The hotly-anticipated TT RS will hit showrooms in Europe by the middle of the year but ask Audi when it will arrive in the United States and the only answer you will likely receive is that it’s still under consideration.
A similar response can be expected for the even more extreme RS 5, scheduled to be revealed for the first time at the end of the year, but given the halo status of these two models Audi would be foolish to ignore the U.S. market.
An inside source at Audi has offered a glimmer of hope, claiming the chances of the TT RS and RS 5 hitting U.S. showrooms is very high. Speaking with Motor Trend, the insider explained that Audi traditionally staggers the launches of its different model variants to keep excitement going.
The TTS and updated S5 coupe and new Cabriolet have just been launched so Audi doesn’t want the high-performance RS models coming in and stealing all the limelight–not yet anyway. According to the insider, the most likely launch for the TT RS in the U.S. will be towards the end of the year, while the RS 5 won’t roll in until sometime next year.
Chances for the range-topping RS 6 are slim, however. Emissions testing is the culprit, since the RS 6's twin-turbo V-10 powerplant just isn't clean enough to make a reasonable business case. Powertrain options for the RS 5 remain cloaked in secrecy but one of the primary options, and a likely one given the status of Audi's U.S. emissions plans, is to take the 4.2-liter V-8 from the RS 4 and tune it a bit more violently, for about 450 horsepower. Pairing the V-8 with a dual-clutch gearbox would also make sense given the RS 5's market position. Expect to see the RS 5 make its world debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.