REVIEW | The Audi TT RS Coupé is an exhilarating driver’s car, but it can’t outrun the future


Audi TT RS 2021

Caylène Valentin | Media house made

• The TT RS is one of Audi’s best sports cars and could be considered a mini R8.

• The car is powered by a 294 kW five-cylinder petrol engine.

• The price of the TT RS Coupé starts at R1 083,000.

• For more automotive stories, visit Wheels24

When we talk about performance models from the Audi side, we quickly remember the brilliant R8 or maybe even something like the RS 6 Avant. They are great performance cars, which never fail to set the world on fire. Yet while we often reflect on the shine of these more popular vehicles, something else that offers proper shunt and performance deserves just as much attention.

The Audi TT, now in its third generation, has been around since 1998, and its form has remained largely unchanged. Bar smoothing out a few creases and making the design more aerodynamic, the TT is one of the few cars in the automotive world that has remained true to its design philosophy. One glance, and you know what this car is.

Heading the TT lineup is the RS model, available in both Roadster and Coupe body styles. Although this derivative was not introduced until 2012, it took the sports car to the next level, with the current model being the best interpretation of this sports car coupe to date.

Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS 2021

It’s a mini R8!

The TT RS Coupé – the one under test – is a very compact vehicle, effectively offering only two seats despite having two rear seats. Its measurements aren’t too vast either, reaching over 1.3m high and 1.8m wide. You are fully aware that this car is not for families, but for the person who really enjoys blasting (and taking down) their favorite piece of tarmac.

However – and here’s the juicy part – climb into the lowered bucket seats and take a look inside. It is strongly reminiscent of its big brother, the R8. The dashboard in front of the driver, for example, is very simplistic in design, but relays all the information relating to your driving and the condition of the car.

The rotary knob between the front seats and its surrounding buttons are used to control various multimedia functions, while the steering wheel plays with satellite controls to further facilitate multimedia operations. The dashboard is devoid of everything except the air vents and a number of controls. It’s definitely a case of ‘less is more’, adding to the cabin vibe and feel.

Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS 2021

Extremely fun to drive

As with any car, especially a sports car, there must be something unique about it, and that is no different with the TT RS. Giving the car its heart and soul is one of the most special engines Audi has ever produced, sending 294 kW and 480 Nm to all four wheels. Under the hood is the Four Rings’ turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder petrol engine. This engine has done its job in a few of Audi’s cars, but has found a permanent place in the TT RS and the future Audi RS 3.

The TT RS takes off the line, going from 0-100 km / h in less than 4.0 seconds, continuing the process of acceleration to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km / h. While speed is one of the best aspects of the car, its dynamic handling is even better! Steering input is tense and straightforward, inspiring confidence to trust the technologies that facilitate the driving experience.

Audi’s seven-speed S Tronic transmission channels power between the engine and the tires. Gearbox downshifts aren’t as quick as downshifts, but that doesn’t take much away from the performance contained in the car.

Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS 2021

In summary

The TT RS is perhaps one of Audi’s best driving cars and is strongly reminiscent of the R8. And while nothing can compare to this halo sports car, the TT RS offers potential buyers a chance to reach out and taste something similar. It’s awfully good and alluring with every passing mile.

Unfortunately, the time of the TT and TT RS is coming to an end. From 2026, every new Audi launched will be an electric vehicle, indicating that the relevance of the internal combustion engine (ICE) at Audi has become obsolete. And with 2026 just five years away, and the TT and TT RS receiving an update recently, it can be assumed that this could very well be the last iteration of the TT RS. Swan song at its best.

The automotive world is committed to an electric future, and Audi is working on an electric portfolio in most of its markets by 2030, leaving no room for sports cars like the TT RS. It is a sad reality, but inevitable. And as we look to the future, there’s nothing stopping us from enjoying it all now.

Price: R1 083,000 (Audi’s five-year or 100,000 km highway plan is included)


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