If you think the regular TT is a little staid and the TTS is quick, but not quite quick enough, Audi has an answer – it’s called the TT RS, and with 395hp, it’s a rival for BMW’s smallest M car – the M2 – and the Porsche 718 Cayman S.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the all-aluminium 2.5-litre engine that dominates the experience. Its pops and gurgles grab your attention first – they give the Audi character that the BMW and (now four-cylinder) Porsche Cayman simply cannot match, but it’s the monstrous torque pinning you to driver’s seat that leaves a lasting impression.
It isn’t as laugh-out-loud fun to blast down a twisty road as the BMW M2 or as pin-sharp precise as a Cayman S, but it is capable of fantastic point-to-point pace without asking too much of the driver skill-wise. And standard quattro four-wheel drive means there’s claw-like grip no matter the road conditions.
And the news just keeps getting better. The TT RS has one of the most functional and well-built interiors on the market, with high-quality plastics and turbine air vents complete with their own separate temperature controls. All TTs get Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display – a multifunction screen that replaces conventional dials – it looks brilliant and works extremely well. The TT’s also easy to see out of, decently spacious in the front, and has a wide variety of smaller storage areas.
Even with a characteristically long and pricey options list (you can spend £1,200 on carbon-fibre door mirrors if the mood takes you), the TT RS comes with a lot of equipment including all-round park assist, emergency automatic braking and Audi active lane assist, which automatically steers the car to keep you in your lane.
In carwow’s (admittedly very unscientific) hands the TT RS recorded a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds – that’s quicker than a McLaren F1 supercar
With Porsche restricting its Cayman to just four-cylinders, the door to enthusiasts’ hearts has been left wide open for Audi and, as a result, the latest RS makes a more compelling case for itself than the previous model.
For around £50,000, you get a muscular exterior, a spectacular interior, great handling and a level of practicality that’ll suit anyone who doesn’t need space for a family.
A BMW M2 is more-fun on the limit and a Porsche Cayman S has just plain higher limits but, like a contract killer that is happy to walk your dog, the TT RS is hard to fault as a savage, multi-purpose performer.
For a more detailed analysis of the TTRS, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, if you just want to see how much money you can save on a TTRS, click through to our deals page.