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Audi’s fastest TT drop-top debuts in UK

Simultaneous unveilings of the all-new TT RS in London and Beijing

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Audi is unveiling the most powerful version of its TT model yet, simultaneously in London and China.

The TT RS Roadster is debuting at Audi’s West London showroom at the same time as its coupé sister is unveiled at the Beijing motor show.

Revealing the car in London reflects the fact that more Audi TTs are bought in the UK than anywhere else – British buyers account for almost half of all European sales of the model.

The new versions are are the second generation of the TT RS line and both use Audi’s new five-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engine. This is a development of a unit that has taken five ‘Engine of the Year’ titles, the major update being the use of a weight-saving aluminium block and a 17% increase in power – it produces 394bhp and 354lbft of torque, the latter between 1,700 and 5,850rpm.

As a result the Coupe will pass 62mph from rest in 3.7 seconds – four tenths quicker than its predecessor. The Roadster follows just behind at 3.9 seconds, three tenths up on its previous version, and both are capable of up to 174mph.

The Coupe is also half a second faster than its direct rival, the newly-unveiled Cayman S from Porsche.

As standard the TT RS models use a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox, with its ratios specially selected for the car and steering-wheel paddles for manual control, and matched to quattro all-wheel drive.

The chassis sits a centimetre lower to the ground than the stock TT, on 19-inch alloy wheels (20-inch forged aluminium versions on the options list) and with stiffer springs and dampers. The progressive steering, becoming more direct with increasing input, is taken from Audi’s RS models.

Brakes are uprated too, combining 370mm vented perforated front discs on the front axles with 310mm monoblock versions at the rear. Eight-piston front calipers are used and carbon-ceramic brakes are an option.

Visually the TT RS gains bespoke front and rear bumpers, the front boasting deeper air intakes, along with extended side sills, elliptical exhaust tailpipes and a large fixed spoiler, which can be exchanged for a smaller extendable version.

Also debuting on the TT RS are OLED rear lights – the O stands for organic, and reflects a light signature that is high contrast, can be continuously dimmed, does not cast any shadows and does not require any reflectors.

Each rear light module contains contains four units which become smaller from the inside out. The biggest bears the TT logo and the four Audi rings.

Inside Audi says the controls are focused on the driver, making use of the brand’s much-praised digital ‘virtual cockpit’ with its 12-inch screen. This gains a bespoke ‘RS screen’ highlighting the rev counter and showing information including tyre pressure, torque and g‑force. A rev-limiter shift light also features on the virtual cockpit.

Order books for the TT RS models will open in summer 2016, with first deliveries at the end of the year. Prices are yet to be announced.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.