The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.8

The Audi TT RS has a brilliant engine as well as the sure-footed Quattro four-wheel drive. That's why it makes it our pick of the TT bunch.

Reasons to buy

  • Brilliant engine
  • First-rate interior
  • Impressive levels of grip

How good does it look? 4/5

Audi TT is a stunning car as standard and the RS treatment simply makes everything bigger, bolder and more aggressive. The optional 20-inch wheels fitted to our test car stole the show, filling the arches to bursting point. The boot-mounted spoiler looks a bit out of place so many buyers will probably take Audi’s option to keep the standard pop-up spoiler instead. Deep bumpers, side sills and twin oval exhausts complete the go-faster package.

What's the interior like? 4/5

Everything feels modern and solidly built while all controls fall easily to hand, making you feel like a part of the car. There are some performance twists to the usual trip computer screens with turbo boost and a lap timer available between the main dials. The sports steering wheel is lavishly trimmed and has a racing car-style flat bottom, while the bucket seats pin you in place but may be too racey for all but the slimmest hips.

How practical is it? 3/5

Thanks to its coupe roofline and hatchback the Audi TT has a surprisingly big boot – just watch out for water running in when you open it after a downpour. There’s 290 litres of luggage space, or 700 litres if you fold the small rear seats down. While the rear seats are not big enough for adults, they are handy for shopping bags and should accommodate most kids.

What's it like to drive? 3/5

The TT RS is grippy, secure and fast. But, where’s the magic? Even when the optional magnetic ride system with settings for ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ is in its comfier mode, the ride is still very firm. Enter a corner and the RS grips hard and whips you around with little fuss, but also little interaction. In the wet the RS makes sense, the Quattro four-wheel drive giving a sense of huge security and effortless progress. But in the dry – or on track – the ultimate TT is very fast but only moderately rewarding.

How powerful is it? 5/5

The 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine in the RS is absolutely fantastic. It purrs gently at idle and then roars all the way to the red line just like an old WRC Quattro. With 340bhp and 332lb/ft it gives the TT rabid straight-line performance, accelerating it from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, 0-124mph (200km/h) in 15.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 174mph. Cruise gently and only the right tailpipe is active, but floor the throttle or depress the sport button and a flap opens the left pipe too – for maximum performance and volume. It’s an impressive party trick.

How much will it cost me? 3/5

Considering the Audi’s potent engine, emissions of 214g/km are surprisingly good, making the TT RS cleaner than many hot hatches, saloons and SUVs. A combined fuel economy of 30.7mpg isn’t too bad either, but you’ll have to be restrained to avoid fuel-sapping bursts of acceleration. Expect servicing to be pricey as Audi dealers rank among the most expensive for parts and labour.

How reliable is it? 4/5

While the engine may be unique in Audi’s model line-up, it’s a past master at building this layout of turbocharged motor – so expect the best quality. The TT sells in huge numbers around the world with few reported common faults.

How safe is it? 4/5

While EuroNCAP has not yet tested the TT for crash safety it has been built to perform well in an accident. Front and side airbags, along with a front passenger seat Isofix child seat mount and electronic stability control are fitted as standard.

How much equipment do I get? 4/5

In keeping with its significant price tag the TT RS comes fully equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, stereo with auxiliary input, heated sports seats, xenon headlights, climate control and electric door mirrors. Bucket seats, 19 or 20-inch wheels, adjustable magnetic dampers and satellite navigation are optional extras.

Why buy? 4/5

With its looks and headline-grabbing performance figures the Audi TT RS is a very desirable car. As such, it fully deserves to sell to anyone wanting a very cool and rapid set of wheels. Drivers with an appreciation of outright handling might want to look elsewhere though.