The Audi TT RS Iconic Edition proves why we can’t have nice things anymore

German premium carmakers are no strangers to charging you brand taxes. This goes double for the more exclusive limited edition models, such as the Black Series from AMG or the special 911 models from Porsche. Now, Audi is trying to follow a similar route with the most powerful version of its compact sports car, the TT. the Audi TTRS Iconic Edition will be the final version of the German pocket rocket, and Audi believes this is enough to justify a high price tag. The problem is that, as good as the TT RS is as a platform, it’s a desperate attempt to capitalize on the heritage of another Audi model.


Purely cosmetic changes

Audi TT RS Iconic Edition

If you were expecting performance upgrades from the Audi TT RS Iconic Edition, you’ll be disappointed. With this latest iteration of the German coupe, Audi takes the regular TT RS and slaps it in a more aggressive body kit. It includes a more aggressive front fascia with a new front splitter, restyled air ducts and canards. On the side, there are side skirt extensions, and at the rear, there are additional aerodynamic elements to the RS-specific diffuser. Last but not least, there is a tall carbon fiber rear spoiler. The new TT RS Iconic Edition body kit has been aerodynamically optimized in a wind tunnel to improve the car’s performance. The only color available for this version is Nardo Grey, which is already a popular choice.

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It wouldn’t be a proper limited edition model without some changes to the interior. The TT RS Iconic Edition features a darker interior to match the almost Batmobile-like exterior environment. The TT RS interior benefits from extensive use of Alcantara, Jet Gray leather with contrasting Calendula Yellow accents and honeycomb stitching on the RS seats. A Calendula Yellow marker at 12 o’clock gives the hand-stitched Alcantara steering wheel a race car feel, while a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound and ambient lighting gives the interior a cozier feel.

This isn’t the first time Audi has tried to charge a lot for a “final edition” model. Last year the brand introduced the TT RS Heritage Edition, which gave you even less. It has five different exterior/interior color combinations, some exterior color contrasts, 20-inch wheels, custom embroidery, and the engine firing order printed on the rear quarter window above the “Quattro” logo.

Inline five-cylinder engine is retired without upgrade

Audi TT RS Iconic Edition

The Audi TT RS is one of the few and latest models of the brand that has the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine. The same engine can still be found in the 2023 Audi RS3, where it makes an identical output of 400 horsepower (299 kilowatts) at 5,850 at 7,000 RPM and 354 pound-feet (480 Nm) at 1,700 at 5,850 RPM. Thanks to Quattro four-wheel drive, a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and a relatively low curb weight of 3,197 pounds (1,450 kg), the TT RS accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds, and at a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h).

The price and the problem of the TT RS Iconic Edition

Audi TT RS Iconic Edition

Exclusivity and legacy always come at a price, especially when a model is near the end of its production run. The regular Audi TT RS Iconic Edition starts at $73,200. The Heritage Edition, which is limited to 50 units, will set you back $82,495. If you want one of the 100 Audi TT RS Iconic Edition cars, you will have to prepare $105,000. Yes, the interior is better and the body kit was refined in a wind tunnel, but underneath it’s still the normal car.

Things get worse when you consider the starting price of the Porsche 911 (992) Carrera of $106,100. Yes, it is a base model and not a limited edition, but it is more so in every way. Furthermore, even the base Carrera can hit 97 km/h (60 mph) in 3.7 seconds and break the 300 km/h (186 mph) barrier, as tested by AutoTopNL. If it’s exclusivity you’re after, I’d opt for the top-of-the-range Cayman GT4, which costs about the same and is the more visceral sports car compared to the Audi.

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The biggest problem is that the Audi TT RS Iconic Edition is trying to capitalize on the success of the legendary rally legend that is the Audi Quattro. The rally sports car of the 1980s, in one form or another, boasts a total of 23 race wins with drivers like Hannu Mikkola, Michèle Mouton and Walter Röhrl at the wheel. Needless to say, those are big shoes to fill, so an Audi TT RS with a body kit and absurdly inflated price will never be as collectible as its WRC-winning ancestor nor will it have the heritage of a 911 or the rim of the Cayman GT4.

The TT RS, itself, is a very capable platform, but you’d be better off spending your money elsewhere. With this, the Audi TT RS dies for 2022, followed by the rest of the TT lineup in 2023, only to be replaced by a hybrid model. We were just hoping for a more epic finish to the turbocharged inline five-cylinder pocket rocket rather than a half-hearted attempt to collect obscene amounts of money.

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