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Audi TT RS Plus S-tronic (2014) review

Published:08 April 2014

Audi TT RS Plus S-tronic (2014) review
  • At a glance
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Though we’ve already clapped eyes on the new third-gen Audi TT, and its faster chum, the TTS, it’ll be a while yet until you can buy a new-shape (just-about) TT which will unwrinkle your furrowed brow like this car: the TT RS Plus.

Costing a whopping £50,720 for this dual-clutch auto coupe, it’s bang in Porsche Cayman S and Jaguar F-type territory, and knocks on the door of new BMW M4 pricing. It’d better be one hell of a TT then.

What puts the ‘Plus’ into this Audi TT RS?

Visually, there are no clues: same fixed rear wing, same choice of 18in, 19in or 20in alloys. No ceramic brakes, or extra badging. Mind you, the bodykit TT RS does look a damn sight lairier than your beautician’s TT, so who cares?

Under the bonnet is where the party’s at. We applaud Audi for fitting an ur-Quattro-aping 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine to the TT RS, and we whoop and holler in appreciation for this car’s 20bhp power bump. It’s now a 355bhp TT. That’s right, number fans: you get just as much power as the Mercedes A45 AMG – and all-wheel drive, of course.

How fast is the TTRS Plus?

Supercar fast. Let the dual-clutch gearbox do its thing from standstill and you’ll hit 62mph in just 4.1sec – half a second quicker than the manual TT RS we drove back in 2009. As you blast forwards in the scalloped bucket seat, you’re accompanied by the sort of howling soundtrack that ricocheted through Swedish forests and off Monte Carlo’s rock faces in the 1980s. The RS team at Quattro GmbH have extended the speed limiter’s sense of humour too, so it doesn’t call time until 174mph. In a straight line, a regular Porsche 911 can’t live with a TT RS Plus, let alone a Cayman.

Is it as fun to drive as a Cayman?

No, but not a lot is. Like the S3 Saloon we liked recently, fun in the TT RS Plus comes from deploying its huge power reserves, not from slewing through bends on the ragged edge. It’s a small, wieldy size, and grip is momentous, but the steering lacks communication. A pity, given the thumb-hooked, perforated rim is one of the helms of any car, which Audi would do well to replicate in the new TT.

Be careful which ride mode you select too. The standard setting (there is no Comfort mode, betraying the TT’s age) is rather uncompromising, which leaves the Plus battling with the sort of B-roads its roller-skate size and big pace should lend itself to. Select Sport mode and the throttle response is immediately more sensitive, but you won’t notice because the ride becomes intolerably uncomfortable on UK roads. We’re sceptical of how many TT RS Plus buyers will be regular track-day goers, so the Sport setting really is a redundant feature for the UK buyer.

Anything else?

Having seen the game-changing new cabin of the Mk3 TT, this last-gen car is feeling its age. The general layout is sound still but the infotainment system is two generations old (it featured in the Lamborghini Gallardo, for heaven’s sake) and some of the materials have been well bettered by Audi’s recent A3.

Verdict

Objectively, we can’t recommend you spend fifty grand on a thirsty, outdated machine that isn’t as fun to drive as its newer, better-value rivals. But there is much to like about the fast, warbling TT RS Plus – makes you wonder what the new one will be like…

>> Click here to check out the new Audi TT Quattro Sport concept, which previews the new TTRS

Specs

Price when new: £50,270
On sale in the UK: Now, but not for long...
Engine: 2480cc 20v turbo 5-cyl, 355bhp @ 5400-6500rpm, 332lb ft @ 1600-5300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive
Performance: 4.1sec 0-62mph, 174mph, 30.7mpg, 214g/km
Weight / material: 1450kg/steel and aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4198/1842/134

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