The 2012 Audi TT RS brings the RS brand back to the U.S., and though it's pricey at $56,850, it delivers the goods when it comes to performance--on paper, anyway.
A 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder knocks out 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. All of that grunt is available over a wide rev range, from 1,650 rpm to 5,400 rpm, meaning it'll pull well in almost any gear. And with a forged six-bearing crankshaft, lightened connecting rods, and lightweight pistons, there's a good chance the engine can be tuned for even more once the aftermarket gets a hold of it.
As you'd expect, the TT RS uses Audi's quattro all-wheel drive, though it's piped through a manual transmission only--no automatic is available in the U.S. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 4.1 seconds.
Handling should be spry, with the TT's short wheelbase and the standard magnetic ride dampers that adapt dynamically to the road surface and driving traits. Sport mode stiffens the dampers further and opens a valve in the exhaust for a throatier sound.
Aesthetically, the TT RS gets a high gloss black diamond-patterned grille, larger front air inlets, oval exhaust pipes, unique 19-inch wheels, and matte aluminum-finish body sills and exterior mirror housings. Inside, a three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel, RS-specific door handles, 10-way power sport seats, leather seating surfaces, and brushed aluminum inlays give it a more premium feel. LED ambient lighting is available.
The TT RS will be available in both coupe and convertible form, and goes on sale this summer. For the full specs, check out the release on page two.