Caught in the classifieds: 2010 Audi TT RS Roadster
The first-gen Audi TT was a bit of an enigma. Making its debut way back in 1998, it was an instant success for Audi, but not everyone seemed to like it. It was deemed too ‘soft’ and ‘feminine’ by a lot of people, despite being a genuinely fun little car. It even had some ‘macho’ issues such as lift-off oversteer tendencies, but alas, not everyone was able to get over the way it looked.
When the second generation landed in 2006, it was obvious Audi had listened to the critics and the naysayers and made some serious alterations to the TT. This was, for the first time, a genuine rival to the likes of the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes Benz SLK. In 2009 the TT RS made its debut, the most potent variant of the entire Audi TT range. In this week’s “Caught In The Classifieds” section we’ve got an excellent example with 70,000 miles on the clock, costing a smidge under £16,000.
Visually, the TT RS is arguably one of the most extreme cases of a performance variant deviating from the standard car as much as possible. Everything about the RS just screams motorsports, which it should, because it was developed by Audi’s ‘Quattro’ division, the same people in charge of Audi’s racing department. To make it stand out over the base TT, it’s got a wider body kit with massively flared arches, huge RS-bespoke wheels, an aggressive front bumper with giant air openings, and a rear section adorned with twin exhaust tailpipes and a wing.
You don’t have to be a petrolhead to recognize this isn’t just another Audi TT. It’s got an aggressive stance which dominates the way the car sits on the road. It looks flat and hunkered down, almost like a little racing car without a livery. In some regards, it looks like a mini-R8 but it attracts just as much attention as its bigger supercar sibling.
The latest third-gen Audi TT is an evolution of the second-generation car, but to a lot of people, the second-gen TT is the better looking of the two. It’s got incredibly smooth lines and angles which seem to work with the flow of the car and its character. It doesn’t have as many sharp edges and creases as the latest TT, which is perhaps why a lot of people prefer this car over the latest one.
The TT’s cabin is a lovely place to spend time in. It’s very obviously an Audi from the moment you get in it, but unlike the Audi RS3 which is just an A3 with a better engine, the TT RS feels special in the same way an R8 feels special. This is made up of the same ingredients, it’s just offering fewer quantities of everything.
The driving position, for example, is bang on. Unlike in the RS3, you can actually get low in the TT RS, giving you that wonderful sense of connection with the chassis and the road. The materials feel premium and fit and finish are second-to-none. Audi has always had both BMW and Mercedes licked when it comes to cabin quality, and the TT RS is no exception.
Sure, it doesn’t have the latest virtual cockpit like the newest TT, or the latest infotainment system, but everything that truly matters is just right. The steering wheel is the right size and shape, the pedals are perfect for heel-and-toe, and it’s got the slickest of gearsticks. The seats are superb too. Plenty of lateral support but enough padding to make them comfortable for longer journeys.
Engine and Performance
Unlike the ‘regular’ TT S which uses a tweaked version of the 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder, the TT RS uses a much more potent 2.5-litre five-cylinder developing 335 bhp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed manual, which in a world full of DCTs and PDKs, is a real joy to use (although you can still have a TT RS with a DSG auto). Official figures are as follows: 0-62 in 4.5 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph.
The chassis is playful and neutral too. The Haldex AWD system is understeer-prone at the very limit, but turn everything off and you can get the rear to squirm a bit under throttle. Ultimately, it’s a very, very fast car which has so much grip you’ll struggle to unstick either the front or the rear without wedging yourself in a hedge.
The steering is precise even though it doesn’t transmit a whole lot of feedback, but having a third pedal and a stick in the middle is so much fun you ultimately don’t care about anything else. The engine note is glorious too. Because an inline-five is ultimately half a V10, it sounds like a little R8 or an Audi Quattro from the 80s thanks to its turbocharger.
If I had one criticism, it would be that the TT RS is somewhat of a blunt instrument. Compared to rear-wheel driven BMWs and Mercs it feels a little lacking in the character department. It’s so good at everything it does it, it slightly ruins the driving experience if you want a challenge. It’s one of the quickest cars from A to B, but it isn’t as involved as a Z4M.
Model: Audi TT RS
Why you should buy one
If you want a roadster that’s mind-blowingly quick, has an engine note to die for and will hold its resale value for a long time, look no further. The Audi TT RS is a brilliant little car, with a wide range of abilities which make it an excellent all-rounder. If you’re not a freak who will settle for nothing less than a RWD chassis, the TT RS is the obvious choice. Arrange a test drive with your local car dealer by checking out the used Audi TT RS cars for sale we have available on DesperateSeller.co.uk right now.
DesperateSeller.co.uk rating: 9 out of 10