2023 Audi Tt Rs Iconic Edition 259 1669644591

2023 Audi TT RS Iconic Edition Is a Euro-Market Send-off

The Audi TT, a car that represents a golden era at Audi, is saying a long-awaited farewell. The TT RS left the stage in the US market at the end of the 2022 model year with the Heritage Edition, and now in Europe the TT RS Iconic Edition is a similar tribute to the history of the iconic coupe. And that’s why it’s worth looking at the previous generations before we get to the details of this latest and arguably most capable iteration of the TT to date.

It was 1995 when the TT concept (above) wowed the unsuspecting audience at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Extremely purist and geometric, it was a modern interpretation of a Bauhaus aesthetic. The production model hit the market only three years later (not until the 2000 model year in the US), remarkably true to the show car and still exuding concept car vibes. The first, stylistically purest TT was offered as a coupé and a cabriolet. A 225-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter paired with all-wheel drive arrived as the top-of-the-line offering in its second U.S. model year, later surpassed by a 3.2-liter close-angle V-6, available with a manual or a dual-clutch -gearbox that has just been introduced in the Golf R32.

The second-generation TT coupes and cabriolets that arrived in the country for 2007 were a little less minimalistic in design. However, with this model, Audi brought back a five-cylinder engine, a move that fired up brand lovers. Unlike Audi’s original five-banger that debuted in 1976, this one is derived from the EA113 four. It was a close relative of the US-market inline-five that powered the Golf and other models, but it was turbocharged and delivered twice the output.

The current, third generation TT has returned to its roots with razor-sharp lines and a more sporty look. Ferdinand Piëch himself sent the designers back to the drawing board when, setting his eyes on an evolutionary proposal, he told them: “This is not how to treat an icon.” The new TT re-entered the market in 2014 as a coupe and a cabriolet; Crossover and four-door Sportback versions originally envisioned were scrapped, and the TT has continued to this day without any major changes.

For the Iconic Edition, of which only 100 will be built, Audi Sport decided not to delve too deeply into the design heritage of the TT; it would have involved a different approach to wheel design and decor both exterior and interior. While the original TT was defined by its use of aluminum trim, this one reflects today’s popular notions of sportiness with black wheels and carbon fiber applications.

2023 Audi tt rs iconic edition

Audi

The menacing appeal of the TT RS Iconic Edition is undeniable. It sits low to the ground, with an aggressive stance, its 20-inch alloys shod with 255/30 rubber. All are finished in Nardo Grey, and the front is accented by canards, blades and a splitter; the rear is equipped with a massive wing, and the optional OLED taillights provide a futuristic touch. This model proves that the third-gen TT’s design has aged very well.

You step into a cockpit that hasn’t changed much over time and is still very smart and driver-oriented. The multimedia interface looks a little dated just because Audi has moved to other input strategies in its recent models, but this one works well. And the integration of the climate controls into the central air vents still looks like genius. This special edition version features nappa leather and Alcantara in a two-tone black and gray with yellow contrast stitching in a honeycomb pattern.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five—it long ago became an all-aluminum engine even though it started life with an iron block—fires with a bellows. The European TT RS doesn’t sound quite as good as the American one because it’s saddled with a mandatory particulate filter, but the roar is still unmistakable inside and outside the car. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic works like a charm, providing near-seamless or deliberately pronounced shifts depending on drive mode and throttle input. The manual transmission has long since disappeared from the TT RS—it was only available in the previous model generation—which we consider a regrettable omission.

With the same 394 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque as in the standard TT RS, the aggressive-sounding inline-five is incredibly pleasing to the ambitious driver. Even though it only has a single turbocharger, the boost arrives quickly enough – and it’s relentless. We expect 60 mph to be within reach in just over three seconds from rest, and the top speed governor is set at 174 mph. We didn’t come close to that figure this time, but you can reach triple-digit speeds with incredible ease and a sense of security that presents itself as a constant threat to your driver’s license.

2023 Audi tt rs iconic edition

Audi

With its low center of gravity, performance tires, a claimed curb weight of just 3252 pounds, and all-wheel drive, the TT RS successfully explores the outer limits of the VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform. We drove it on fast country roads, not on a race track, and were still charmed by its overall precision and nicely weighted steering. The adaptive dampers offer a great spread between a firm, harsh character suitable for fast driving on smooth asphalt and a more passenger-friendly, adaptive setting for less aggressive driving. The rear wing effectively compensates for the aerodynamic challenges of the TT’s sloping tail, something that got the first-gen TT into trouble before Audi added a mandatory rear spoiler.

The current TT RS has been in production for six years now, and we’re happy to report that it still holds up quite well against rivals like the BMW M240i and the Toyota Supra, it doesn’t feel hopelessly outclassed by a Porsche 718 Cayman, and it could probably kick cheaper but newer entries like the Nissan Z to the curb. But since the TT RS isn’t long for this world, Audi spared itself the expense of upgrading it with the latest, most sophisticated iterations of the engine and chassis control systems available in the RS3.

Audi designed the TT RS Iconic Edition to become a collector’s item, which is why it is not only equipped with a plethora of custom options, but also with a plate that not only says that it is one of 100 units, but also exactly which one. Another important indicator is its price: it comes to a whopping 113,050 euros, or about $120,000, about 41,000 euros above a standard TT RS in Germany. No one will come to the US and that’s a shame.

Specifications

Specifications

2023 Audi TT RS Iconic Edition
Vehicle Type: Front Engine, All Wheel Drive, 2+2 Passenger, 2 Door Coupe

PRICE
Basis: $120,000 (Germany)

ENGINE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve inline-5, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 151 inches32480 cm3
Power: 394 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 354 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual clutch automatic

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 98.6 inches
Length: 165.0 inches
Width: 72.1 inches
Height: 52.9 inches
Passenger volume: 74 feet3
Cargo volume: 12 feet3
Combat weight (C/D east): 3250 lbs.

PERFORMANCE (C/D IS)
60 mph: 3.3 sec
100 mph: 8.5 sec
1/4-mile: 11.8 sec
Top speed: 174 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D IS)
Combined/City/Highway: 23/20/29 mpg

C/D TEST EXPLAINED

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