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- Highs Unique and gutsy five-cylinder turbo, high-tech interior, standard Quattro all-wheel drive.
- Lows Snug interior, rough ride over imperfect roads, handling is sharp but rival sports cars are better still.
- Verdict It has attitude and the performance to match, but the TT RS isn't as exciting or involving as the best of the competition.
As one of Audi's most outrageous models, the 2022 TT RS delivers sports car handling, muscle-car performance, and a high-end look and feel. Unlike rivals that use turbocharged four-cylinder engines or big-block V-8's, the TT RS is powered by a unique turbocharged five-cylinder engine that pumps out 394 horsepower and gives the car a unique auditory signature. The cabin is full of tech features and is draped in nice materials just like most other Audi models—just don't expect the same brand of comfort that you'll find in an A6 sedan. Handling is effortless to a fault and, while the TT RS is easy to drive fast, it's less involving on a twisty road than rivals such as the Porsche 718 Cayman or the Chevrolet Corvette. The TT RS has one thing those cars don't, though: standard all-wheel drive. Its four-wheel traction combined with a set of winter tires means the TT RS could be an ideal year-round option for enthusiast drivers who live in snowy northern climates.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2022?
A new, low-volume TT RS Heritage Edition joins the lineup for 2022. It will be offered in five different color combinations, but limited to only ten in each shade—meaning, a total run of only 50 cars. Why so few? Because Audi is discontinuing sales of the TT RS in the U.S. after 2022, so these special-edition models are the car's swan song here. The Heritage Edition cars all come standard with unique 20-inch wheels, OLED exterior lighting, a sport exhaust system, and special Heritage Edition logos etched into the rear windows.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While it would be very cool to snag one of the very few Heritage Edition cars that will be offered for sale, it's highly unlikely that you'll find one available at your local Audi dealer. That's ok, because the standard TT RS is still great fun and it's cheaper. It comes only as a coupe and offers only a handful of options. We'd add the sport exhaust system and swap the fixed rear spoiler for an electrically retractable one—it's a free option and, in our opinion, gives the TT RS a cleaner look.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The TT RS's 394-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine is unusual and alluring, and it makes a happy triumvirate with the standard Quattro all-wheel drive and snappy seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Passing power is astonishing: The seven-speed is more than willing to downshift as soon as you demand extra power, and the TT RS surges forward with such immediacy and force that you may think you've been sucked into a wormhole. Careful modulation of the throttle pedal transforms this athlete into a comfortable cruiser. When equipped with its standard adaptive dampers, the TT RS feels stable and planted on the road—even when that road turns wickedly twisty—so even relatively inexperienced drivers can feel confident tossing it through corners at supralegal speeds. The version we tested felt rock solid all the way up to its limit, but that limit is significantly lower than those of the Corvette and Cayman. While an edgier suspension—sans adaptive dampers—is available, the setup makes it noticeably more difficult to feel when the TT RS is about to reach its cornering limits. Unless you plan on spending lots of time on a racetrack, we suggest passing on the Dynamic Plus package.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Don't let the uncompromising performance fool you; the TT RS's turbo five-cylinder is quite efficient. The EPA estimates the 2022 model will earn 20 mpg in the city or 29 mpg on the highway. The version we evaluated on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and we saw 31 mpg in the real world. For more information about the TT RS's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, leather seats with diamond stitching are standard, as is the eye-catching, well-integrated aluminum trim of the cabin's design. However, absent from the car's hefty price tag are ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and a memory function for the driver and front-passenger seats. In our experience, the TT RS's rear seats are all but unusable—except as a place to throw gym bags or a briefcase. With the back row folded (as it should always rightly be—no kind person would subject a friend to the RS's back seat), we stuffed nine carry-on suitcases behind the front seats, making the TT RS by far the most useful vehicle in this class. As with many cars of this sort, unwieldy cargo will find no quarter—the cargo compartment is relatively large but not very tall, and the liftback rear opening is long but narrow.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Working with limited space, the TT RS's infotainment screen is not in the center of the dashboard but in the space traditionally occupied by the gauge cluster. This arrangement is attractive and easy to use, and, as in other Audis, is controlled by a rotary knob mounted on the center console. In-dash navigation as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
There's not much in the way of available driver-assistance tech for the TT RS, either. Still, this is a car that emphasizes driving, not mindless cruising. The omissions don't bother us, but some shoppers may disagree. For more information about the TT RS's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard front and rear parking sensors
- Available blind-spot monitoring
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi's warranty coverage is roughly in line with most competitors, but the Corvette and the Jaguar F-Type both offer something extra in the form of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance