The Audi TT Coupe and Roadster family has been straddling the line between a sporty car and a true sports car, but in recent years it has skewed toward the latter.
For 2012, most of the TT model line carries over mostly unchanged, but there's one very significant exception: A hot new 2012 Audi TT RS gets a 360-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbo in-line five, a six-speed manual gearbox, a lowered, specially tuned suspension with magnetic ride control, stronger brakes (four-piston in front), and a new Haldex version of quattro all-wheel drive. And in fitting with its personality, the TT RS gets a raucous exhaust note, thanks to an partial exhaust bypass that engages when you click Sport mode. The TT RS is very exclusive, too, with a total of 1,000 slated to be sold in the U.S.
Altogether, the new 2012 TT RS can get to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, and hit a top speed of 174 mph. With a slightly stiffer tune, the more vocal engine, and acceleration strong enough to pin you back in your seat—plus strong grip and a lean, athletic feel in corners—the TT RS is a blast to drive either on the road or on a track.
TT and TTS models are no slouch, either. TTS Coupes can get to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, and all TT and TTS models earn an EPA-rated 22 mpg city, 31 highway. Both of these models get surprisingly torquey 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines—making 211 hp for the TT, 265 hp for the TTS. Both include a six-speed automated manual gearbox (DSG). Across the entire line, the TT manages to feel quite sharp and nimble; the only issue we've found from a driver's perspective is that the steering, while well-weighted, tends to be overly numb.
Otherwise, the TT Coupe and Roadster have excellent front seats, and plenty of space for the tallest drivers to get comfortable. But their shelf-like rear seats make them best thought of as two-seaters. Cargo space is also better than many sports cars, and Roadsters include a well-insulated soft top that doesn't take up much extra space.
For more information—including pictures, specs, and related news—see the full review pages for the 2012 Audi TT over at The Car Connection. And if you're considering the exclusive, high-performance TT RS, this first drive report should be a good starting point.
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