Hot Take: The Audi TT is the Reincarnated Porsche 356

Porsche 356

The Audi TT and the original Porsche 356 are both timeless classics, but first and foremost, they are driver’s cars.

Many people wish Porsche still made the 356 or something like it. Just not necessarily air-cooled or powered by a flat-four cylinder engine. You can buy 356 replicas and even turn your Boxster into a Speedster but I’m talking about a car that shares its roots with Volkswagen. A car that’s a bit rough and tumble and recalls the days when Porsches were attainable by people with modest means. A car that’s playful yet practical enough to be your only car. It’s not an outright sports car, but one rewarding to drive. Better still, one you’re willing to drive daily and even park on the street.

Fortunately, that car exists. And the reason I’m writing about it here and not Rennlist is because it’s the Audi TT.

Hot Take: The Audi TT is the Reincarnated Porsche 356

The original Porsche 356 shared many components with the Volkswagen Beetle. Porschephiles will cringe when you point that out, but it’s not a bad thing. The Audi TT also shares the VW Group A platform using the same configuration as the Audi A3 and VW Golf. It’s a solid platform that also underpins the Audi RS 3 which is a seriously good driver’s car. And like that car, the TT is a great car to drive. In fact, Car and Driver praised it for its balance and stability.

Driving it provides a similar experience to the Porsche 356 – just ask Wayne Carini. He owned an early TT Quattro and wrote about it in Hagerty. “The TT felt a lot like a Porsche 356 in that you didn’t need a ton of power to have a good time,” Carini said. Now over 20 years old, the original TT is gaining appreciation in the collector market. They don’t fetch obscene prices like the original Porsche 356. But with the general insanity happening on sites like Bring A Trailer, you never know what’s going to happen next.

Audi TT RS Back

The styling is also similar to the Porsche 356. Both vehicles have the distinctive shape of a streamlined VW Beetle, even though the TT’s engine is in front instead of the rear. The interior is simple and straightforward, matching the timeless look of the exterior. There’s no touchscreen to distract you.  Everything you need uses a button or switch and is within reach. Few cars make you want to sit in them just to look around, to take notice of your surroundings, instead of getting in and driving. Both the Porsche 356 and Audi TT share that trait.

The Audi TT is not an outright, thoroughbred sports car. Critics in the motoring press damn it with that faint praise. “The TT is good but not a true sports car like the Porsche Boxter or Cayman,” they say. But they are missing the point. Neither was the Porsche 356, which couldn’t match a Jaguar XK or Corvette in the sports car department. Both the Porsche 356 and Audi TT are driver’s cars. They are meant to drive on any road, in any weather. They are an antidote to the rolling Novacaine, appliance on wheels most cars are today. And they exist for us to enjoy.

Hot Take: The Audi TT is the Reincarnated Porsche 356

Recently Audi announced it will stop making the TT RS and stop importing the TT to the U.S. this year. It was a good run for a great car. A car that’s a modern classic and will someday fetch Porsche Speedster money. But like most things that come to an end, we didn’t know how good we had it.

Photos: Audi and Porsche

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Mark Webb is fascinated by anything automotive and particularly loves cars that are unusual or have a good story. He’s owned a variety of cars from 60’s muscle, Japanese imports, and oddities like a VW Thing and Porsche 924. After 20 years in the automotive and tech industries, he’s a walking encyclopedia of car info and is always on the lookout for his next project or a good road trip.

Fetch Yourself a Serious Performance Upgrade With the New Unitronic Dogbone Mount

UnitronicAudi RS3 or an Audi TT RS you are already a lucky dog. These fine performance machines wear the coveted RS badge. That means that they have been tested and tuned on the Nürburgring for maximum performance under extreme conditions. However, even extreme, hard-core sports cars have margin for improvement. The folks at Unitronic know this as well as anyone. They develop tunes and products for most Audi models including the extra special RS cars. The latest product to come out of Unitronic is their Dogbone Mount, also referred to as the Pendulum Mount. The Dogbone Mount will be compatible with the 2017 to 2020 RS3 and the 2017 to 2021 TT RS.

2019 Audi TT RSavailable now. It will set you back $499.99. Your racecar build will have to wait just a little bit longer. The red track oriented Dogbone Mount is expected to arrive in April 2022. Pricing for that one has yet to be announced. This is one of those upgrades that no one will ever see, but you will be able to feel it from behind the wheel. If you want to go fast you don’t want your car wheels to be jumping off the ground. This is a reasonable investment that will give your car that little extra edge on road or track.

Images: Unitronic; Audi

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Goodbye, Old Friend — Testing the Final Audi TT RS

TT RS
Lean, green pocket TT RS supercar rewrites record books as it salutes the very core of Audi‘s ethos with sensational pedigree, performance.

There’s something quite fundamental about a five-cylinder turbo quattro Audi. Something like a front-engined V12 Ferrari or a rear-mounted boxer-six Porsche. A configuration molded in an incredible pedigree as significant as history itself.

TT RS

TT RS Brilliantly Calls Back Audi’s Ultimate Pedigree

I was fortunate enough to witness those wild rally and race quattros roaring, belching and squealing through the forest in the dark of the night, back in the day. And in front of a frenzied racetrack crowd too. So that world-beating 40-year-old pedigree is still deeply embedded in my brain. As it should be in yours, if you’re a 50 year or older petrol head today.

The best thing about all that, is that like Ferrari’s modern V12s and the latest Porsche 911, Ingolstadt still honours its splendid heritage. You can walk into your nearest Audi Sport dealership and buy a five-pot turbo quattro TT RS right now. But be warned, it won’t be so for very much longer…

Having the facelifted Audi TT RS Coupé quattro on test, ended up being a refresher to those days lurking in the 3 am rally forest as the Ûr-quattro approached flat out through the dark of night. Its animal howl screaming through the forest. Or those chirping, charging quattros fighting off Trans Am quad-rotary Mazdas, Chev and Ford V8s on track.

Audi

Shares the Legend’s Heart

See, this car shares its heart with those legendary forefathers. It’s powered by Audi’s 394 HP 354 lb.-ft International Engine of the Year 2.5-litre turbo five-pot turning all four wheels through that quattro drive. The 3,108 lbs. TT RS stops courtesy of red calipers clamping ventilated and perforated discs brakes.

If anything, TT RS salutes its brand history better than any Audi I’ve ever driven. It made me imagine I was charging along in one of those incredible race or rally icons. And that’s what makes this car sad. So, so sad.

This is apparently the last TT RS. As Audi prepares to forsake its incredible five-pot turbo quattro heritage for batteries and a device more at home in a vacuum cleaner, hair drier or washing machine. Best we rather leave that right there, then.

Audi

The Farewell TT RS is a Delectable Car

Getting back to this green matter at hand. Let’s just call it Hulk green. It fits. Audi’s farewell TT RS is a delectable little car. Stunning looks supported by all that RS kit, splendid wheels and an attitude that should warn those Porsches and Ferraris it can kill off the line. And backed by a cabin to match its big R8 brother. It must be among the best bang-for-buck performers out there.

There’s not a hell of a lot different to the pre-facelift car under the skin. But this latest Audi TT RS Coupé’s front end was ‘completely redrawn’ to deliver a more macho front and a sharper rear end.

It’s splendid in detail – especially that bulging matt black honeycomb mesh in the default single-frame grill. It also gets sharper LED headlights, bigger bumper ducts and a chunkier front spoiler too. This last TT RS ads a fixed rear wing, while freshened taillamps get matrix OLED reversing lights.

Audi

But Wait, Something’s Amiss!

Step inside, settle into that honeycomb pattern fine Nappa RS sport seat and you may feel lost. What! No central infotainment screen? Well, that’s so refreshing! And it’s not that the car loses its connectivity. No, not at all.

The MMI Navigation Plus still all there – it’s rather just placed on the dash behind the flat-bottom, toggle and paddle shifter RS sport leather steering wheel. As part of T RS’ 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit. And it works very well, too.

All of which gives the rest of TT RS’s completely driver-focused, albeit spartanly trimmed fascia such a clean and fresh feel. Makes one wonder what the chase for the biggest, baddest car infotainment screens, is all about? Also makes us wonder who needs touchscreens in cars?

TT RS

Very Few Cars Will Live With the Audi TT RS

Rest assured that there are very few cars of any description that can live with it. This TT RS will shock whatever who brings, that’s for sure. It does so with that growling, rasping crackle snap pop 5-pot soundtrack. Which never fails to send a shiver up the spine.

All that said, while it’s indecently quick, We are also convinced TT RS’s performance is still a touch restrained. To protect its bigger, more expensive quattros, perhaps? So much so that we sense its launch controls are configured to deliver those mid-three second to 60 mph runs. Were the men from RS to configure the pullaway for ultimate acceleration, TT RS would likely chase the twos.

Audi

It’s All Getting Swept Under that Giant Electric Blanket

Be that as it may, this mean, green pocket supercar not only rewrites the record books at a fraction of the price. It also so brilliantly salutes the very core of Audi‘s ethos in a pretty sensational blend of pedigree and performance.

Which makes it all that much sadder. That they’re about to sweep all that culture, class and history right under that electric blanket called the future…

ROAD TESTED: Audi TT RS coupe quattro 
Engine: 394 HP 354 lb.-ft 2480cc I5 turbo 
Drive: 7-speed double-clutch auto AWD 
TESTED:
0-40 mph:        1.87 sec
0-60 mph:        3.52 sec
0-80 mph:        4.67 sec
0-100 mph:       8.15 sec
¼-mile:          11.7 sec @ 118 mph
50-75 mph:       2.37 sec 
75-100 mph:      3.47sec 
CLAIMED: 
Vmax:            155 mph 
Fuel Highway:    30 mpg
Fuel City:       20 mpg
Warranty:        4-years/50,000 miles
PRICE:           $72,500
RATED            9

Images – Michele Lupini

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