2012 Audi TT RS: First Drive Page 3

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Audi is bringing the TT RS to the U.S. market on a very limited run for model-years 2012 and 2013; so far it’s sold out for the smaller run of 200 to be delivered by the end of this year, then the company expects to make no more than U.S. 1,000 RSs in all.

For an entry price of less than $60k, the TT RS includes all the comforts and features you’d expect—including Bluetooth and automatic climate control—and it adds a lap timer, power sport seats covered in a choice of Silk Nappa leather or Alcantara, and a host of special trims and showy wheel possibilities. Exterior colors are limited to eight different shades of black, grey, silver, red, white, and blue, with three different wheel finishes.

Order up a Tech Package, and you’ll get Audi’s MMI Navigation, upgraded Bose sound, rear parking sensors, adaptive headlights, and ambient LED lighting. Separately, heated seats, carbon-fiber folding mirrors, ‘aluminum optic’ exterior trim, a sport exhaust, and gloss-black wheels are among the standalone options. You can also opt to delete the larger rear wing and instead get the power-retractable spoiler that’s offered on the rest of the TT line.

Probably not a daily driver

Before you ante up, just be aware that this might not be the sort of vehicle you should buy as a daily driver, or as a vehicle that you intend to use to cover vast distances. Although the magnetic ride control system makes the ride tolerable and not nearly as busy as you might expect given the TT RS’s high-performance nature, the RS’s cabin hums with road coarseness—on expressways especially—and lets you know vocally of every little irregularity, even if you don’t feel it. And on that matter, we recommend the Bose premium sound, as the unimpressive sound coming from the base sound system barely passes muster.

Bottom line: If you like tail-out driving and glorious four-wheel drifts, then by all means get that Mustang Boss, M3, or older Porsche 911. But a certain type of enthusiast will love how surefooted, all-around athletic, and stunningly quick the TT RS feels. We’re among them.

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Comments (3)
  1. I just took delivery of a TT RS, and absolutely love it!
    This article just about nails it on the head with each and every aspect of the car - nice job MA! The only slight disagreement I have is with the writing on the daily driving aspect of the car. I believe the TT RS is the perfect daily driver for any driving enthusiast. I don't know the courseness they speak of, and with the sport mode button in the OFF setting, the car is no worse than other daily drivers I've owned including: 2004 Audi TT 3.2, 2007 Audi A4 SLine w/coilovers and AWE catback, 2010 VW GTI or even a 2006 Porsche Cayman S (3 season DD). Perhaps I'm just used to more edgy cars, but by no means is the TT RS rough around those edges.

  2. Gary, people are simply whiny. They want razor turn-in, poised balance through the entire corner, and race car corner exit in a car with 100 lb. spring rates and 6 miles of compression dampening. It's an impossible task that the engineers just can't do without 200 lbs. worth of auto-driver controls and dampening variability (sport mode? HA!). When I get in my friend's 300 BHP Subaru WRX STi I have to twist nobs and push buttons to get the full power from the engine, turn off traction control (on an AWD vehicle mind you), and tune the center differential. That's every single time you get in it and start it!

    If you want performance, get performance ... If I buy a Porsche 911 the GT3 should be the entry level platform.

  3. I just read your piece, and here is my take. I owned a TT Q Roadster, 2004, and had a blast in the car. Further, I think the new TT is bloatted and not as beautiful as the original design. The original design was unique and functional. I am a freak for architecture, and believe it to be moving art. Do I need to go 150mph, no. Do I want to drive my Audi TT in the snow, yes. Do I want manual yes. Can I get it on a new Audi TT, no. I wanted to buy one but thought is widestance was obtrusive and no manual. I miss my TT so much.

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