Future classic: Audi TT RS

| 12 Apr 2024
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

Few cars manage to be both a bona fide classic and a future classic simultaneously, but as the venerable Audi TT finally bows out after its 25-year production run, it neatly straddles the two camps.

The nouveau-retro look of the early Mk1s has mellowed to bring its own nostalgia, while later versions have evolved to give us ever more exciting variants, culminating in this, the last-hurrah RS.

Forget the ‘VW Golf in a posh wrapper’ jibes that have always plagued the TT; this latest incarnation is a much more serious machine.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

Clockwise from top: the five-cylinder turbo is evocative of the original Audi quattro; extra aerodynamic addenda; 20in wheels for the end-of-the-line Iconic Edition

And for classic fans, the recipe is even more familiar than the shape: 2+2 coupé body, in-line five-cylinder turbo motor, four-wheel drive… Could this be the original quattro reborn?

If anything, it’s nearer in character to the sensational Sport quattro – even if this is very much a road car, not a homologation special.

There is the same agility backed up by four-wheel-drive stability, the same practicality despite its supercar-baiting pace – with almost 400bhp giving 0-60mph in a breathtaking 3.7 secs and an electronically limited 155mph.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

The Audi TT RS makes all the right noises, and the accessible performance makes you feel like a Group B rally hero

The most outstanding feature, however, is just how accessible that pace is.

There are more dynamic rivals – not least a certain Stuttgart coupé – but few whose performance can be deployed so often and with the confidence that it won’t bite.

That’s thanks to the MacPherson struts up front and a four-link rear, a seamless seven-speed dual-clutch automatic ’box, four driven wheels and phenomenal grip from the huge 255/30 tyres that wrap the 20in wheels of this run-out Iconic Edition.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

Inside, the Audi TT RS still feels special, if a little dated

It would be nice to have a bit more steering weight and particularly feel, a bit less mass (kerbweight is a scale-crushing 1475kg) and a less bone-jarring ride, and we could certainly live without the fussy bodykit and look-at-me rear wing, but every quibble is forgiven when you stretch out that glorious 20-valve direct-injection ‘five’.

Once more you’re transported to the Kielder forests by the evocative, barrel-chested exhaust yowl – even if the uneven warble of old has been smoothed out a little too much in the quest for refinement, with continuously variable camshaft adjustment among its sophisticated armoury.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Audi TT RS

The Audi TT RS mixes a 3.7-sec 0-60mph time with everyday practicality

Inside, the snug, almost claustrophobic cabin is starting to look its age, but it is still superbly finished and feels special in the way that only Audi seems to manage, with a pair of kid-friendly rear seats and a decent boot.

And it’s that in particular that gives this car its USP: genuine supercar performance, both in a straight line and cross-country, but the everyday usability of any other VW Group product.

Farewell, Audi TT, you will be missed.

Images: Max Edleston


  • Engine 2480cc ‘five’, turbocharger and intercooler; 395bhp @ 5850-7000rpm; 354lb ft @ 2250-5850rpm
  • Transmission seven-speed auto, 4WD
  • 0-62mph 3.7 secs
  • Top speed 155mph (limited)
  • Mpg 31.7
  • Price £87,650


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