2021 Audi TT RS test drive

The 2021 Audi TT RS continues on as one of the more affordable offerings developed by Audi’s high performance division, Audi Sport. 2021 Audi TT RS Quattro

Following a facelift for the 2020 model year, the 2021 carries forward with the same redesigned front-end with a larger single frame front grille, larger air ducts both front and rear. The trunk mounted rear wing has also been reworked since the model was re-designed in 2016. The large wing now features vertical winglets instead of gently curved ends. The taillights have been tweaked to appear sharper.

Our test vehicle came fitted with 20 inch five-spoke alloy rims with 255/30 R20 performance tires.

2021 Audi TT RS rear cornerUnder the hood, Audi’s magical turbocharged, 2.5L aluminum, five-cylinder engine produces 394HP and 354 lb-ft of torque. 100% of that torque is available as low as 2000 RPM, ensuring the TT RS is easy to drive in city traffic. Power runs through a 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch transmission to each wheel controlled by Audi’s Quattro All-wheel drive system. It takes only 3.7 seconds to sprint from 0-100 kms. In theory, the TT RS has a governed top speed of 250 kms/hr. I have no way of testing that claim.

Opening the TT RS’s drivers door, means you have to climb down into the gorgeous deep leather bucket seats with RS embroidered lettering and stitching. Its amazing how similar the cockpit is to the R8 Supercar. The dashboard is a benchmark in efficiency and functional design. Three rotary air vents sit prominently centred above the centre console. A variety of heating and comfort controls are inputted by manipulating the functions on or around the vents. 2021 Audi TT RS air vents

The core system for driver interface is Audi’s virtual cockpit sits in the instrument cluster. The 12.3 inch TFT LCD screen can be tailored by the driver to the display a number of choices including a traditional instrument cluster with a speedometer and tachometer. Other choices include a full or partial screen of Google Maps integrated NAV system, audio programming and detailed performance data such as a lateral acceleration meter or fuel economy.

Another carryover from the R8 is the racing inspired, suede wrapped, flat bottomed steering wheel. Visually, the wheel houses a pair of push buttons, one red coloured that starts the vehicle. The other button is black and allows the driver to choose a vehicle set up profile through the Audi Drive Select interface. The system can sharpen just the suspension, steering, throttle or choose a comfort, dynamic or automatically responding profile.

The 5 cylinder engine barks to life at the push of the steering mounted button. Setting up the mirrors to head out on the road, I am struck with how little of the car I am able to see, sitting so low with the high side sills and dashboard. This feels the part of a track race car.

I spent a week driving the TT RS. In comfort mode, the Drive Select system returns a sporty, enjoyable and relatively comfortable ride. In Dynamic mode, the TT RS responds with a furious demeanor. The suspension firms up to the point, as my one colleague says, you are able to tell whether the coins you run over are facing heads or tails. The throttle returns surges of power that leave you smiling. Remember, the TT RS is only half a second slower to 100 kms/hr than the R8.

Aside from sprint timing, the TT RS returns enthusiastic handling in comfort mode. In Dynamic mode, the TT RS feels glued to the road. In corners, the sport coupe is eerily devoid of any body roll. Adding to the sensory massage is the robust engine exhaust clamor and neck snapping acceleration.

The deep bucket seats are surprisingly comfortable given how riveting they are in terms of holding drivers in place through cornering forces. The seats have power lumbar and side bolster adjustments. 2021 Aud TT RS rear seats

For statistical record it should be noted there are two contoured rear seats in the TT RS. In true sport coupe style however, they should really be classified as a parcel shelf. I didn’t ask anyone to try and fit back there, mostly because I wouldn’t be able to fit in the drivers seat if I moved the seat up at all.

One surprise over the week in this car, despite the enthusiastic bursts, was being able to average 8.8 L/100 kms in fuel consumption. That’s truly amazing given the level of performance.

Another observation was that the outward vision requires a solid knowledge of the exterior corners of the TT RS. Parking can be a tad stressful with the low seating position, high beltline and the aerodynamic bits that stick out around the vehicle.

The current list price for the 2021 Audi TT RS is $78,200 and comes with limited options, per Audi’s website. Really, only exterior colours and a cellphone interface box were shown as no cost or premium offerings. However, our test vehicle also included a sport package at a cost of $1750. Dealers are reportedly able to offer a more comprehensive list of offerings, tailor made for customers. Our test vehicle totaled out at $80,300.