Five cylinders for 25,000 kilometers

It was a relatively short intermezzo for the Audi TT RS in the service of the sport auto editorial team, this was admitted with a little wistfulness: arrival in June 2019, farewell in March of this year and in between 24,911 kilometers, which could be described as rather puny for a real endurance test. At least we sometimes get letters that say just that. In one of them, 100,000 kilometers were recently demanded as a minimum – perhaps rightly so! The problem is not so much our will as the long way to get there. If we were to really make such mileage volumes our goal, we would hardly have time to produce a magazine with all the driving that we could write the findings into afterwards.

In the case of the TT it was added still limiting that it was not actually at all intended for that, which bloomed it finally. Rather it jumped in spontaneously for a colleague – for the RS 4 Avant, which was originally cast for the long-term test role, because of its WLTP Homologation and lining up model care measures however on itself waited for let. In the meantime, however, the good piece has arrived, which meant that the TT RS had to go home in a jiffy.

The frog in the neck

The 2.5-liter aluminum engine (EA 855 Evo) has a frog in its throat – a gasoline particulate filter that in the end changes less than feared, but does not leave the five-cylinder engine without leaving a trace.

But even if the separation came suddenly, the realization remains that we have made good use of our time together. Not to say: enjoyed to the full. As a welcome, the full pampering program according to the house’s test type was offered: slalom, longitudinal dynamics and lap time measurement. Afterwards a meeting with old warriors from the history (story to follow) and finally the rebuilding with factory tuning parts, which of course led to further track days.

But let’s start at the beginning, with the starting point, which already belongs to the latest version of the FV generation. This means that the 2.5-liter aluminum engine (EA 855 Evo) has a frog in its throat – a gasoline particulate filter that may change less than feared, but it also leaves its mark on the five-cylinder engine. The lesser evils are indeed the technical ones: for example, the marginal weight increase or the torque peak shifted back by 250 revolutions, which adds a famous tick to the original performance characteristics.

So the “turbo hole”, which some testers attest to in the test card, has been rolled out a bit. That is however to that extent no drama, as the TT is able to pack the force, which is missing it in the beginning, obenraus doubly and threefold again draufzupacken. In addition the schmalzige power flow fits already excellently to the age, with which the drive secretly still coquettish. The speech is from the eighties, the era of the Rally Quattros, whose spirit the TT RS breathes and whose language it knows to speak. Or should I write: to speak knew At this question the spirits divide themselves. The one succumbs the folkloristic Prusteblume further unconditionally. Others, however, hear from afar the heroic howling of the unfiltered versions, which somehow sang more freely – brighter, more frenetic, with more fervor and trombone.

Either way, the 2.5 TFSI was and is concentrated Audi tradition, the heart of the top model and, according to Audi Sport, will continue to be set for the future. Whether it may move again into a TT, is however more than questionable. One did not express oneself to the fate of the success Coupé yet finally, however the indications condense that it returns at expiration of the third generation if, then as E-car – which is regretted here already times prophylactically.

Audi TT RS, Exterieur

The clumsy double clutch transmission is annoying. When maneuvering, it sticks like pudding between throttle and engine, dragging forever on the starting clutch. Consequence: The majority of the approximately 25,000 km was unwound in manual mode, suits the TT RS better anyway.

Whereby, one thing we would probably not miss: the clumsy double clutch transmission. When maneuvering it pops like pudding between gas foot and engine, drags forever on the starting clutch around, so that one feels reminded of the bloody beginnings of the own driver’s license career. And it also disturbs the flow when driving. Instead of mediating between engine and driver, it really pushes those involved around: it shifts up in a hurry, but shifts back much too hectically at the touch of the accelerator, and changes in tempo bring the gear selection temporarily to a standstill. Consequence: The majority of the approximately 25,000 km was unwound in manual mode, which better emphasizes the abdominal muscular character of the TT RS. Despite its moderate weight of 1.496 Kilos it is not a dynamic Grazie, but rather the taut Bursch’: handy steering, in addition a throughout zünftig adaptive chassis – the clear edge!

The only thing that loosens up the rich package is the hang-on-allwheel, which is now also realized in the lateral dynamics. Clearly, the variability of the force distribution is limited. The more conventional Audi Quattro is therefore not capable of wild drift scenarios à la AMG A 45. Thanks to the active control of its multi-disc clutch, however, the steering torque is sharper than in earlier models, which only produced drive when the front wheels were slipping – in other words, when the child was already in the well. Nevertheless, we couldn’t shake off the impression that there was more to it than that: even more grit, even more bite.

The one suffering …

Audi TT RS, Exterieur

And because the proof of the pudding is always more important than the study of press releases, one October day our Kyalami-green guest student stood as a guinea pig in Ingolstadt. The alleged rebirth lasted about five working hours, then IN-BD 9111 was back with a TÜV blessing and an angry expression.

This is exactly what the so-called Performance Parts are alluring, which Audi uses in broad formation for various TT versions. And because trying is always more important than studying press releases, our guest student from Kyalami Green stood as a guinea pig in Ingolstadt one October day.

The alleged rebirth lasted approximately five working hours, then IN-BD 9111 with TÜV blessing and angry face was again back. In the wheel arches, the matt black forged wheels, each weighing around 2.5 kilograms less than the others, including sports tires, a hood with a CfK-covered hot-air vent at the front and plenty of preserves inside. Also involved: a coilover suspension adjustable in trim position and damper hardness, which brings the TT RS closer to the road – visibly and noticeably!

Anyway after the transformation the Wehleiden from the back faction piled up: a colleague found the constant vibrating as strong contrast to the high everyday life suitability, a still more tender stringed one called the accessory solution even “buck-hard and polterig”. The many Gejammer stirred however also the Vorfreude on the measuring journeys in Hockenheim, where the TT should bring the performance of its parts on the place.

“Should” therefore, because at the end not each of the done steps went into the correct direction – although the round time at first sight the opposite maintains: 1.1 seconds faster. Fits. Actually. However, if you take into account that semi-slicks, as the Audi had missed, average between one and a half and two seconds on the GP circuit, the advantage suddenly feels almost like regression.

Audi TT RS, Interieur

However, the handling is not necessarily positive. The grip in curves did increase, as did the deceleration power. With the turning in however, there the TT did itself suddenly more heavily than before.

Okay, tire mixtures are nowadays a science for itself. And in view of their good wetness characteristics the installed Corsa Pirellis belong probably rather to the more civilian extremists, whereby the discrepancy between target and having again somewhat relativizes itself. However, the handling does not necessarily turn out to be positive. The grip in curves increased as well as the deceleration performance. With the turning in however, there the TT did itself suddenly more heavily than before. On the country road still with noticeably more course toward curve vertex, it pushes at the limit again and again from the guidance, so that one must rein it (and itself) properly. The question: Where does it come from, this light, but latent unwillingness?

The surprising answer is given by the TT a few weeks later, when we shipped him to Hockenheim again for a few doctor games at the set-up. Three chassis configurations were durchexerziert: completely hard, completely soft as well as a middle course. And see there: The hardness, which is generally administered as a kind of broadband antibiotic against driving dynamic complaints, proves in the TT RS as counter productive. Open dampers, on the other hand, lead ad hoc to improvements in handling and lap time. Nanu?!

The reason for the apparent paradox lies in the nature of the TT RS, in its axle load distribution and in the drive layout, which condemn it to a certain extent to an overstable curve situation. A goal of transverse dynamic optimization must be it thus to wake up the rear axle. This requires load changes, and to bring them into play requires movement in the bodywork, which, however, can no longer occur in the hard steps.

Our track tip is therefore: Treat yourself to the effective brake kit and, if necessary, the semi-slicks, but leave it to the more compliant production chassis. It keeps your hips moving and at the same time relaxes the everyday relationship, which must last longer in real life than in a test environment.

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