ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE AUDI TT RS

I can recall as if it were only yesterday when I attended the launch of the original Audi TT in Italy. Even the Italians stood by the roadside in awe as the little German coupe sped past.

An example of their emotion in this instance for a car that was not of their own making; along with a colleague we decided to start early in the morning from our base to get a clear run. A few minutes into the drive we found an Alfa saloon on our tail, this tailing went on for some twenty minutes. Thinking it was the police, we stopped and an excited Italian (not a policeman) in a high state of excitement wanted to see the TT close at hand. Approval indeed from Italy.

Down the years, the TT has become a firm favourite for many and it had to happen that a real hot version would appear- the TT RS. Yes, my memories came back in flowing colour as I climbed aboard the RS version, the most powerful in the line with 400PS to play with coming from a glorious sounding 2.5 litre TFSI engine with 480Nm available between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm. With a power to weight ratio of 277PS per ton the Coupe version can reach 62mph (100kph) in 3.7 seconds, while the Roadster version takes 3.9 seconds and top end- 170mph plus (274kph) if the optional Dynamic Package Plus is specified. Worthy of a place amongst the supercar elite, in its latest guise thanks to the power unit performance is up by some seventeen percent. In perfect harmony is the ultra slick S tronic transmission, perhaps my favourite set of cogs of all time. The weight of this transmission has been reduced by 2kg and its shift characteristics can be tailored to your own taste via the Audi Drive Select adaptive dynamics system which offers Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual modes. These also have a bearing on the operating parameters of the RS-specific progressive steering, the throttle, the exhaust flaps and the quattro all-wheel drive system.

The TT RS rides some 10mm lower than the entry level TT, and this also applies when the Dynamic Package incorporating RS sport suspension plus with Audi magnetic ride is specified. The lowered body ensures that the standard 19-inch wheels with their five-arm polygon design fill their arches even more amply, thus adding to the muscular look of this small Audi. With a giant helping of performance comes the need for stopping power and the brakes equal the performance, the front internally ventilated, perforated steel discs with eight-piston callipers measuring 370 millimetres in diameter and the monobloc discs at the rear 310mm. Comfort courtesy of the super sports seats upholstered in Fine Nappa leather and the TT RS sport leather and Alcantara steering wheel with its new integral satellite buttons for engine start/stop and Audi Drive Select functions are the first to grab attention. And from the comfort of the driving seat the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit with its 12.3-inch high definition also quickly makes its presence felt, it provides a choice of views, including a special RS screen that highlights the rev counter and provides additional performance data plus a shift light which informs the driver when the rev limit has been reached. Which brings me back to the original TT which I tested in Italy, looking forward from the driving seat is like looking out of a full face helmet, the same with the TT RS. It goes without saying in the best traditions of Audi you have all the connectivity we now come to expect from this German carmaker. To be honest I simply enjoyed the TT RS so much that I almost ignored all of the technology. Summing up, the TT RS is a coupe with stunning power, ease of drive and it would make a great track car for those days when you really want to explore its power potential and superb roadholding.

Ian Lynas