The Audi RS brand officially returned to the American performance car scene when veteran racecar driver Don Istook from Forth Worth, TX took delivery of the first 2012 Audi TT RS in the US.
Last year, Istook was one of more than 11500 fans to sign the Audi TT RS Facebook petition, which helped convince Audi North America to introduce the 360hp coupe.
Istook’s connection to Audi runs deep since he was one of the first drivers to race an Audi Quattro in the US in 1985. He also drove Audi S4 models in the Motorola Cup, which later became the Grand-Am Cup. More recently, he’s raced TT quattro coupes.
"Having raced at almost every major track in the US and Canada, I've pushed the limits in many cars in my 34 years as a driver,” Istook said. “I like my street car to give me some of that thrill and with my new Audi TT RS, I not only get the thrill, but I also get that 'racecar' sound.”
The 2012 Audi TT RS stands as the pinnacle of the TT model line. Powered by an award-winning 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder TFSI engine, it generates 360hp between 5500 and 6700rpm, and 343 lb-ft of torque between 1650 and 5400rpm. With standard quattro all-wheel drive, the TT RS offers excellent aerodynamics and increased rigidity and safety.
The 2012 Audi TT RS is priced at $56,850 (excluding $875 destination charges, taxes, title, options and dealer charges).
Audi has announced plans to follow up with the US introduction of the Audi RS5 coupe next year. Audi dealers expect keen interest in the car. “Interest in the return of the RS marquee has been so strong that Mr. Istook is allowing us to keep his TT RS at the dealership longer to show Audi fans and customers,” said Bobby Baillargeon, owner of Forth Worth Audi.
The Audi TT RS features exclusive design elements including a gloss black diamond-patterned Singleframe grille and large front air inlets, fixed rear wing, oval exhaust pipes, rear diffuser, unique 19-inch wheels and more. It comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, and available adaptive headlights. The interior also features an RS contoured three-spoke sport steering wheel, aluminum door sills, and RS-specific interior handles.
“Superb brakes and handling go right along with the magnificent power from the 2.5-liter turbo, especially the low-end torque,” Istook noted. “It reminds me of the mid ’80s when we raced the original five-cylinder turbo Audi Quattro. What’s great, though, is that I get all of that, yet have the refinement, sophistication and technology of a truly modern sports car."