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Audi TT RS: We Don't Need No Stinking R8!

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On: Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 11:48AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Audi TT RS: We Don't Need No Stinking R8!

So, if you're an Audi fanatic, then you already are aware of the big, bad R8 halo car. Sure, it's gorgeous, it's fast, and when it comes to four-ring badges it has no equal, right? Wrong. Enter the 2012 Audi TT RS. Sure, it's not as pretty as the R8, but it might be deserving a bit more respect than you might originally be willing to bestow upon it. 

For starters, you have to acknowledge that the new(er) styling of the TT is an extreme improvement over the original VW Bug-look. It's sportier, cleaner, and much, much more aggressive than ever before.  But, this TT RS has a bite to back up its bigger bark. Although it starts with half as many cylinders as the R8 V10, the TT RS utilizes a turbocharger to bolster its 2.5-liter inline five cylinder motor to produce a very impressive 360-horsepower and 343-lb-ft of torque. Yes, a straight-five, and yes, horsepower and torque in the mid-300 range. Not too shabby, huh? That wacky engine is backed up by a six-speed manual transmission—your only choice of shifting gears by the way, none of that silly dual-clutch semi-automatic whatever-the-heck. That traditional tranny sends power to all four wheels, thanks to Audi's ever-present Quattro all-wheel drive system, and gives the TT RS a ton of grip off the line and through the tightest of curves.

The downside of that extra power compared to say, the TTS, is about a hundred extra pounds over the front end of the TT RS, which makes the car a little bit less agile, but you really would never know from behind the wheel. Even factoring in the extra weight, the TT RS weighs in at a relatively light 3300 pounds. Around a 300-ft diameter skidpad, the TT RS pulls a very impressive 0.95 g which is only about 0.01-0.02 g away from the big, bad R8. In terms of the all-important acceleration category, the TT RS can hit 60 mph in a spine-compressing 3.6 seconds, 100 mph in 9.3 seconds and posts a quarter mile time of 12.1 seconds @ 113 mph. That 0-60 time actually beats the mighty R8 5.2 by a tenth of a second, even though the TT RS gives up 160 horsepower to the halo car. Of course, the R8 5.2 catches up and starts putting that extra power to the ground past 100 mph, but the TT RS might just surprise a few snooty R8 (and Porsche, and Ferrari, and Corvette, and Mustang, and BMW) owners at a traffic light or two.

But the TT RS offers more than just acceleration. Its two-plus-two seating arrangement makes it a much more versatile option than its exotic big-brother. And, oh yeah, it costs about a third of the price too. Yup, the TT RS comes in with a base price right around $57,000 which is about 100 grand lower than that... other... Audi. But more importantly, the TT RS is about twenty thousand cheaper than its real German rival—the Porsche 911. Though some will point out that the Cayman R is a closer approximation of a rival to the TT RS by way of base price, there is no rivalry when it comes to acceleration, as the TT RS walks away from the baby Porsche every step of the way.

The TT RS is probably the best TT we have seen yet from Audi. It seems that the German carmaker decided they wanted a sportier mid-range model and they delivered in spades. The TT RS is every bit the performer its Porsche rivals are, but it simply executes things a bit differently. So effective is the TT RS at some of those performance figures that it might just sway a few potential R8 suitors to take that money and buy one of these exciting TT RS hot rods, and use that extra money to buy a ZR-1 or a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. If you're still a doubter, the TT RS is on sale now, so go down to your local Audi dealer and see for yourself, and don't forget your checkbook.

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dwalter | 12:55PM (Tue, Oct 25, 2011)

Awesome car! Looks great too!

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