Audi TT RS packs five-cylinders of supercar-rivaling fury
In a world dominated by downsized, four-cylinder engines, Audi has staunchly stood by its five-cylinder turbo. The new TT RS joins the RS3 in offering the unique motor, but ramps up the power and torque for a supercar-rivaling sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) of 3.9 seconds for the RS Convertible, or 3.7 seconds for the Coupe, which makes it just 0.1 seconds slower to 100 km/h than the Lamborghini-derived R8 V10 Spyder.
The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine in the TT RS is 17 percent more powerful than the motor in the old RS. That means there's 294 kW (400 hp) available, which makes for a specific output of 120.3 kW (161.3 hp) per liter, and 480 Nm (354 lb.ft) of torque available between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm.
To give the RS this impressive turn of pace, the turbocharger is running at 1.35 bar, and Audi claims the intercooler works at 80 percent efficiency for the ideal oxygen percentage in the engine, while fuel can be injected into the inlet manifold as well as directly into the combustion chamber, for optimal delivery across the rev range.
Power has also been liberated using a number of small touches, including plasma-coated cylinder liners, crankshaft main-bearings that are 6 mm (0.2 in) thinner than before and a hollow bored crankshaft for another 1 kg (2.2 lb) weight saving. Other weight-saving measures include an engine that is 26 kg (57 lb) lighter than the outgoing model, thanks largely to an aluminum crankcase that saves 18 kg (40 lb) alone.
This power is channeled to the road through a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox with short gearing down low and a tall seventh-speed for improved fuel efficiency.
Fast Audis have always been defined by their Quattro all-wheel drive systems. Although they provide great traction, RS models have long been criticized for feeling inert and understeery, something the TT's fast-acting new software aims to fix by more precisely metering power to the rear wheels. There's also torque vectoring on hand to gently bring things back into line if they get out of hand, although Audi does say the car will perform "controlled drifts" in Sport mode.
On the hardware side of things, the car sits 10 mm (0.39 in) lower than the base model, and the steering has been retuned to turn in more sharply than before. There's also 360 mm (14.6 in) brake discs at the front and 310 mm (12.2 in) discs at the back, grabbed by eight-piston calipers.
One area the TT has always led the class is in styling, and the new RS is no different. It mightn't have the clean, Bauhaus curves of the original TT, but the RS' 19-inch wheels and 245 section tires work to make this car the best looking in the range. Along with those wheels are the usual go-faster bits, including gaping air intakes at the front, big oval exhaust at the back and some aluminum trim pieces in between.
There's also Matrix OLED taillights available for the first time, which have a unique 3D design to make the rear of the car look slightly more interesting.
It's a similar story inside, where quilted leather seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel join the still-impressive Virtual Cockpit in an attempt to make the RS feel special compared to regular TTs.
If all of this sounds exciting, you'll need €66,400 (US$74,850) for the Coupe and €69,200 ($78,000) for the drop top. You will need to wait until the Northern Hemisphere autumn to get your hands on one, though.
Our tip? Spend the extra cash on the drop top to enjoy extra noise from what is, still, one of the best sounding engines out there.