What Is It?
Rejoice, the 2018 Audi TT RS and the 2018 Audi RS 3 are coming to the United States. We had the previous-generation TT RS, but (a) we should never take good things for granted, and (b) the RS 3 is a complete newcomer, developed specifically for this country.
The TT RS is the most extreme production version of Audi’s cute little coupe. There won’t be an open-top Roadster model. In this age of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, it’s interesting that Audi has kept the inline 5-cylinder configuration alive; it’s part of the company’s motorsport pedigree.
Under the hood of the new TT RS, the inline-5 is turbocharged to produce 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque — quite a lot of muscle, especially in a car this small. This new and comparatively lightweight engine is linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission with paddle shifters and a launch control mode. The final aspect is a standard all-wheel-drive system that can send all the available torque to the rear wheels.
Audi claims standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph with an optional Dynamic Plus package.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, drive mode selection, an active magnetic suspension, a rear spoiler, LED lighting, leather upholstery, sport seats and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which is a 12.3-in configurable display set into the driver’s instrument cluster.
Anything Audi makes that’s called an RS means it’s hotter than an S. Following on from the 292-hp S3, then, comes the RS 3 — the first compact sedan from Audi to wear the badge. It has the same 400-hp drivetrain as the TT RS. But this is a slightly heavier car, so it’s 0.3 of a second slower in the sprint to 60 mph.
It has 19-in alloy wheels, LED lighting, blind spot monitoring and leather-covered sport seats as standard, but the Virtual Cockpit is an option here.
Both of these cars come under the new Audi Sport sub-brand, and the 2017 New York Auto Show saw the world debut of another machine: the Audi R8 LMS GT4. This is a full-on race car (not street-legal at all, but based on the production R8) for private teams taking part in endurance sports car racing.
Audi Sport will oversee the R8 and any RS variants, customer racing and performance parts. It plans to launch a total of eight vehicles in the United States over the coming 2 years.
The 2018 Audi TT RS starts at $65,875.
The 2018 Audi RS 3 starts at $55,875. There will also be a few 2017 RS 3 units at $55,450 that are packaged with the Virtual Cockpit, navigation and a Bang & Olufsen upgraded audio system. Almost a bargain.
There’s no official pricing for the R8 LMS GT4 yet, but around $250,000 is an educated guess. That’s if Audi makes it available in the United States.
When Can You Get It?
The TT RS arrives spring 2017. The 2018 RS 3 is expected in the summer.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The TT has evolved from an intriguing design statement to an exciting driver’s machine. The RS 3 keeps the excitement levels high while adding usable rear seats and some trunk space.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S — This 350-hp midengine 2-seater coupe is an absolute joy to drive.
2017 BMW M2 — This 4-seater coupe kind of straddles the area between the TT RS and the RS 3. Well-balanced, rear-drive only (which some people might prefer) and endowed with 365 hp as well as 369 lb-ft of torque.
2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 — A direct rival to the RS 3, with 375 hp and 350 lb-ft driving all four wheels.
Used Porsche 911 — Because, deep down, everyone who wants a compact German sports car really wants a 911.