2012 Audi TT Performance

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Performance
The Audi TT now comes in two different body styles, and in three performance levels--TT, TTS, and TT RS--each progressively more exclusive. But each of them remains a strong choice for enthusiasts who want a stylish coupe or convertible that has all-weather ability as well as strong performance.

Between the TT and TTS, the difference boils down mostly to a difference in horsepower. The TT coupe and convertible are fitted with a 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, while the TTS comes with a higher-boosted, 265-hp version. Both are paired exclusively with Audi's fantastic six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Essentially, the dual-clutch (DSG) box manages blink-quick shifts (with no clutch pedal) by lining up two manual boxes side by side and managing all the mechanicals with electronics, servos, and solenoids. What's more, the TT is only offered with all-wheel drive, which transmits engine torque to the wheels with a whizzy, delightful surge that continues as the gearbox claps to the next gear. Even base TT Coupes can get to 60 mph in just 5.3-second 0-60 mph time; the Roadster adds 0.3 seconds to the tally, due to its extra weight, while the TTS can make it in closer to five seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph.

The 2012 Audi TT models are all strong performers, but if the TT is a brisk tea, the TTS is espresso and the TT RS is a wild energy drink.

At the top of the range is the considerably more exclusive TT RS, which instead gets a high-boost 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine good for 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox and a new Haldex version of quattro all-wheel drive. Factor in an exhaust bypass that opens in part when you click the Sport mode, and the RS turns raspy and rabid in sound; it also has a sharper driving character than the other TT models.

The magnetic ride suspension is standard equipment in the TTS, and in its Sport setting. With it, the ride height drops by 0.39 inches, and while the ride can feel a bit more jittery on some surfaces, in general it's a step up in both sharpness, comfort, and refinement. The TTS also folds in larger vented disc brakes and a tuned exhaust system. From behind the wheel, the TTS feels just a touch quicker than the TT, but its sound—a brassier tenor growl—might provide more inspiration.

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