People keep banging on about the Audi TT being a hairdresser’s car. What they mean by this of course is that it is aimed at the female market, but they are wrong on quite a few levels. The original TT, launched 20 years ago, was always a cracking car - cute, fast, well built and solid. I owned a 3.2 Quattro a few years back and a/ l am not a girl and b/ l am not a hairdresser. It was a corker and l really did not give a frig what people thought.
Just to finally put these insults to bed once and for all, Audi delivered me the TTRS and bloody hell, its quick. Quite how they get this much speed out of a 2.5 litre engine is quite beyond me but l am very pleased that they managed it.
First, there is the unusual five-cylinder engine, with turbo-charging boosting power output to a formidable 396bhp. In both respects, it punches some way above its rivals the Porsche Cayman, Alfa Romeo 4C and Jaguar F-Type, which are also all heavier and, thus, slower than the TT. It’s very special to Audi, their five-cylinder unit, and is not available on other VW group products, so they’ve lavished unusual care upon it and you can’t get a budget-priced version in a Skoda or Seat, which is good to hear.
This is an all-aluminium body and the smooth ride is all the more surprising when you consider that it is much tougher to balance a 5-cylinder engine than a 6 cylinder as odd numbers are much more difficult to ensure smooth running and idle. This car is pure fun. You can throw it around like a go-kart and thanks to the Quattro, it will stick like glue to any surface and at no point, regardless of speed, did l feel like it could break free - and l mean at no point. To add to this, as the centre of gravity is so low, you get the best of every world and l would love to have this little gem on a track. It is quicker to 60 than the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S!
Inside, David Copperfield would be proud of the trick they have pulled off. Looking pretty small and compact on the outside, inside it is spacious. OK, the rear two passengers will have their knees around their ears but it you have two kids, or two dwarf friends, this is a perfect cruiser. At 4.2 metres, it is always a shock to see the back seats.
Again, we see that brilliant Virtual Cockpit dash display with the satnav in the dash right in your eye-line with switchable display dependant on which dials you would like to see. The MMI Navigation Plus package gives you efficient fingertip controls, 10GB on-board music storage and Audi Connect with Google maps and Street view. I am not sure what else one really would ever need.
Now back to that performance. It comes with launch control but even with a standard foot on the go pedal this thing will hit 60 in 3.6 seconds and doesn’t break a sweat doing it. An arousing howl emanates from the dual tail pipes as you are pushed back into the seat causing a grin like a Cheshire cat on acid. And it doesn’t stop there - 100mph will arrive in 8.4 seconds from standstill and that, ladies and gentlemen is faster than the Ferrari F430, Aston Vantage GT8 and the Porsche 911 Turbo. As if that were not enough to whet your whistle, when you have finished on the straight and need to turn a corner, the TTRS will leave most in the dust as it rounds almost any corner on rails with only the faintest whiff of rear slide as you power out of it.
Mated to all this power is a steering system that never worries. The perfect scenario here is to open the throttle on an uneven road with camber and some steering angle and see what happens. 95% of the cars you try this will fail miserably but the TTRS does not ever wobble. It steers straight and true and with pretty stiff suspension, there is little you cannot do. I hit 145mph (on a private road of course) and it was as composed as if at 30mph.
The TTRS is a whole bundle of fun allied with a car your Granny could poodle around town in, and, l would suggest, you all stop insulting this car and offer the respect it deserves.
Model tested: Audi TTRS TFSI Coupe
Engine: 2.5-litre turbo
Performance: 0-62mph 3.7 seconds
Top: 174mph (limited to 155)
Economy: 34.4mpg combined
As tested: £61,750