New special edition TT RS celebrates Audi’s greatest innovation

Audi is famous for a lot of innovations in the history of the auto industry, but none have been as impactful to the automaker as the quattro all-wheel-drive system. Introduced at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, the quattro all-wheel-drive system has become a foundational piece of all of Audi’s road-going performance cars.

It’s only right that with the quattro system celebrating its 40th anniversary, Audi is launching a special edition TT RS to commemorate the occasion. The special edition model is called the 40 Years of quattro, as fitting a name as any SE model Audi has released in recent memory.

  • 2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-5
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    394
  • Torque @ RPM:
    354
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    174 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Why is so Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system so famous?

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Exterior
- image 941498

It’s hard to understate the important role that Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system played in the fortunes of the German automaker in the 1980’s. Not only did the technology evolve into becoming one of the most famous all-wheel-drive systems in the world, but its development was more directly linked to Audi’s dominance in the rally scene of that decade.

Thanks to its four-wheel-drive ability, Audi dominated rally racing in the early part of the decade. That dominance helped Audi claim one rally championship after another, and the success of the system also paved the way for its adaptation to the German automaker’s lineup of performance cars. Since its arrival 40 years ago, the quattro all-wheel-drive system has grown to become an important element of every Audi performance car to come out of Ingolstadt, Germany.

Sure, BMW has xDrive and Mercedes-Benz has 4MATIC as the marketing names of their respective all-wheel-drive system. Neither of those, though, are as famous as Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. The latter helped rewrite rally racing rules in the 1980s. By comparison, we don’t expect BMW to launch a special edition model in 2023 commemorating xDrive’s 20th anniversary.

What’s so special about the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro so special?

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Exterior
- image 941487
If you’re interested in a special edition model that actually means something, the Audi TT RS 40 years of Quattro is as good as it gets.

While it’s still based on the range-topping model in the TT lineup, there are significant upgrades and modifications in the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro that help the two-door coupe live up to its billing.

The visual upgrades are easy to spot. The Alpine White finish is offset by a red, white, and blue racing stripe that runs from the tip of the nose all the way to the rear bumper. The three-colored decal design can also be seen on the edge of the hood and the rear fender where the gas cap is located. The “Quattro” decals are another nice touch as is the central air vent on the hood that’s finished in gloss carbon. The side sills are painted black while the side sill inserts, mirror caps, and the Audi rings are all dressed in gloss black.

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Exterior
- image 941490

The set of 20-inch wheels, however, are painted in white. This is another visually striking detail that helps set the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro apart. The overall look with the Alpine White body, black accents, red-white-blue-decals, and the white wheels is the kind of aesthetic that draws in people. It certainly happened to us.

Of course, that’s not all of it, too. Audi also made some aerodynamic improvements specifically for the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro. Notice the front splitter and the side flicks on the front apron? Standard Audi TT RS models don’t have those. You can also say the same for the side sill trims, the fixed wing, and rear diffuser. All of these pieces were added to make this special edition a well-balanced performance car. This isn’t just a show-me special edition with trinkets that double as exclusive features; this is a special edition model that can rampage like the old Audi Quattro.

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Interior
- image 941497

On the other hand, unlike the classic Quattros of yesteryear, the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro’s interior can be customized to the extent that an optional carbon strut cross brace can be added in lieu of the coupe’s standard rear bench. Not only does the brace improve the interior’s torsional rigidity, but, just as important, it also shaves off around 35 pounds of weight. Who needs cramped rear seats in a car like this, right? Individually numbered badges on the gear lever also highlight the coupe’s stature as a legitimate special edition TT RS.

Does the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro boast any engine upgrades?

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

Regrettably, there are some disappointing things about the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro. Ok, so it’s really just one thing.

The coupe’s award-winning 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five cylinder engine produces 394 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.

Those are actually impressive figures, but they’re also the standard power and torque output of the TT RS. Audi didn’t touch the engine of the sports coupe so don’t expect any performance upgrades in that department. On the bright side, a standard TT RS is already quick enough that the lack of modifications in this area of the coupe doesn’t matter that much. Even with its standard power numbers, the TT RS remains capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph. The two-door can achieve those performance figures with the help of a seven-speed S Tronic transmission that channels all the power coming from the 2.5-liter pot to the quattro all-wheel-drive system.

2020 Audi TT RS specifications
Engine 2.5-Liter Five-Cylinder
Transmission Seven-Speed DCT
Horsepower 394 HP
Torque 354 LB-FT
Driveline Quattro AWD
Fuel Gasoline
Fuel Economy 19/29/23
0-60 MPH 3.7 Seconds
Top Speed 174 MPH

How much is the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro?

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Exterior
- image 941494

Make no mistake about it; the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro is a stand-out special edition model. It’s arguably one of the best ones that Audi has come up with in recent memory. Unfortunately, that distinction comes with a huge bill. Over in Germany, the special edition TT RS will set you back a whopping €114,040. Not only does that convert to $133,630 based on current exchange rates, but the price is almost double the amount — €66,500 ($78,000) — you need to buy a base TT RS Coupe in Germany. Audi also didn’t say if the special edition TT RS will be sold anywhere else outside of its motherland.

Final Thoughts

2021 Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro Exterior
- image 941486

I don’t need any convincing. I love everything about the Audi TT RS 40 Years of Quattro. It’s striking to look at with all the exclusive exterior touches. The racing stripe and the set of white wheels, in particular, are home runs from Audi’s design team. I wish more was done to the interior and the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five engine, but I understand the decision to be conservative on those fronts. The goal of this special edition is to celebrate Audi’s game-changing all-wheel-drive system, and tapping into the decals that were once used on the Audi Sport quattro S1 — the same car that Walter Rohl drove to victory at the 1987 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb — is a tremendous hat tip already. I wish the car wasn’t as expensive or that it’ll become available in the U.S. at some point, but other than those gripes, I’m completely sold on the TT RS 40 Years of Quattro.

  • Leave it
    • Not a lot of upgrades in the interior
    • Obscenely expensive
    • Availability in the US is a huge question mark
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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Audi celebrates 40 years of quattro and presents a special edition of its top-of-the-line model in the TT model line. The Audi TT RS 40 years of quattro is celebrating the success story of quattro drive in impressive style.

“For 40 years, quattro has been one of the main technology pillars of the brand with the four rings,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “Our RS models have always transferred their power onto the road via four wheels as standard. With the special edition of the TT RS limited to 40 units we intend to present our fans in Germany with a really special anniversary gift.”

The TT RS 40 years of quattro draws on the power of the 2.5 TFSI engine from Audi Sport. The five-cylinder engine, which has won the “International Engine of the Year Award” nine years running, produces 294 kW (400 PS) and develops maximum torque of 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft). The quattro permanent all-wheel drive distributes the power as required between the front and rear axles using a multi-plate clutch. Wheel-selective torque control makes handling even more agile and safer. It gently brakes the wheels on the inside of the curve when cornering at speed while increasing the drive torque to the wheels on the outside of the curve. The driver can influence the quattro drive and other components such as steering, seven-speed S tronic, exhaust flaps and engine characteristics using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.

The top speed of the TT RS 40 years of quattro is raised to 280 km/h (174.0 mph) as standard. The sport compact sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.1 mph) in only 3.7 seconds.
The beat of the background music is set by the characteristic five-cylinder firing sequence: 1-2-4-5-3. Firing alternates between directly adjacent cylinders and those far apart from one another.

The Audi TT RS 40 years of quattro painted in Alpine white self-confidently shows off its motorsport heritage. The decals on the hood, shoulders, roof and rear is reminiscent of the livery of the specially modified Audi Sport quattro S1 that Walter Röhrl drove to victory in 1987 in the legendary Pikes Peak race in the United States.

The hood with central air vent in gloss carbon adds another visual highlight while facilitating engine compartment ventilation – the opening allows the accumulated heat to escape even faster. The Aero kit developed in the wind tunnel enhances performance and handling on fast bends and significantly improves the compact sports car’s aerodynamics. The kit consists of side flics in gloss black on the front apron and a front splitter. The side sill trims transition to the striking rear with its fixed wing, spoiler side sections and diffuser. The aerodynamic measures result in a perfectly balanced complete package with only around nine kilograms (19.8 lb) of uplift at the front axle and around five kilograms (11.0 lb) of downforce at the rear axle at maximum speed. The relationship between aerodynamic drag and uplift is ideally balanced. This interaction was explicitly considered during development in the wind tunnel.

Large quattro letters on the doors make the essence of the special model abundantly clear. The partially matt rear quarter windows also feature the “40 years of quattro” logo. The side sills are painted black, the side sill inserts and the housings of the exterior mirrors, the blade and the Audi rings are finished in gloss black. At the front axle, ventilated and perforated steel discs with red-painted brake calipers are in action behind the white-painted 20-inch alloy wheels.

The interior of the new TT RS 40 years of quattro with its cockpit focused squarely on the driver features numerous upgrades. The sporty character of the 2+2-seater comes across even more clearly as a result. As an option, the customer can replace the rear bench with a strut cross brace made of carbon – reducing weight by around 16 kilograms (35.3 lb) and improving torsional rigidity. All of which brings the special model even closer to motorsport – with an even more intense driving sound.

Black Alcantara is used on the door trims and on the RS sport leather steering wheel with 12 o’clock marker in white. Black leather with white contrasting stitching adorns the center armrest, the door armrests and the center console. Heritage stripes on the Alpine white inlay tie in with the decals on the exterior. The floor mats in black with white piping and contrasting stitching are finished off with an embroidered RS. The RS sport seats in black fine Nappa leather with a seat center panel in black Alcantara and honeycomb pattern in white feature an exclusive embroidered “40 years of quattro” at shoulder level. A consecutively numbered badge on the S tronic selector lever makes each of the 40 units unique.

The Audi TT RS 40 years of quattro will go on sale in Germany in October 2020. There it will cost 114,040 euros or 111,165.04 euros with the reduced rate of value-added tax.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release

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