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Confirmed: Audi's Hot TT RS Added to North American Lineup for 2012

The wait has been agonizingly slow for some, but the end result may well be worth it. Audi has just confirmed that its high-performance TT RS (currently only sold abroad) will be arriving on U.S. shores in the third quarter of 2011.

The best part of the news is that the TT RS will arrive with its 360-horsepower, 332-pound-foot, 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Audi reckons that's power enough to send the TT RS from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds. Defining the TT RS as more of a purist's performance car, the only transmission available will be a conventional six-speed manual - no flappy paddles here. Audi's Quatto all-wheel-drive system helps get the I-5's prodigious power to the ground efficiently. And if all that isn't enough, German tuner ABT may have the answer for you.

Introduced at the Geneva Motor Show last year, other TT RS exclusives include a fixed rear wing, a revised front fascia with a honeycomb grille, larger exhaust pipes, and ground-hugging side skirts. We were previously told by Audi that 19-inch wheels will likely be standard issue, with optional 20-inchers. No question, the TT RS has a whole different demeanor than the standard car.

What turned the tides for the TT RS's American prospects? According to Audi, over 11,500 of the automaker's Facebook fans indicated via survey that they'd like to see the TT RS on U.S. soil, the response coming in just under a month of the survey being launched. That was apparently good enough for Audi, the execs giving the car the green light shortly thereafter. Who says the new social media isn't influential?

"With performance and agility rooted in Audi motorsports success, the TT RS is truly an emotional sports car," Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi's American operations said in a statement. "That emotion became abundantly clear as we explored interest across the country."

Unfortunately, the TT RS's arrival may disappoint one niche of enthusiast - the drop-top lovers. According to Audi, the convertible variant will not be in the cards for American buyers. Can't win 'em all, we suppose.

-Rory Jurnecka

Source: Audi