2009 Audi TT RS

For the time being, the new, 265-hp Audi TTS is the hottest TT ever built, but perhaps you think it's not quite hot enough. If so, you'll be happy to hear that the 2009 Audi TT RS - an even more powerful version of Audi's shapely TT - has been introduced at the 2009 Geneva motor show.

In creating the TT RS, the folks in Ingolstadt crafted a number of cosmetic and mechanical changes, but we'll start with what blesses the TT RS with more power. Eschewing the turbocharged I-4 of the TTS, Audi's equipped the TT RS with an all-new turbocharged, direct-injection I-5. Rated at 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, it offers approximately 75 hp and 74 lb-ft more than the TTS.

It does, however, share some of the TT RS' drivetrain. A six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is standard equipment, coupled to Audi's signature Quattro all-wheel-drive system. We've no doubt the rapid-fire gear changes and superior traction help whisk the TT RS from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds, but the car's superior power-to-weight ratio (4.3 kg per hp) doesn't hurt, either.

Helping channel that power are a host of chassis improvements. The TT RS rides approximately 10 mm lower than a stock TT, and uses a bespoke set of springs and dampers. Audi's adaptive ride system is an option, although large 18-inch wheels and an upgraded brake system are standard fare.

Visually, the TT RS builds off the already attractive TTS, but adds a few new touches. The front fascia sports an aggressive chin spoiler, along with larger air intakes and a new, gaping grille. The rear fascia sports a blacked-out diffuser, highlighted by ovoid exhaust tips - a cue cribbed from the new, V-10 version of Audi's R8 supercar, the R8 5.2 FSI. There's also no missing the giant fixed spoiler, which replaces the smaller pop-up unit on the TT and TTS.

Changes inside the TT RS are less obvious. Most of the cabin is standard TT or TTS fare, although the new car sports TT RS logos on the steering wheel, door inserts, and seatbacks.

While the TT RS may be an attractive package, don't run to your local dealer to place a deposit: we've been told the TT RS isn't destined for North American showrooms. But we suspect that, if Audi of America finds enough buyers for the TTS, it may decide the TT RS can find an audience here, too.

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