Did you miss your opportunity to get one of the greats when they were new? Be it the last of the 993s, the 1M, or this car – the Audi TT RS – they’re packages we’re not likely to see again soon if ever. The 8J platform was already great, even in only 2.0T form – but up the power with the 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-5 and this stealthy coupe becomes a monster. Only around 1,300 of these TT RSs were sold between 2012 and 2013 and are already fan favorites. On its way out, though, Audi gave U.S. fans something special with the “Final Edition” cars. Around 30 of the final run of TT RSs were handed over to Audi Exclusive, where they received special interior and exterior treatments. Outside they were painted Nimbus Grey Pearl Effect and given the full Titanium Exhaust package treatment which came with the titanium exhaust, black optics grill and titanium “Rotor” wheels. Inside, they were outfit with two tone Crimson Red and Black leather interiors and a special “RS Plus” shift knob. They were also fully equipped with the Tech package which included navigation and heated front seats. The price for such luxury? Over $70,000 out the door. But today, you can have what is effectively a brand new on for some $20,000 less:
An interesting transposition occurred in the fast Golf-based platforms between the Mk.4 and Mk.5 chassis. In the Mk.4, the theoretical top of the heap was the Golf R32 and TT 3.2 quattro – both with 250 horsepower on tap from the rev-happy and sonorous VR6 motor, effectively twins under the skin – except for one significant difference. In the R32, in the U.S. that setup was available only with a manual 6-speed, while Audi opted to offer only the new DSG dual clutch transmission. When it came to the PQ5 revisions, it was expected that this would continue – but VAG threw us a loop, because the R32 suddenly became DSG-only and while that gearbox was available in the TT, you could now opt for a 6-speed manual in the 8J. True, the 3.2 was no longer King of the Hill for Audi, a crown that would later be placed upon the impressively outrageous TT RS. And long term, truth told the TT RS is probably the most collectable of the 8Js, but if you love the TT and you’d like something to tide you over until prices become more reasonable in the used market, it’s worth scouring the internet for a 6-speed manual version of the TT 3.2 quattro:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro on San Diego Craigslist
There are two ways to look at the TT RS. Either it’s a very expensive and over complicated Golf, or it’s a really cheap Porsche. Which camp you fall in to probably relates back to your general feelings about Audi’s engineering and platforms, but the VAG group has done a masterful job of filling nearly every conceivable niche with a specific model which suits the needs of a seemingly minuscule group of buyers. Consider, for just a moment, the number of 911 variants that Porsche offers. Not including color and interior variations (and forget Porsche’s individual program for a second), there are 21 variants of the 911 for sale in the U.S. right now. 21. That’s nuts. But that’s about on par with what Volkswagen has done with the Golf – producing not only the many Golf models, but also the Golf-based Jetta, A3, S3, Q3, Tiguan, Touran, Passat, several European Skodas, Seats, and – of course – the Audi TT. But while there are hot versions of the Golf available in a few different flavors, Audi took the TT RS to the next level, replacing the typical 2.0T motor with a 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-5 that hearkened back to the great 1980s designs. Sure, the motor was now transverse, and you can complain about that all you’d like. But the performance of the TT RS is undeniable – 0-60 in 3.6 seconds (with the DSG box), nearly 1 g on the skidpad and seemingly endless acceleration up to 175 m.p.h. from the 360 horsepower 5-pot. And, all of this was available for around $60,000. You also got a revised exterior with go-faster grills and plenty of special looking accents both inside and out. With only around 1,000 imported, exclusivity was guaranteed and these TT RSs are fan favorites already that are likely to retain a strong value in the marketplace:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Audi TT RS on eBay
There aren’t too many cars that I look at today and think that down the road they’ll be viable used cars. I can look back at the previous tech-heavy generation cars for the trends of what will occur – take the BMW E31 for example. Sure, it’s a really neat looking car, and the lure of the V12 is made even more appealing since you could get a manual transmission. But then there are the horror stories of the 15 or more computers that it takes to run all of the electronic systems, and I wonder how people will keep them running in the future. That’s even more compounded when you look at newer models. For example, about a month ago I took a trip out to Coventry Motorcar and drove their modified CL65 AMG. It was when new, and still is today, an amazing car with every sort of electronic gizmo possible, from heated, cooled and massaging seats to the twin-turbo V12 under the hood. It’s as if Mercedes-Benz took a Brookstone catalog and attached it to a Saturn V rocket. But can you imagine maintaining that car as it creeps towards 120,000 miles? I certainly can’t, and it’s a feeling I have about nearly all new luxury German cars.
There are a few exceptions, even in my favorite brand of Audi. While I’m not a fan of most of the models they’ve come out with recently in general, there are a few special ones that I’d consider owning down the road. It’s not that I don’t like or admire the cars; the performance of the new generation motors is stunning and the interiors and exteriors are, I think, the best in the business. It’s that I just can’t contemplate how you’d keep a new S8 running down the road. Having owned cutting edge, tech heavy Audis in the past, it’s a recipe that I would be concerned with in the future. I might make an exception, though, for a car like the this:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Audi TTRS on eBay
If this was my car and I was the kind of person who went in for vanity plates I’d get COPMGNT because that’s what it is. A regular Audi TT isn’t exactly a head turner and the TT S doesn’t demand attention either. Both are fine looking cars but not nearly as fine as the fully hotted up RS version. Yes, I know the differences are subtle but the wider body, 19″ wheels, mesh grille and killer rear valance give the TT body the aggressive look I think it always should have had. Like many of the reviews say, the TT RS is more R8 than TT and I often debate which I’d rather have. I always end up landing on the R8 because gated manual.Â
Speaking on manuals, the TT RS we got here in America only came with 3 pedals. Think about that for a second, a modern sports car in America with no automatic option only 3 years ago. If they were smart enough to do it then, why oh why can’t they be smart enough to offer an S3 with a stick now? Sorry to get off topic, sore subject as I’d go in for an S3 with a stick in a heartbeat, but I digress. Audi got a lot of things right with the TT RS, excellent 6spd manual, howling 2.5L inline-5 pushing out 360hp and 343 lb-ft in a 3,312 package. The car was quick, balanced and apparently had minimal understeer for an Audi. I would absolutely love to drive one of these but as they’re actually rather rare, the likelihood of that happening in the near future is slim to none. If you happen to own one of these cars and live in the greater Los Angeles area, please, let me drive your car?