TT RS Coupe/Roadster (8J)
Audi’s sports coupe, with its stereotypical hairdresser connotations, is ironically the only Ur-quattro inspired five-cylinder RS model to make our shortlist. The warbling 2.5-litre engine produces 335bhp and fires the coupe from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, though the Audi trademark of uncommunicative steering and slight understeer remains.
Buyers had the choice of a six-speed manual or S-Tronic paddleshift and with some models still covered by the balance of the manufacturer warranty, expect to pay nearly £30k for an option-laden 2011 or 2012 model. Audi’s Boxster rival doesn’t offer the same chassis balance but is nevertheless an effective point-to-point weapon, particularly in bad weather.
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RS 4 (B7)
Audi’s high water mark in terms of chassis dynamics was the RS 4 of 2005. Out went turbocharging in favour of a 4.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8, which would later find its way into the engine bay of the R8. The engine would rev to 8500rpm and was mated to a manual six-speed gearbox, while a Sport button opened bypass valves in the exhaust and increased throttle response.
John Simister wrote that the B7 RS 4 feels incredibly responsive, supremely controlled and also has a capacity for interaction and entertainment that its predecessor couldn’t muster. In a break from the estate-only past, both saloon and cabriolet models were offered alongside the expected Avant bodystyle.
The B7’s taut shoulders, aluminium mirror caps and stubby spoiler have aged well, and buyers should expect to set aside just under £20k to get themselves into a 2007 or 2008 model from the RS 4’s limited production run.
R8 (V8 and V10)
While the recently-replaced R8 does not wear any RS badging, it was hand-built in a special factory on quattro GmbH’s premises in Neckarsulm. Couple this to its gorgeous styling, the option of a manual gearbox and the choice of V8 or V10 powertrains and it’s easy to see why it makes the list. Using the same engine as the B7 RS4, the V8 R8 hit UK shores in 2007, with a convertible model following soon after. Buyers got the option of an updated V10 model from 2009 onwards, using the same block as the Lamborghini Gallardo LP650-4.
When the first R8 arrived in 2007, Audi’s mid-engined attempt at a 911 rival was laden with precise and exploitable throttle-adjustability that really involved and entertained the driver, in the view of evo’s own Richard Meaden.
We rated the subsequent V10 model so highly that we compared a Plus model to a Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C, finding it to be a great all-rounder that could handle B-road point-to-point pace and long motorway running with aplomb.
With so many models on the UK market, early V8s begin at approximately £38k from both traders and private sales, though it may be wise to go for a model with the optional magnetorheological dampers fitted as these provide a supple ride with improved chassis control. To get yourself behind the wheel of the V10 model, prices start in the mid-60s regardless of coupe or convertible.