Audi TT RS Coupe to Hit the U.S. Next Year

2010 Audi TT RS

They aren’t talking price yet, but Audi of America put out the word that the TT RS, the marque’s high-performance sports coupe, will be in U.S. dealerships by the third quarter of 2011.

By all reports, this is a car to be reckoned with: Faster and cheaper than the Porsche Cayman S (says Autoblog), the TT RS runs off a five-cylinder 2.5-liter turbo that cranks out 360 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. With quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed transmission, you will find yourself at 62 mph in 4.6 seconds. The car has a lightweight space-frame aluminum body, low drag coefficient, and gorgeous looks.

The company was persuaded to bring the car to the U.S. through the enthusiasm of 11,500 fans who wrote on Audi’s Facebook page to petition for it. At least that’s what they’re telling us. We think there are other reasons.

2011 Audi TT RS interiorI mean, if you were Audi, would you base a decision like this on 11,500 anybodys who can write anything in Facebook? Did they have to put down deposits? They just “liked it.” VW-Audi makes business decisions smartly, not impulsively.

The TT RS will sell in America, because it has a unique slot against the competition. The key factor will be price. The engine, as we noted, is very strong, was developed “exclusively” for the car, and won International Engine of the Year honors in Europe this summer. It clearly outdoes the present TTS turbo four-cylinder’s 265 hp.

2011 Audi TT RS rearThe European version has gotten excellent reviews, and the U.S. car will likely do the same. Like all good German performance cars, this one won’t come cheap. One site is talking $80-90,000. (The TTS cabriolet costs around $55,000.) A price this high will simply not beat the competition.

Which is, roughly, the Boxster and Cayman, the Benz SLK55 AMG, and maybe the BMW Z4 sDrive35i—all good cars, all rather different from the TT RS. It could well be that Audi is aiming to develop a line of RS performance cars along the lines of what AMG did for Mercedes.

As we said earlier, the price will be key, and I think the car can’t go beyond the mid-$60,000 range.

Are cars of this caliber priced too high, or is the value there? Give us your opinion.

—jgoods

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3 Comments

  1. I think this car will offer a compelling alternative to the Benz and BMW as noted from the performance/value point of view. But until they have some kind of scaled down R8 with a mid or rear engine config with cooler, more aggressive lines, the Cayman S should not loose market share. The drivability and the lines of the Cayman S and Boxter Spyder I think better retain their family lineage. In any case, this could very well eat the lunch of the Benz and BMW lower end. Great article.

  2. Audi is getting more popular because a lot of young celebrities and actors in Hollywood are driving them now than in the past. Trust me, once young actors etc drive a certain car, a lot of people will want to buy that vehicle, as crazy as it may sound to you. Taylor Lautner drives an Audi R8, Vanessa Hudgens is frequently photographed by papparazi in her Audi. All of these factors are making “Audi” seem “cooler” and “more hip” to younger generations. I never thought much about Audi until I saw pics of Taylor Lautner stepping out of his R8.

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