Mean li’l green machine |
It may be small but you could not miss it, even if you tried. With its loud, luminous, RS-specific green paint coat – intriguingly named Kyalami Green by Audi – our TT RS test unit stood out in traffic like an honest politician in South Africa.
The latest rendering of Ingolstadt’s smallest Coupé possesses performance as lurid as its body colour, and at every traffic light and intersection we were inundated with signs from fellow motorists and passers-by either imploring us to rev the mean little green machine, or just giving it a thumbs up.
It is easy to see why, as besides its glaring colour the small coupé now appears even more dynamic and purposeful. The attractive front end has been redrawn with the quattro logo positioned lower on the RS honeycomb grill with its matt black singleframe, and lateral air inlets that almost extend to the front wheel wells, making the TT RS appear wider and lower.
It is further distinguished from its predecessor by body-colour blade and a gloss black inlay in the newly designed side sill. At the rear, there is a newly designed fixed wing with side winglets, vertical design elements on both sides above the new RS diffuser, and two large oval exhausts.
Audi has a thing for lights, and the latest TT RS now has LED headlights as standard, as well as matrix OLED (organic light emitting diode) reverse lights with a 3D design, welcoming you with a spectacular display when the ignition is switched on. The headlights deliver their own impressive routine when the car is switched off.
Our test unit also sported the gloss black styling package highlighting the blade and rear wing, the Audi rings and black TT RS model logos – part of a comprehensive list of options (including Sports suspension Plus with Audi magnetic ride and an increase in top speed to 280 km/h) adding a massive R114,770 to the list price…
Lights, and action…
However, it is the award-winning 2.5 TFSI engine with its unmistakable five-cylinder sound, now delivering 294 kW and 480 Nm, that supplies all the action. With its linear power delivery and low-down grunt, it still is one of my favourite power plants – even though it is now over a quarter of a century old (although thoroughly updated).
The twisting and thrusting forces from the five-cylinder flow to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The drivetrain distributes the power as needed between the axles via a multi-plate clutch, and wheel-selective torque control makes the small coupé’s handling even more agile and safe.
It also propels the lightweight TT (it weighs only 1,410 kg, without driver) from standstill to 100 km/h in only 3.7 seconds; faster than what a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, a BMW M2 CS or a Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic+ can achieve. And the sport suspension with adaptive dampers ensures exemplary dynamics and handling, although steering feel is slightly detached.
The TT’s dynamics can be further refined by the select dynamic handling system with four modes (comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual) – now also with satellite controls on the leather steering wheel with shift paddles. A RS display in the Audi virtual cockpit provide info on tyre pressure, torque and g-forces, while huge discs with red calipers behind 20-inch wheels guarantee ample stopping power,
This updated iteration of the TT RS may also be the last in its current form. If so, it will be a fitting tribute to the small coupé and roadster that took the world by storm over two decades ago and sparked a resurgence in this niche of the market.
Yes, with R8-chasing performance it is now actually too powerful and like our test model’s colour, also slightly over the top. Yet, with a retail price of R1,062,000 (R1,176,770 as tested) compared to R1,854,000 for a 718 Cayman GT4, R1,191,480 for the AMG CLA 45 and R1,184,000 for a M2 Competition, the TT RS is a strong contender in this market – and a future classic, for sure.
Report by Ferdi de Vos | Images ©Ryan Abbott