYS forged alloys. It all seems good on paper but, in the real world, the 370Z Nismo doesn’t feel as agile when braking as a Supra or the more compact BRZ.

With stiffer springs and revised aerodynamics, including a ducktail spoiler in the back, the Nismo is clearly intended for track usage but, as mentioned, it’s past its best and won’t keep up with the latest sports cars on the market. Step inside and you can visually spot just how old the 370Z actually is. Base models don’t offer an up-to-date infotainment system and, while the Nismo range-topper does come with a seven-inch display in the middle, all Z cars lack a telescoping steering wheel. The Nismo version is, however, posher with leather-upholstered Recaro seats with faux-suede in the middle and Nismo badges everywhere.

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Modern safety features are absent from the options list of the 370Z as are stuff like Apple Car Play or Android Auto Connectivity. You can’t ask too much from a car released in 2009, can you? Having said that, a 370Z with the standard six-speed manual will always be fun to drive despite it being heavier than either a BMW M2 Competition, a Porsche 718 Cayman S, or an Audi TT-RS.

Read our full review on the 2020 Nissan 370Z Nismo

Final Thoughts

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The TT-RS won't be here for much longer.

In fact, any and all TTs are preparing to bow out so 2020 is virtually your last chance to hit an Audi dealer and buy one new and we think you should strongly consider it if you’re in the market for a compact sports car. We reckon you’ll end up choosing between it and a Cayman or, instead, between the M2 Competition and a Cayman. The Porsche will always edge ahead due to its proper sports car persona and added pedigree but the TT-RS holds its own thanks to its amazing ability to go fast at all times in the hands of just about anybody. It’s not as fun to drive as a Cayman but it’ll make you feel like a driving god thanks to all that grip that makes it seem you’re cornering on rails. Just be mindful of the way options add to the final price you’re going to pay...

Audi TT-RS Background Information

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is made in 3.7 seconds

Born as "an enthusiast’s car with great charisma," in the words of former Audi Chairman Herbert Demel, the Audi TT is one of those very few cars that can boast with an almost seamless transition from concept form to the greenlit production version. The first-gen TT as penned by Thomas Freeman and J. Mays can simply be described as the stepping stone between a Miata and a Porsche 911. It shares some of the Miata’s values in that it’s relatively small and designed to offer smiles per gallon aplenty while also offering a lush, fully equipped cabin, in pure Audi style.

The TT, luckily, never really grew and thus remained one of the Porsche Boxster’s biggest rivals to the point that, now, Audi’s five-pot is more powerful than the four-cylinder that motivates both the 718 Boxster and the 718 Cayman. In spite of the impressive build quality and eye-opening performance levels of the TT-RS, the compact sports car’s sales have been dwindling for a few years already and Audi announced there’s no replacement in store for the third-generation model that was introduced back in 2014.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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So, while the TT is bound to retire with 2020 MY TTs being the swan song of Audi’s pocket two-seater, the nameplate (derived from ’Tourist Trophy’, the famous bike road races held around the Snaefell Mountain course on the Isle of Man) will live on, albeit attached to a sporty EV. It’s with all this in mind that we got behind the wheel of the TT-RS, the cream of the TT crop and the last and loudest hurrah of a somewhat underrated car.

2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The new generation TT RS was launched short after the new Audi TT went on sale in 2014
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And a small facelift followed for the 2019 model year
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The front and the rear of the TT RS were redrawn so that the tiny coupe looks more dynamic
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The front is dominated by the typical RS honeycomb grill
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With a quattro logo in matt titanium being placed in the lower section of the grill
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The lateral air inlets were enlarged for a better engine cooling
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The front spoiler and the front apron are connected, so that the TT RS gets a motorsport-inspired look
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The exterior mirror housings are paint in gloss black
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And LED headlights are offered as standard
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The sporty look of the rear is enhanced by a newly designed fixed rear wing
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The exhaust system ends with two large oval exhaust tailpipes
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Our test car came with a cool Tango red exterior paint
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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And rode on 20-inch 7-spoke design titanium matte forged wheels combined with red brake calipers
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
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The interior of the TT RS is focused completely on the driver
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The RS sport seats are wrapped in fine Nappa leather with a honeycomb pattern and an RS logo
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The TT RS comes standard with an Audi virtual cockpit
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That offers info on the tire pressure, torque, and g-force
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The door armrests, pulls and the console are covered in leather
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And the seats, air vents and the center console features red elements
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Even the floor mats have a specific RS design
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
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An Bang & Olufsen sound system was also part of the deal
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Drivetrain
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Under the hood there is a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Drivetrain
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With an output of 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Interior
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The engine is mated to a seven-speed S tronic to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is made in 3.7 seconds
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And top speed is limited to 155 mph (but can be increased to 174 mph)
2020 Audi TT-RS - Driven Exterior
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Our tester car was priced at $77,490
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read More
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