A gnarly little monster
Some say that a perfect blend of horsepower and torque can make an adequate car much better, and they would be dead-on.
Some say that a perfect blend of horsepower and torque can make an adequate car much better, and they would be dead-on. The Audi TT is adequate in every sense of the word – it’s comfortable, looks decently cool, and it’s reasonably nice to drive. Add a bit of power, mess about with the interior a little, and stick a big spoiler on the back, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a monster. I had the pleasure of spending a few days with the 2013 Audi TT RS, and all it did at the end was depress me about the fact that it’s now discontinued.
Shortly after picking up the TT RS, I shared a photo of it on social media. Almost instantly, somebody commented calling it a hairdresser’s car. My hairdresser drives a Corolla – it doesn’t have 360 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. It also doesn’t have a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine that sounds like Mufasa’s roar when paired with the optional sport exhaust. The monster-TT doesn’t come with a dual-clutch S-tronic as other Audis do, it’s 6-speed manual only. Proper. The clutch is easy to modulate, and the pedals are positioned perfectly for heel and toe downshifts. Shifting gears became second nature to me only seconds after picking up the car, there is no learning curve to this transmission.
Equipped with the Titanium Styling Package, this super-Bug got more attention than the RS7 I had a few weeks ago. People were checking it out like no tomorrow. Finished in a sexy red, the TT RS has 19” rotor design wheels, carbon-fibre mirrors (gorgeous), and had a matching black leather interior. The styling of the car is unmistakably Audi, and that’s a good thing. The blacked-out front grill is similar to that of the RS7, and adds a touch of class to the playful little car.
My TT RS was also equipped with the Audi MMI system, albeit with the controller located beside the screen rather than by the shifter. The interior setup of this car is very, very similar to the R8. Everything feels a touch older than it should, but it’s actually a statement to how well-designed it all is. Outdated as it may be, everything still works seamlessly and doesn’t feel obsolete. I would have liked a fuel economy meter with a “distance to empty” feature. It also lacks the intelligent key feature – using a traditional key to fire up a $70,000+ car feels a bit awkward.
An equipment list isn’t what the TT RS is all about, though. It packs a serious amount of power and versatility. The quattro all-wheel-drive system (while being front-biased) means that this TT is a year-round car. That being said, the low front lip would double as a snow plow during the winter months. Handling is unheard of; we drove one of our favourite twisties on a cold winter night with especially slick roads. The fact that the TT RS was on performance tires didn’t hinder it one bit – it tackled each corner with the utmost confidence.
Without a digital fuel economy meter, I had to calculate my mileage the old-fashioned way. The TT RS returned as low as 8L/100km on the highway, but it’s virtually impossible to drive it with a light foot. As a result, my combined average over the course of a few cold days was 10.9L/100km. Prospective (and existing) buyers of the TT RS should already know what they’re getting themselves into though, and fuel economy should not be even near the top of their priority list. If it is, Audi will gladly sell you a regular TT with the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and it’ll do the job just fine.
The 2013 Audi TT RS is certainly the last of a breed. Audi makes some phenomenal cars, and they all have amazing personalities. The TT RS has something that few cars north of $70,000 have anymore – a raw driving experience. There are few electronic nannies to overcorrect your driving blunders, and the steering has real feedback. Everything is just right, and it adds to the appeal. Unfortunately though, it’s now gone. Those who bought one should consider themselves very lucky; I’m certainly envious.
2013 Audi TT RS Gallery