Audi unveils lightly facelifted versions of the TT RS and TT RS Roadster as rumors circulate the German automaker is considering ending production of the entire TT lineup due to rapidly declining sales in key global markets, including the U.S.
Set to follow facelifted versions of its standard TT and TT Roadster into North American showrooms later this year, the ’19 model year TT RS and TT RS Roadster receive several small updates designed to tide them over until a model change originally planned to take place in 2022.
However, recent word from insiders at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, suggests new Chairman Bram Schot already has devised a plan to replace the TT with a new liftback model that will form part of the fourth-generation A3 lineup as a rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and upcoming BMW 2-Series GranCoupe.
If true, the move would mirror that of Mercedes-Benz, which has decided not to replace the SLC once the current model goes out of production.
Introduced in 1998, the TT has been a mainstay of the Audi lineup for over 20 years. But with buyer preferences having swung firmly toward its SUV models and Audi directing €14 billion ($16 billion) into electric-vehicle development over the next five years, serious doubts hang over the sporty model’s future.
An earlier plan to turn the TT into an entire sub-brand supporting up to four models, including a sedan and SUV, was quashed by Audi board members.
Changes to the facelifted TT RS and TT RS Roadster are subtle. They include a lightly reworked front bumper and a modified wing element at the rear. Inside are new color accents and an upgraded communication system.
The TT RS and TT RS Roadster continue to be powered by the same turbocharged 2.5L 5-cyl. gasoline engine as pre-facelifted models. It delivers 395 hp at 5,850 rpm and 354 lb.-ft. (480 Nm) of torque between 1,950 and 5,850 rpm.
The heady reserves are channeled to all four wheels via a standard 7-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox and an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch all-wheel-drive system.
The performance claims remain the same: The 3,197-lb. (1,451-kg) TT RS boasts a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 3.7 seconds and the 3,395-lb. (1,541-kg) TT RS Roadster a claimed 3.9 seconds.
Both models’ top speed is nominally limited to 155 mph (250 km/h), but it can be raised to 174 mph (280 km/h) as part of a long list of options that brings upgraded 20-in. wheels and tires.