It’s not too often that an automaker is tasked with making changes to arguably an already perfect offering, but the engineers at Audi were assigned with the unenviable challenge of updating what is arguably one of their best performance offerings for the 2020 model year, the TT-RS, and thankfully, they were able to make just enough changes to help it stay fresh, but without tainting the formula that has helped make the TT-RS a compelling buy among well heeled enthusiasts.
At first glance, the changes might be hard to spot, with the 2020 TT-RS retaining a lot of the purposeful yet aggressive demeanor that defined its visit to our Metro Detroit office late last year. However, underneath the surface, there are a number of minor changes that aim a degree of freshness to the design. Falling in line with the standard TT, the TT-RS moves the outward most front slats right next to the single frame grille. Meanwhile, the side sill inlay now features a glossy appearance, and the lower intakes move ahead of the front wheels to grow a bit wider which in turn should help channel even more air to this key area. Kyalami Green (an interesting name for a hue) is an RS exclusive, and is joined on the color palette by Turbo Blue, as well as Pulse Orange Lastly, the rear wing ditches its continuous appearance, and instead embraces all new end plates that are mounted on a horizontal plane. This helps give it a more race ready appearance, while also addressing some complaints by buyers about it not looking exclusive or aggressive enough for their tastes. Looking at the changes as a whole, it appears that Audi has constructed a potent winning hand, well played Audi, well played.
The interior has also seen its fair share of updates. Yes, the rear seats still cannot hold the majority of the human race in reasonable comfort, but a number of minor changes do make themselves apparent. A prominent red line is present at the 12’o clock position on the steering wheel, and a new rhombus style pattern appears when the RS sport seats are dressed in Alcantara. Opt for the optional Nappa leather thrones, and you are rewarded with a honeycomb style pattern that adorns the seat backs. The virtual cockpit technology remains unchanged for the most part, and includes a special RS information page that covers items such as tire pressure, g-forces, and how much torque is available at any given moment. An all new RS design package puts red or blue hued accents on the air vents, seat belts, and even the floor mats.
Performance hardware is largely unchanged, and in this instance we are very happy that Audi engineers did not try to reinvent the wheel so to speak when it came to this particular aspect. Why are we thrilled to see the oily bits under the hood left unchanged? That’s because the delightful firecracker known as the 2.5 liter turbocharged inline five cylinder returns for more spirited romps down your favorite back road. For those not familiar with its charms, the five cylinder makes a hearty 394 horsepower and an equally obnoxious 354 lb-ft of torque. This allows the TT-RS to make the sprint to 60 mph in a scant 3.6 seconds, and this is achieved thanks in part to the carryover seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Expect the suspension to also be unchanged, which is fine with us when one considers just how laser focused the current model is when tasked with going down twistier sections of tarmac.
After the 2020 TT-RS makes its debut at the New York Auto Show, Audi will open ordering for European customers in February of 2020, with the U.S. market not being too far behind. While we are not big fans of such a delay, it does give potential buyers time to look forward to the exceptional driving experience that they will enjoy, and unlike Porsche Cayman owners that need the aide of a lift to show off their engine to curious observers, TT-RS owners can showoff the engine in all of its glory (especially when equipped with the optional carbon fiber engine cover.)
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.