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Gone But Not Forgotten
A lot went down in 2013. It was something of a banner year for the automotive business. Products continued to get better, sales steadily improved and alternative propulsion, whether in the form of electricity or diesel gained significant traction.
This week AutoGuide‘s most watched videos took a good look at whether or not the 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid lives up to the hype.
In addition, luxury sports car enthusiasts had their eyes glued to our Porsche Cayman S vs. Audi TT-RS comparison. Lastly, there’s the announcement of the AutoGuide car of the year, the 2014 Mazda3.
Watch the videos below and subscribe to the AutoGuide YouTube channel here.
Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
Automakers often say they go racing in order to improve their production models, and when you have decades of success on the track, chances are your vehicle lineup is all the better for it.
Offered with a 6-speed manual mated to a 2.5-liter TFSI inline four that also makes 343 lb-ft of torque, the TT RS plus takes Audi’s small sports car to the next level. Customers may also choose to power the wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic.
Paired with the automatic, the car runs from 0-100 kmh (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds as a coupe or 4.2 and a convertible, though stick-shift enthusiasts will lose 0.2 seconds in that race.
Drivers choosing to continue accelerating will find a top speed of 174 mph.
Even with Quattro all-wheel drive, the car weighs in at an impressively light 3,196 lbs with the manual transmission as a coupe. The convertible packs on a few more pounds to tip the scales at just under 3,334 lbs.
Finally, drivers can look forward to black and red 19-inch wheels and a large rear spoiler to complete the extra-sporty look.
It’s not clear if the especially-spicy little Audi will make it across the ocean to U.S. buyers, but even if it does it won’t be soon.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi TT RS Plus
GALLERY: 2013 Audi TT RS Plus
Audi has just released information regarding the TT RS Plus, a more powerful, faster and more dynamic TT RS. The TT RS plus will be available in both Coupe and Roadster versions featuring a 2.5L TFSI engine with 360-hp and 343 lb-ft of torque.
The German automaker didn’t specify when the vehicle will be released other than “early 2012″, but we reckon that customers can place their orders now if they really want one. The TT RS Plus is available with either a manual six-speed transmission or a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. The Coupe version of the TT RS plus hits 62-mph in just 4.1 seconds while the Roadster does it in 4.2 seconds – both with an automatic transmission. Manual drivers will experience the acceleration to 62-mph 0.2 seconds slower.
Top speed is set at 174-mph and Audi is reporting around 27-mpg for the TT RS Plus. What is probably most impressive about the TT RS Plus is its 3,196-lb weight in a model with a manual transmission with quattro all-wheel drive. It achieves an impressive 1-hp to 8.82-lbs power-to-weight ratio thanks to its lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) chassis. The Roadster has a 1-hp to 9.26-lb power-to-weight ratio.
The TT RS Plus will come stock with 19-inch wheels and a large, fixed rear wing to increase downforce on the back of the car.
The TT RS Plus Coupé with manual transmission costs €60,650 (roughly converted to $80,600) in Germany or €62,800 ($83,450) with the seven-speed S tronic. The TT RS Plus Roadster has a list price of €63,500 ($84,385) or €65,650 ($87,240) respectively.
Announced for Europe Audi has not said if the TT RS Plus will be available in North America.
GALLERY: Audi TT RS Plus
10: Audi TT RS
Classic car insurance company Hagerty has just released its annual list of vehicles that it expects will become the collector cars of the future. The list of “affordable” collector cars is capped at $100,000 and comes on the heels of the annual Scottsdale collector car auction week.
“After more than twenty years of witnessing car-collecting trends, we have the unique ability to look at new cars through the eyes of a collector,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance. “This year’s Hot List includes cars that are sure to develop a cult-like following because their characteristics resonate with driving enthusiasts.”
Starting off the list, and a favorite of ours is the Audi TT RS which retails for $56,850 and is a favorite amongst automotive enthusiasts as an affordable, fun ride without having to indulge into Porsche costs. The TT RS has plenty of global appeal which means it’ll have plenty of global demand down the road. And besides, Audi consistently finds itself at the Le Mans podium; you just can’t argue with success.
Just as the end of racing season draws near, Audi announces the TT RS Race Car is available for private sale. Although it shares its name with the production car, the new race car is nothing like it.
Rather than fitting it with the Quattro system that put Audi on the map, the TT RS Race Car is front wheel drive. Properly German, Audi is completely unfazed by the possibility of torque steer and extracted 380 horsepower from the production 2.5 liter five cylinder turbo. The engine is mated to a sequential six-speed racing transmission with paddle shift.
Other measures to tame this front wheel drive TT include multiple aerodynamic additions designed for extreme downforce and efficiency. An adjustable racing suspension will provide teams a wide range of tuning as well.
If the idea of a front wheel drive race car still feels uncomfortable, fear not. Audi has already put the TT RS Race Car against extensive shakedown prior to its launch. Intended to participate in the German VLN Endurance Championship, Audi’s factory team entered the car into the Nürburgring 24-hour race this past June and earned itself a class victory. It’s final testing was just the end of August, at a six hour racing event again held at Nürburgring. This time, the Audi TT RS Race Car earned the first ever pole grid position of any fwd vehicle and clinched the overall race win. You can’t argue against results.
The Audi TT RS Race Car is available at 180,000 Euros, or approximately $250,000.
GALLERY: 2012 Audi TT RS Race Car
Audi is exploring the possibility of bringing more RS models to the American market, after years of on-and-off importation of select vehicles like the RS4 and RS6.
Both the TT-RS and RS5 are slated to be introduced for the 2012 model year, and the vehicles will be priced well above even the most expensive TT and A5 models. Like BMW’s M cars, the the RS models are sold in low volumes but are relatively high margin vehicles for Audi. The average transaction price for Audi vehicles has risen steadily since January of 2010, while rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW have seen theirs fall (though their transaction prices are still higher overall)
Peter Scwarzenbauer, Audi’s U.S. sales head, suggested that future RS products could make their way to America, but declined to specify what was in the pipeline.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The official launch of the eagerly anticipated Audi TT RS took place with the first vehicle was delivered to veteran race car driver Don Istook.
Last year, Istook was one of more than 11,500 fans that signed a Facebook petition to introduce the TT RS to the U.S. Istook was also one of the first drivers to race an Audi Quattro in the U.S in 1985, as well as driving the S4 in the Motorola Cup race series of yesteryear.
“Having raced at almost every major track in the U.S. and Canada, I’ve pushed the limits in many cars in my 34 years as a race car driver,” Istook said. “I like my street car to give me some of that thrill. With my new Audi TT RS, I not only get that thrill, but I also get that ‘race car’ sound.”
The 2012 TT RS represents the pinnacle of TT performance. The RS is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder TFSI engine that cranks out 360-hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. The TT RS has been priced at $56,850.
First came the Audi TT, followed by the TTS a few years later. Now Audi fans in North America will finally be able to park the TT RS in their garage, at least those who have $56,850 (not including destination charges and other fees and taxes) to spend on a new car.
This hottest version of the TT comes equipped with a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder motor that features TFSI direct injection technology and a turbocharger/intercooler setup. The result is a powerplant that produces 360-hp and 343 lb/ft of torque.
Power is fed to all wheels via the famous Quattro system, and the only gearbox being offered is the six-speed manual, so this will be a true drivers car.
The TT RS comes well equipped, wearing 19-inch alloy wheels and a big fixed rear spoiler. Inside you get 10-way power sport seats, BOSE sound system and an Audi navigation system that provides real-time traffic updates.
It has been a few years since Audi has offered an RS-model to the North American buyer, with the last one being the 2007 RS4. The TT-RS should be on sale sometime this summer.
The eagerly anticipated Audi TT RS is on its way to North America and U.S pricing has finally been announced. When it hits dealers later this year it will be priced from $56,850.
This may seem like an extraordinary amount compared to the base model selling for $38,300 but the RS promises enough performance to support the premium. The TT RS will crank out 360-hp and 343 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. The Audi will be offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission coupled to the quattro all-wheel drive system. The TT RS can go from 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds, sporting bigger air intakes, RS oval exhaust pipes and unique 19-inch rims. The Audi will hit dealer lots during the third quarter and will be available as either a coupe or convertible.
Audi is still debating on whether or not to give us the Q3 crossover, which they secretly know would sell in droves to the purse-dog-carrying set. And to tantalize us even more, they’ve gone ahead and built some with the 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder that propels the TT-RS and RS3.
Like Germany’s answer to the GMC Typhoon, the Q3 comes with all-wheel drive and turbocharged motivation, in this case producing 300 horsepower instead of the 340 in the RS models. The Q3 also gets stealth mode: the only clue to the über-engine are small 2.5 TFSI badges and a new wheel and tire package.
The Q3 won’t go on sale in Europe for another year, and won’t go on sale in America until the end of time. But given Audi’s sales successes in America, one year will be ample time for its bosses to reconsider granting us the quick cute-ute.
[Source: Car and Driver]
As if news of the impending launch of the Audi TT-RS wasn’t enough, North American consumers will be treated to an extra 20 horsepower, according to Car and Driver magazine.
C/D spoke to Audi representatives at the Chicago Auto Show, where they were informed that Audi is pushing for a total output of 360 horsepower in North America, rather than Europe’s 340 horsepower. We won’t get the awesome Recaro sport seats available in Europe, and the only transmission choice is a 6-speed manual. But we’re hardly complaining.
A sports exhaust and a rear-wing delete option will also be available, and Audi claims that the car will start in the low $60,000 range.
[Source: Car and Driver]
On sale in Europe for over a year, the TT-RS will get a power bump from 340-hp to around 360-hp for the U.S. market from the 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine. The increased output is due to some ECU retuning and will also be carried over to Euro-spec models.
So far, only a six-speed manual will be available and the incredible Recaro seats, as expected, will not be offered here.
Sales of the car are set to begin this summer with Audi claiming a starting price in the low $60,000 range. But with just 1,000 units being offered, you may have to already be in line to get one.
GALLERY: Audi TT-RS
[Source: Car & Driver]
Audi has been busy courting Canadian media outlets with some of their hottest product. Sympatico Autos, a popular portal in the Great White North, was given exclusive drives of the A1 Quattro, RS3 and (earlier in the year) TT-RS.
Given the penchant for smaller (and premium) cars north of the 49th parallel, we understand the movie, and Audi seems to be putting its money where its mouth is by unveiling the 340 horsepower TT-RS at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. The CIAS usually falls on the same dates as the Chicago show, and we know that there will be simultaneous unveiling of the 2012 Acura TL at both shows. On the other hand, we have no word on when the TT-RS will make its official debut in the United States, so this could potentially be an interesting story. Audi Canada would only confirm that this was the Canadian unveiling of the car, but we’re pretty sure that an American launch is imminent.
AutoGuide will have live photos of the Audi TT-RS launch in Toronto on February 17th, so stay tuned for the first images of Audi’s newest sports car.
Just last week we spied a DTM-inspired Audi TT RS Race Car, and now it’s hit the track and looking menacing as ever. Now that we see the TT RS Race Version in its natural environment, we think it’s safe to toss around the idea that Audi Motorsport might be bringing a TT back to DTM.
Raeder Motorsport did some thorough testing at the Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring in the SP 4T class on the TT RS. It will continue racing on October 30th at the same event.
The TT RS Race Version was driven by Marc Hennerici of Germany, five-time VLN winner, and Christopher Miles. It sports a modified 2.5L turbocharged five-cylinder engine, enhanced with components from the Audi R8 LMS.
We’re loving the direction that Audi is going with their newly revamped TT RS and we look forward to seeing more race entries from them in the near future.
GALLERY: Audi TT RS Race Version
Mmmm, a DTM-inspired Audi TT RS! What more could we ask for?
The new Audi TT RS is an impressive machine in street trim, so it’s no surprise that it’s becoming a platform of choice for various racers around the world.
Set to debut in the VLN Endurance Series over in Europe this TT-RS Endurance racer gets a seriously DTM-style widebody that’s aggressive from bumper to bumper. Audi has teamed up with Raeder Motorsports for badass racing machine, which will first take to the track during the last two rounds of the Endurance Championship held at none other than Nürburgring.
We’ll keep our eyes out for videos of this mean TT RS taking to the track.
[Source: Audi Sport Facebook Page]
GALLERY: VLN Endurance Series Audi TT RS
Is the Audi TT-RS’s 360-hp and 174 mph top speed not enough for you? German powerhouse tuner MTM decided it clearly wasn’t enough for them and their customers. The result is a 472-hp turbocharged 5-cylinder bullet that’s already hit 194 mph out at Italy’s Nardo test track.
And just to show their tuning prowess and the potency of any turbo setup, MTM has fine-tuned the inline-five turbocharged power plant with an ECU retune, MTM’s turbocharger and a new exhaust system to hit the 472-hp number. The engine mods chime in at close to $20,200. If you want to back up the go with some show, MTM also offers new brakes, suspension, wheels and tires for around $13,900.
The wheels are a bimoto 20-inch setup wrapped with Dunlop Sport Maxx tires (at least it is on their demo car that hit 194 mph), while the brakes are a massive 15-inch setup with 8-piston calipers in the front.
GALLERY: MTM Audi TT RS
Check out the official press release after the break.
Launched exclusively with a manual transmission only, the Audi TT-RS was immediately branded as a true enthusiasts car. Audi has, however, conceded to the masses, with the announcement that an automatic transmission will also be made available. But this is no slushbox, with seven forward gears and Audi’s amazing dual-clutch technology.
In fact, the TT-RS equipped with the 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox is faster and gets improved fuel economy, making the most of the 340-hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Thanks to the added gear and ultra-fast shifting the dual-clutch model can hit 62-mph in 4.3 seconds – a three-tenths of a second faster than with the stick shift.
Audi’s fuel economy numbers are also up, increasing from 25.57-mpg to 27.67 mpg (EU test cycle) for the coupe.
There’s no confirmation yet that the new 7-speed automatic will be offered in the U.S., but we think this announcement following so closely on news of the TT-RS being green-lighted for the U.S. market is no coincidence.
Official release after the jump:
Audi’s craziest TT, the TT-RS will officially make it to the United States after an online campaign by Audi convinced the automaker to bring the 360-horsepower sports coupe to America.
Audi executives were initially skeptical of the sales potential of the TT-RS, but planned a limited run of just 250 cars for the Canadian market, where a strong economy and higher vehicle prices would allow Audi to turn a profit on the car. A subsequent petition by Audi showed 11,500 handraisers, as well as a series of positive reviews from American media led the company to go ahead with sales in both markets.
So far, we only know that the only TT-RS available will be the coupe variant, with specifications and pricing still under consideration. We look forward to the arrival of the TT-RS, and the chance to sample a 5-cylinder turbocharged Audi yet again. On the other hand, they will be pricey, and the number of potential buyers is likely a fraction of the 11,500 petition signers.
Even though we don’t understand a single word of this video, we didn’t have to in order to enjoy every minute of it. GRiP Magazine out in Germany made some solid arrangements to bring on an AC Schnitzer 123d that was built as a police car (apparently in collaboration with the police to promote responsible driving and building safe cars) to play chase to bank robbers in a variety of other modified rides.
The robbers arsenal of cars included MTM’s Audi TT-RS, Techart’s Magnum, and a Challenger SRT-8 that sounds like it was supercharged. Overall the video is very well produced as the robbers rob the bank and take off with the AC Schnitzer BMW in hot pursuit. So we guess in a way this video helped show us what’s the best getaway car if you plan on robbing a bank.
We would’ve been more interested to see if they had a BMW 135 rather than a 123 and how that would stack up against the competition. But for now, we’re a huge fan of MTM’s Audi TT-RS and if we had to choose, we’d probably hop into that without thinking twice. Mostly because it looks good, and you have to look good if you’re going to be committing a crime. Right?
Check out the video after the break.
ABT Sportsline has been tinkering around with Audi‘s newest TT-RS for a while now, debuting a power package back in September 2009 that helped put down 420-hp from the roadster. An 80-hp increase from the factory 340-hp, most would think that would be enough to keep everyone happy. But ABT Sportsline wouldn’t be ABT Sportsline if they didn’t find a way to break the 500-hp mark.
The Power S Package is now available to the public and includes an ECU retune, upgraded intercooler and upgraded ABT turbocharger. Details are a little scarce on what size turbo ABT is using, but they did disclose that 501-hp is the mark that they’ve achieved with the package. No pricing has been revealed either, but we’re guessing if you want it bad enough, you’ll get it anyways.
GALLERY: ABT Sportsline Audi TT-RS
When Audi first debuted the TT RS at the Geneva Auto Show, we lamented the fact that it wasn’t destined for our shores. That however may change, and Audi is letting consumers decide with an online petition.
Posted on the automaker’s Facebook page, Audi wants you to tell them if we should get the TT RS. If you love cars, then we strongly suggest you hit the link. The RS model is no standard TT with a turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder that makes 340-hp and can scoot the RS to 60-mph in 4.6 seconds.