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Audi TT RS
8/10

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Road Test

Audi TT Coupe RS

Driven May 2009

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Right. That's the end of the idea of TT as hairdresser's car. It might have started life all those years ago as a gorgeous looking but more-than slightly soggy Golf in a spangly shirt. But no more.

The gen-2 car has a highly developed largely aluminium bodyshell, and this new RS version has a 340bhp turbo TFSI engine. Three hundred and forty horsepower.

And just to make it even more special, the ponies come from a unique new turbo straight-five engine. Now then, which was the car that made the turbo five famous? The original Audi Quattro. Square arches, WRC, Pike's Peak, Walter Rohrl. I think we can agree there are few cars more alpha male than that.

So does the TT RS wimp-out on the ur-Quattro heritage? Oh no, this is a solid piece of kit. The engine might be all new but the noise is an uncanny simulacrum of that lovely old Leslie-speaker warble. And it accelerates like it's on a mission.

It's not just the 4.6sec 0-62 time that does the business; it's the full-on turbo boost from deep down in the rev range. There's no DSG option (it'd lunch that transmission) but the six-speed manual is snicky enough.

The one we tried had the 155mph limiter removed (there's an option box you can tick) and ran straight to 175 as if it was born to it.

It's a right little terrier for corners. Just chuck it in and the 4WD sorts things out. OK, so there's not the delicacy of a Cayman S, you can invest massive trust in it. It never feels nose-heavy. That's why they went to all the trouble of developing an all-new compact five-pot: turbocharging the six-cylinder would have made something too lardy.

Of course if you want to tickle your follicles, there's always the roadster version. Remarkably, it feels almost as solid as the coupe, so even that's a proper sports car now.

Paul Horrell

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