Audi’s TT RS lets its inner rally car out with 400-horsepower engine

The current-generation Audi TT has won plenty of praise for its copious technology and mature styling, but enthusiasts still want more. They’ve been waiting for a new, high-performance TT RS model like the one that turned the previous-generation TT into a serious sports car.

Well, the wait is over. The next Audi TT RS debuts this week at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, and it looks ready to give Audi corporate cousin Porsche a run for its money. Available in both coupe and convertible form, the new TT RS boasts plenty of gadgets, but also lots of raw power.

The TT RS once again uses a 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder engine, an oddball configuration that references Audi’s domineering Coupe Quattro rally cars of the 1980s. In its latest iteration, the engine produces 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, along with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi says the TT RS coupe will do 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, while the convertible takes 3.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, but Audi will raise it to 173 mph if you ask.

On the handling side, the TT RS gets upgraded suspension and brakes, as well as the Audi Drive Select control system, which allows drivers to toggle between different settings. Adaptive magnetic dampers are also available as an option. Already offered on everything from Corvettes to Ferraris, they can adjust firmness rapidly by running an electric current through fluid filled with metallic particles.

The TT RS looks downright aggressive thanks to some styling changes. There are larger air intakes, oval exhaust outlets, and a big rear spoiler to let people know this car means business. The RS is also the first series-production Audi to use the company’s Matrix OLED tech, albeit only on the taillights. The fancy lights probably won’t be offered in the U.S. due to regulatory issues.

On the inside, the TT RS gets the “virtual cockpit” display that remains a standout feature on the regular TT. The display replaces both the traditional gauge cluster and center-stack screen with one 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver. For the TT RS, Audi added a special “RS” screen that highlights the tachometer and displays relevant information like tire pressure and g-forces. There’s also a virtual shift light, and the TT RS is the first RS model with a multifunction steering wheel.

The Audi TT RS goes on sale in Europe this fall, but likely won’t reach the U.S. until next year.

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