BY THAMI MASEMOLA

Audi has updated the TT range, and along with it, the fire-breathing TT RS. In March the local Audi outfit came out guns blazing, promising to sell over 600 units during the rest of 2021. That would be a steep mountain to climb I reckoned, because they have never sold that many Audi Sport (RS and R) cars in this country before. Yet Audi insisted that they have everything in place for this feat, including new dealerships and a cracking marketing campaign. And yes, new product.

I had the chance to drive one of these recently, in the form of the TT RS Roadster, and I can confidently report that all is well in Ingolstadt. But before getting ahead of myself, let me inform you of what changes have been made in this updated car. By the way, there are two versions being sold here; hard top Coupe and the soft, black top Roadster.

Changes? They include a whole new front end, now sharper, sportier and with added aggression. The single frame RS honeycomb front grille remains prominent of course, flanked by the LED headlights (Matrix if you like) and lower air intakes. Some passers-by commented that the number plate ruins everything. As a law-abiding citizen I leave that up to you to decide. Meanwhile, the side profile is characterised by the gloss black blade at the bottom and gloss black side mirrors with indicators. Wheels are also gloss black and standard at 20-inches. So are the red brake calipers. The fuel tank cap is an alloy.

The rear end is mainly about three items. Firstly, the LED lights and sequential indicators. Then the rear diffuser between the two oval exhaust tailpipes, which are so typical of the Audi RS range. Lastly, the fixed wing. Boy is it visible. It cannot be missed, nor can it be mistaken for anything other than a wing. When checking for blind spots it is the first thing you spot out of the corner of your eye on either side. The cars stands out in whichever colour, including our Nardo Gray.

Since this is not your normal TT, we have talk about the powertrain. Up front is the multi award-winning 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder, turbocharged TFSI engine that produces 294kW of power and 480Nm of torque between an exceptionally wide band of 1 950rpm and 5 850rpm. In old speak we would say it has 400 horsepower. Coupled with the motor is a 7-speed S tronic transmission that gives all that to the four wheels through the patented quattro all-wheel-drive system.

As a result the TT RS Roadster will sprint from 0 – 100km/h in a stunning 3.8 seconds to reach top speed of 250km/h (a 280km/h option is available on order). Each gear change produces a snap, a crackle or a pop, as well as neck jerk. When the top is down – quickly done electronically by pushing or pulling a button – the sounds are even more enthralling. Gear changes are nimble through the alloy shift paddles behind multifunction steering wheel, and tyre grip is beautiful whether on a straight line or through corners and curves.

In a country where cars are already considered generally expensive, the Audi TT RS Roadster serves only to enhance this perception. And yes it does feel its age now as far as the interior is concerned, thanks to newer, more advanced Audis. However, digging past the superfluous, what it offers in driving soul satisfaction, in acceleration prowess, in sex appeal, is only found in cars at least a million more expensive. As such, it can be considered an astounding performance bargain.

QUICK STATS

AUDI TT RS ROADSTER

ENGINE: 2.5-litre, turbocharged petrol

POWER: 294kW at 5 850rpm

TORQUE: 480Nm at 2 250rpm

GEARBOX: 7-speed double clutch automatic

DRIVE: AWD

0 – 100KM/H: 3.8 seconds

TOP SPEED: 250km/h

AVERAGE FUEL CONSUMPTION: 12.3 litres per 100km

FUEL TANK SIZE: 55 litres

RANGE: 450km

CO2 e: 199 g/km

PRICE STANDARD: R1 113 500

NATURAL RIVALS: BMW Z4 M40i, Jaguar F-Type 75, Porsche 718 Boxster GTS

PRICE RIVALS: Audi A6 40 TDI, BMW X3 xDrive20d, Ford Mustang GT, Kia Carnival SXL, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

MAINTENANCE PLAN: 5-year/100 000km, roadside assistance

BADDIE INDEX: 5/5

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