The new RS brings a level of composure and neutral handling that was missing from the nose-heavy old model.
You buy an RS-badged Audi expecting performance and the TT RS certainly won’t leave you disappointed. Acceleration is mind-blowing for this class of car – 0-62mph comes up in just 3.7 seconds – that’s nearly a second quicker than a Porsche 718 Cayman S.
How does it do this? Well, it has a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that – with the help of a fairly large turbo – makes 395hp, or 70hp more than the Porsche. Add to that its 354Ib ft of torque (available from a lowly 1,700rpm) and there’s virtually no need to shift down a gear when overtaking. And, for a £1,600, Audi will even raise the speed limiter from 155 to 174mph.
Helping control all that performance is the quattro all-wheel-drive system. It uses trick electronics to keep the TT on the road and can send up to 100 per cent of power to the front or rear wheels, so you get strong levels of grip even under full power.
The noise is worth the asking price alone
Meanwhile, the electric fast changes of the seven-speed DSG gearbox mean acceleration is almost seamless and each gear shift is accompanied by an ear-pleasing pop. Even slowing down is fun as the TT unleashes a barrage of crackles and pops to announce your approach. With the BMW M2’s noise seeming synthetic and the Cayman’s positively ordinary, the characterful warble of five-cylinders is one of the Audi’s biggest selling points.
All this talk of performance makes it easy to forget about boring stuff, such as fuel economy, but despite its performance advantage, the Audi’s fuel economy of 34mpg is broadly similar to what rivals offer.
As before, it devours corners and shoots down straights, but it’s more confidence-inspiring than before, making you feel like a driving God, when in reality it’s the clever stability control systems keeping you on the road. The standard quattro four-wheel drive only adds to that feeling of security by providing the RS with tremendous, all-season grip.
What the TT RS does well is combine rocket-ship qualities such as the sub-four-second 0-62mph time with a ride that won’t destroy your lower back. Pick the £1,595 20-inch wheels, though, and the resulting tough ride makes the £1,000 adaptive dampers – and added comfort they bring – almost compulsory.
Perhaps it’s this jack-of-all-trades character that stops the RS providing the final layer of involvement that is available in rivals, because – despite its ferocious ability – the RS doesn’t send its driver into fits of giggles quite like a BMW M2 or Porsche Cayman can – tail-out fun is, sadly, off the menu.