Audi TT RS Sport Edition long-term test

Perhaps you will excuse a degree of antisocial behaviour: nine in 10 of the cars I drive at the moment make no noise at all, and the ones that do tend to emit a somewhat soulless melody, one that’s either devoid of character by dint of having no aspirations to sportiness, synthesised to the point of disingenuousness or stifled by mandated emissions-inhaling hardware.

The 2.5-litre turbo five-cylinder unit in the nose of the TT feels, comparatively, like an exercise in automotive theatre. And that’s after Audi was forced to fit a petrol particulate filter in pursuit of reduced CO2 output. Which is basically why it’s here.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the oldest car currently occupying a space in Autocar’s ever-varied long-term fleet garage. Our Kyalami Green example (which I point-blank refuse to name after any famous Muppet, ogre or Marvel superhero, no matter how much anyone else might be inclined to) wears a shiny new 23-plate, of course, but it will be one of the last top-drawer TTs to do so because the model line is bowing out in 2023 after a quarter-century of service and has yet to be confirmed for a revival of any kind.

That’s a bit gut-wrenching in its own right, whatever your automotive proclivities. It would be difficult to dispute the seminal nature of the Mk1 TT, and we’ve always admired the TT’s propensity to combine everyday liveability with joviality – an attribute that’s arguably been keenest felt in this third0generation car, which was launched way back in 2016. 

But it’s doubly troubling because the most potent of the TT bunch, the RS, is just one of three cars – not just in the Adu line-up, but on sale full stop – to pack a forced-induction straight-five punch. 

This is a motor that merits celebration. Of course, we could have done so by spending time with the technically related RS3 mega-hatch or the loftier RS Q3 crossover, but because Audi’s sports coupe will be the first of the fivers to leave us, it is most deserving of a final blast – and arguably is the most spiritually authentic embodiment of the all-paw, five-pot sports car. 

audi tt rs cabin

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