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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Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Testing the 2022 Audi S3

2022 Audi S3

Mild-Hybrid Enhanced 2022 Audi S3 Punches Even Further Beyond its Weight

Take a cursory glance at the new 2022 Audi S3 Sportback and it seems quite conventional. It’s macho enough. Its streamlined flanks are a little more cut to feature quattro blisters this time around. As if it’s been to the gym. But it’s still reserved. Its real muscles are neatly tucked behind that executive German suit. So, it’s still typically Audi S. Not particularly demanding. Nor flaunting any undue expectation.

The Performance of Cars Three Times the Price

2022 Audi S3

But deliver it does – and then some. Boasting levels of performance you’d expect from a car three times the price, this one’s a proper wolf in sheep’s clothing. S3 rushes to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. And returns a sub-13 second quarter mile. That’s quick. Super quick!

Remember though, that this is the middling sporting Audi 3. Its wicked RS sibling is still coming, so S3 isn’t the highest ranked fighter in the gym. But it is more than enough to do the job. And the best thing about it, is how casually it goes about the business of punching so far beyond its weight.

You want to go? Just drive. Rocket launch? Plant your left foot on the brake, spool it up and let it loose. S3 squashes you into the seat, its quattro drive wastes no traction to launch. And run like the proverbial bullet all the way to the edge of its envelope. As if nothing is very special about that at all. And it will repeat that, ad nauseum, all day long.

S3 Delivers Metronomic Pace

2022 S3

Some rivals will erupt in a cloud of tyre smoke and demand your greatest attention to eke out a competitive acceleration time. Not this quattro. Just repeat abovementioned procedure and go for it. And the old VBox will report identical data every time. Metronomic. And precisely why we prefer AWD cars beyond a reasonable power peak.

Of course, all those same advantages come into play to deliver a superbly handling, great roadholding and a fine-riding package. OK, it’s a bit mute. Supposedly to keep some of that brawn for the RS. And it makes the most peculiar noise. You’d swear it’s a five-pot listening to its ‘symphonic’ soundtrack.

But it isn’t – this is still basically the Golf R’s EA888 turbo direct petrol injected four-pot, premium tuned to out 306 horses and 295 pound-foot. With a little audio tuning to sound like a five inside. That’s 18 HP and 15 lb.-ft up.

A Bonus Mild Hybrid Shove

Audi

The big difference this time around is that S3 gains 48-volt mild-hybrid system to boost it on driving off, ‘torque-fill’ at low engine speeds and coast with the engine off in many driving situations. That also saw to that three-tenths of a second improvement in S3’s zero-to-sixty ability over the old one, to report a 4.5 second run in our tests.

S3 still swaps cogs courtesy of a seamless seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic. A new modular dynamic handling control unit however closer links S3’s quattro all-wheel drive and new damper control S sport suspension to its Electronic Stability Control. ‘For a more spirited driving experience. An upgraded 14.1” front disc internally ventilated braking system stops S3.

Riding 0.6” lower than standard A3 models, S3 is also 0.8 inches wider and 1.6 inches longer than the car it replaces. It boasts a heightened RS-inspired look for a more substantial appearance. It’s further set apart by matrix-design LED headlights, a rhombus pattern grille design, larger quad exhaust tips. And it’s more aerodynamic too, thanks to a paneled underbody and improved wing mirror design.

Far More than Just a Drag Strip Weapon

Audi

But the Audi S3 is far more than just a drag strip weapon to guard your traffic light reputation. All that is just a tiny fraction of what the exquisite S3 offers. This car is finely crafted around a brilliant specification. And there again, its build quality, look, feel and gadgetry defy its asking price.

It’s a case of less is more inside this new Audi S3. Its superb, red-stitched black Nappa clad and high-quality finished driver-oriented cockpit design integrates sublime style with intuitive technology. S3 highlights Audi’s delectable flagship Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto packed 10.1” MMI touch screen infotainment and triple Dynamic, Sport, and Classic themed 12.3” virtual cockpit.

It features latest MIB 3 Function on Demand tech Traffic Sign Recognition and Enhanced Navigation and comes with a full ten airbag Audi pre sense safety suite too.

2022 Audi S3 Only Comes as a Sedan in the U.S.

Audi

Take note that this Sportback version is not available in the ‘States. S3 only comes in Sedan get-up over there, so it has a trunk rather than this one’s voluminous hatchback. We get the choice of either boot in other markets. But there really isn’t any difference ahead of the D-pillar, so if you’re reading this in the US, just remember that nuance – there is little difference anywhere else.

In closing, most everything this Audi S3 does, is on the right side of average. Some may say it looks a tad drab. And it may be a touch tight considering its entry roots. But that’s all grabbing at straws.

It’s a Great All Rounder

Audi

See, the 2022 Audi S3 is a great all-rounder. It does what you’d expect from a full-bore super saloon like its S6 – and even RS6 siblings. But it does so a fraction of the outlay. It’s a bargain that should never be overlooked – the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing – especially at the price.

ROAD TESTED: Audi S3 Sportback quattro
Engine: 306 HP 295 lb.-ft 2-litre turbo petrol I4 
Drive: 7-speed double-clutch auto AWD
TESTED: 
0-40 mph:          2.37 sec
0-60 mph:          4.48 sec 
0-75 mph:          6.33 sec
0-100 mph:         10.46 sec 
¼-mile:            12.9 sec @ 109 mph 
50-75 mph:         3.01 sec
75-100 mph:        4.03 sec 
CLAIMED: 
VMax:              155 mph 
Fuel – City:       22 mpg
Fuel – Highway:    29 mpg 
LIST PRICE:        $43,000 MSRP (Sedan)
RATED:             8

Images: Michele Lupini

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Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Mat Watson races a BMW 550i against an Audi RS6 in one of CarWow’s recent webisode.

We can always count on Mat Watson from CarWow to bring us some exciting drag races. In one of its most recent webisodes, the YouTube channel pits an Audi RS6 against a BMW M550i. Both contenders were evenly matched, as the 4.4-liter V8 motor in the BMW 550i produces 530 HP of maximum power and around 553 lb-ft of peak torque. The Audi comes equipped with a 600 HP 4.0-liter V8 engine which churns out 590 lb-ft of torque.

Watson was behind the wheel of the BMW 550i shares its TwinPower motor with the lauded BMW M5. Both cars get 8-speed automatic transmissions and all-wheel-drive layouts, but at around 4574 lbs, the Audi is 353 lbs heavier than BMW’s performance sedan. Both cars also come equipped with launch controls, but that did not help the BMW 550i. The BMW 550i completed the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds, and the quattro equipped Audi RS6 made the same run in just 11.6 seconds.

“This (BMW 550i) kind of felt a little bit soft. It didn’t have the hard kick that you get in that,” said Watson.

Audi RS6 vs BMW M550i

Watson’s Beemer was quicker off the line than the Audi RS6, but the presenter attributed that to his reaction time. The two cars then participated in a rolling drag race traveling at 50 MPH in Comfort mode. The Audi RS6 took the lead straight away, which it maintained till the end of the race and even the track for that matter. Even in Sport mode, the Audi RS6 managed to pull away from Watson’s BMW 550i in a rolling drag race.

This (BMW 550i) picks up pretty nice, not quite as nice as that RS6, confessed Watson. He further added, “he’s (driver in the Audi RS6) just easing ahead but once again not by loads.”
The Audi RS6 was not just quick in a straight line, but also managed to decelerate faster than the 550i in the brake test. In the interest of full disclosure, the Audi RS6 is more expensive than the BMW 550i, but as Mat made evident in the video, you do get a lot more performance for the extra money.

Image Source: CarWow

Audi Q3 Sportback Review: Stylish, but Lacking Dynamics

Audi Q3 40 TFSI Sportback
Audi’s Q3 Sportback is a Fastback Sports Utility that Celebrates its Style Better than its Dynamic Heritage

This turtle on stilts thing is getting out of hand. Seems every man and his dog sells all sorts of sleek ‘coupé-SUVs’ these days. This Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI S Line is another recent arrival worthy of a look-see. So here we go.

First and foremost, a coupé and an SUV all in one? No, they just don’t go! Sure, it’s sleek and sexy. But a coupé has two doors. Not five. Here’s another genre looking for a name — I prefer fastback SUV. So Sportback is actually a pretty dope name for it after all.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand — the Audi Q3 Sportback 40TFSI quattro S line. This is a European spec car – there’s no gas-burning Q3 Sportback in the US, just the e-tron. The all-electric one. Which may be a bit of an acquired taste. The closest US model is the next step up 228 hp 258 lb-ft Q5 45 TFSI S Line wagon.

Said to shake off the booming SUV stereotype in many more ways than one, this is a sleek new version of the good old Q3 wagon we’ve come to know over time. Our baby blue fastback SUV here certainly brings a wedge of style to old faithful. We say its way better looking than its wagon sibling. Never mind one of the cooler looking of all SUVs out there right now. Agree?

Everything from that honeycomb grille to its aggressive bumpers, shiny 19-inch alloys, chunky side skirts, and even chunkier haunches, looks the part. Hell, Audi’s come a long way from its bold move to the Mickey Mouse schnoz way back when! Practically, it’s on the large side for a small SUV. It’s still about an inch lower, two-thirds of an inch longer and half a hair narrower than its wagon kin. All thanks to its coupé aspirations.

Q3 Sportback

It’s Properly Audi Cool Inside

Step aboard and it’s just as Audi-cool. It’s also basically, identical to the wagon inside. That’s all good, because the Q3 sets the segment standard anyway. With Audi’s splendid 10.1-inch voice-controlled haptic touchscreen MMI multimedia center stage on the soft-touch plastic dash’s metallic fascia. And that brilliant multi-faced 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster nestled behind the chunky and racy flat-bottomed paddle-shifter multifunction steering wheel.

The Infotainment packs Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth; real-time traffic satellite navigation, and 180W 10-speaker digital radio sound. We really enjoyed the haptic touch which eases our loathing of touch screen system systems. But it but does not eliminate it. Like the touchscreen, the gloss-black air-vent surrounds are easily also fingerprinted and scratched too.

Audi has however happily resisted the temptation to integrate the dual-zone climate controls into this one’s multimedia system in favor of user-friendly knobs. The Sportback gets leather upholstered heated lumbar power sports seats and unique Steel Grey Alcantara dashboard and armrest inserts. There are SD and SIM card readers in the glove box, USB-A and C ports at the center console, two USB-C ports in the rear, and two 12-volt outlets too.

Audi Q3 Sportback

Option-Packed Luxury

This car packed in keyless entry and start, adaptive dusk-sensing LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power, heated auto-dimming folding wing mirrors, a hands-free power tailgate, a space-saver spare wheel, and rear privacy glass too.

Safety is also high on the Q3 Sportback agenda. An impressive array of advanced driver-assist systems extends to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep and steering assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Add rear cross-traffic alert, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, hill-descent, and hill-start assist, driver attention and high-beam assistants, surround-view cameras, and front and rear parking sensors.

There are six front, side, and curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction controls, ABS anti-skid brakes with brake assist, and electronic brake-force distribution, among others.

Forget Dieselgate, Audi’s A5 TDI is Efficient, Luxurious, and Sporty

Audi A5 40 TDI quattro

Exorcising Myths — Splendid Turbodiesel is Surely the Pick of Audi’s A5 Bunch (Sorry, US buyers.)

Before we dive into the Audi A5 TDI, let’s talk about good ole Dieselgate. That scandal back when VW cheated emissions on its four-cylinder and V6 turbodiesels in most VWs, Porsches, and Audis an effort to dodge carbon tax breaks.

(They say in racing, that you’re only a cheat if you are caught cheating. Well guess what?)

The VW Group ultimately coughed up $15 billion in fines, among other penalties for its carbon sins. And it’s been doing triple backward somersaults ever since in its efforts to atone. VW promises an all-electric future, has exited combustion motorsports and changed its famous VW logo in deference to its guilt-adopted clean persona. Hell, the US branch even cocked up its April fool’s joke when it released that Voltswagen clanger a few days too soon!

But VW Group Diesel Cars are Back

Audi A5 40 TDI quattro

It’s in the context of an all-electric future when this splendid sky turquoise Audi A5 cropped up for test. Strolling around the back, we were astonished to discover that it’s a 40 TDI version. The diesel may not be on the Audi US A5 range, but it certainly is relevant. Set apart by a ‘tauter, more powerful’ look, the latest A5 is highlighted by a broader, flatter chrome-framed titanium black single Audi trademark grill. And this chunkier S-Line has cool optional 19-inch S contrast wheels.

And it got better. Within a few minutes of taking the wheel, we were mesmerized. Agile yet comfortable, this is a very nice car to drive. It doesn’t feel like a diesel engine. And its diesel torque is beneficial to every aspect of its envelope, making it so very easy to drive, too. It’s great on the open road, where that torquey demeanor would make you almost swear that you’re pedaling a S5.

Audi’s A5 TDI is a Specialist Driving Scalpel

A5 40 TDI

Braking is secure, it turns in beautifully, follows though marvelously, with an aplomb that enhances more confidence at every turn. A little hard on the road in regular driving, that’s all very quickly forgotten. This engine, Audi quattro drive, and a fine chassis conspire to deliver a specialist driving scalpel. There’s no diesel clatter — the engine note is great and the cabin silent. Best of all was a 500-mile range with a few fuel gauge segments already accounted for.

All that happens in a sumptuous, luxurious, and efficient style. Audi’s A5 has typically great cabin that makes a few good haptic touch MMI infotainment improvements to enhance ease of use. The highly connected system has smartphone logic and feel and cleaner graphics via an MIB 3 Communication box with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, free-text input search and natural-language voice control.

Live and integrated Google Earth navigation includes traffic information, destination trading hours, parking availability, and even weather updates. Although certain rivals still offer a little greater versatility in operation, you’d need to try those out and fully understand them to actually know.

Audi A5 TDI Has a Brilliant Virtual Cockpit

A5 40 TDI

Most of that is also controllable via the A5’s chunky multifunction steering wheel, which also selects the brilliant full-HD display Audi virtual cockpit’s three instrumentation views complimented by a head-up display. Our A5 also packed an optional Audi phone box and splendid Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound.

Audi connect including roadside and emergency assistance is however standard. This crucial piece of fresh motoring technology likely saved the life of a friend. He was unfortunate enough to recently suffer a violent crash. Dazed and hurt, he was shocked to hear someone asking whether he was OK, within seconds of impact. It was the response center communicating via the stricken car’s audio system. His cry for help and the urgent response to that call probably saved his life.

But the most amazing aspect of this particular A5, is how brilliantly it merges a fine Audi quattro grand tourer with a brilliant turbodiesel engine. Not surprisingly considering my introduction above, besides appearing in the price list, Audi’s A5 press release late last year made scant mention of this model. Which is a pity.

Because after driving it, I think it’s the pick of the bunch.

A Hiatus of Development

A5 40 TDI

Worst of all, is that while this 188 hp 295 lb.-ft. engine has now made huge strides since the embarrassment its predecessor caused. When its makers cheated its carbon credentials. So future diesel development is stymied by the rush to electrify and satisfy the wan of a misguided green front. Which I believe misses the point completely.

One day, when all is said and done, I’m convinced that the world will come to rue turbodiesel technology’s hiatus of development. Its engine may very well have been the seed of much that carbon activism in the first place. But if this little secret is anything to go by, the car industry and its carbon controllers have clearly missed a trick.

This 40 TDI is the pick of the Audi A5 bunch. The irony just in that, is palpably embarrassing…

Audi A5 coupe 40TDI quattro S line Test Results

  • Engine: 188 hp 295 lb.-ft. 2-litre turbodiesel I4
  • Drive:7-speed automatic AWD

TESTED

  • 0-40 mph: 2.85 sec
  • 0-60 mph: 6.52 sec
  • 0-75 mph: 9.61 sec
  • 0-100 mph: 17.45 sec
  • 1/4-mile: 14.8 sec @ 93 mph
  • 50-75 mph: 5.10 sec
  • 75-100 mph: 7.96 sec

CLAIMED

  • VMax: 140 mph
  • Fuel: 39.2 mpg
  • CO2: 158 g/km

Images: Michele Lupini

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