Audi TT RS Roadster Review & Prices
The Audi TT RS Roadster is a fast and user-friendly sports car, though some alternatives are a bit more exciting to drive
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi TT RS Roadster
The Audi TT RS Roadster is the fastest version of the TT convertible with monumental performance courtesy of a 400hp five-cylinder engine powering all four wheels. It rivals other fast roadsters such as the Porsche 718 Boxster, Ford Mustang GT Convertible, and the Mercedes-AMG SLC43.
Inside, the new TT RS keeps the same layout and features as the standard TT meaning the three air vents, mounted in the middle of the dashboard also house the climate controls. The minimalistic interior design continues with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit in place of the speedo and rev counter dials and a flat-bottomed steering wheel stolen from the R8 supercar which houses the starter button, and a pair of supportive leather sports seats.
Unlike the TT RS coupe, the roadster doesn’t have rear seats – all the space is now taken by the retractable fabric roof. Up front, however, there’s plenty of space and the driving position is exactly as you’d hope from a sports car. Even the boot is decent by roadster standards, offering a similar volume to that of a supermini.
It may be an uncompromising performance machine, but the TT RS still offers some neat practical touches. Microphones integrated into the seat belt ensures chats via Bluetooth-enabled phone calls can be clearly heard even with the roof down and the fabric roof can be folded electrically at speeds of up to 31mph.
As far as the driving experience goes, think of the TT RS as a drop-top rocket ship. It combines a 395hp engine with Audi’s famed Quattro four wheel drive system to deliver dizzying acceleration. There are several driving modes to choose from on the fly, allowing the driver to tweak the suspension, gearbox and steering settings according to the conditions via a steering-wheel-mounted button. A flap installed in the exhaust system opens when the most sporty ‘dynamic’ mode is selected, increasing the volume of that wonderful five-cylinder engine.
The RS goes like a TT with two jet engines strapped to the back
In terms of pure performance, there’s little else that can match the Audi TT RS for the money. From a standing start it delivers acceleration figures which trouble supercars costing three times as much, and through the corners, it rarely feels anything other than utterly composed. That it also looks stunning on the inside, striking on the outside, and is packed with loads of tech means it’s a car which is very easy to fall for.
The only criticisms levelled at it come from the serious driving purists. As quickly as it can take the corners, it never feels as thrilling as a Porsche 718 Boxster, nor will you feel like you’ve achieved as much in doing so. But for most folks that’s just fine.
While the Porsche might have more appeal for track day enthusiasts, the TT RS’ all-round ability makes it easier and more fun to live with on the road which will land it a lot of fans. Browse through our new Audi and used Audi pages to see how much you could save on carwow, and see how you can sell your current car through carwow as well.
The Audi TT RS Roadster has a RRP range of £54,440 to £72,195. Monthly payments start at £787. The price of a used Audi TT RS Roadster on carwow starts at £36,950.
Going quickly in the open air is something this car does very well, although a Porsche 718 Boxster S is a more complete driver's car
Just like the coupe, the TT RS Roadster gains a host tweaks and upgrades to make it a more focused driver’s car than the lesser models in the range. It’s firmer than a standard TT, but not spine-shatteringly so, and the overall ride quality has softened, compared to the previous TT RS Roadster.
Any criticism of the chassis is easily forgotten once the engine is given your full attention. At a time when the closest competition from Porsche, the 718 Boxster S, makes use of a strong but ultimately drab four-cylinder engine, by contrast the five-cylinder unit under the bonnet of the TT RS has bags of character.
The noise dominates the driving experience. The characterful bellow from the five-cylinder is even easier to appreciate with the roof down, so any break in the clouds becomes the perfect excuse to whip the fabric hood open. It’s not only when accelerating that your ears are treated to a symphony of sounds – when slowing down each gear shift is accompanied by a barrage of pops and bangs that announce your arrival to unsuspecting onlookers.
The 2.5-litre engine kicks out 395hp and 354lb ft, and paired with the Quattro four-wheel drive system and a dual clutch automatic gearbox, it’s enough to get the TT RS Roadster from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph, or 174mph for models equipped with the Performance Pack Plus. The seven-speed auto shifts smoothly and responds quickly in manual mode even if you sometimes miss the extra involvement in a BMW M2 equipped with a manual gearbox.
The main difference between the TT RS Roadster and the coupe is weight – lopping off the metal roof might lead you to believe that some weight has been lost, but actually, at 1,530kg, the Roadster weighs 90kgs more than the coupe due to chassis reinforcements. Although that difference may be as much as a well-fed human adult, few drivers will be able to tell the difference.
It’s the engine’s strong pulling power combined with the seemingly-unending grip that impresses the most – the TT RS Roadster is an incredibly quick point-to-point car. The RS Roadster is also a car that doesn’t require much talent to be driven quickly, and for many people that will be a big reason for getting one.
Those who appreciate a more delicate chassis balance – or those who just want to feel more involved in the driving experience – would be better off with a Porsche 718 Boxster, but the TT RS sounds far better… On the plus side, the standard brakes on the TT RS Roadster are brilliant – strong, resistant to fade, and with a nicely-weighted pedal.
An optional upgrade replaces the standard steel discs for carbon ceramic items, improving stopping power further. The adaptive dampers are another worthy option, especially if you’re interested in the larger 20-inch forged alloy wheels. Even in their firmest setting, they deliver a comfortable ride quality without compromising the handling.
The TT RS's expensive carbon fibre trim and massive sport seats mark it out from the TT hoi polloi, but it's easy to add to the bill from the options list
Even the most basic versions of the Audi TT flaunt a cabin beautiful enough to shame those in much more expensive alternatives, and the spruce-ups granted to RS models only improve the atmosphere further.
The uncluttered cabin features liberal applications of polished steel or, for a more sporty feel, you can replace those with carbon fibre trim pieces for £805.
The TT RS comes with Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display and MMI navigation as standard, and the two combine to deliver one of the best infotainment systems on the market. The central control knob makes it easy to use on the move and, with the Virtual Cockpit screen set in full-map mode, the directions are easy to follow and also beautifully laid out. Add 10gb-worth of hard drive space for your music and it’s hard to imagine needing much more from an infotainment system. Although… For an extra £625 you can have a 680w Bang & Olufsen stereo with 12 speakers.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.