Making its debut in Beijing, the Audi TT RS models are the most potent versions of this sport coupe the firm has ever produced. On sale in Europe this fall, the new TT RS Coupe and Roadster will be heading to the U.S. sometime next year, likely as 2018 models. When they do arrive, they’ll match this bolder look and sport suspensions with a new and improved version of the automaker’s turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5 engine revamped to crank out a heady 395 horsepower.

Blast of fast

Blessed with a lightweight aluminum block in place of the previous steel core and benefitting from loads of efficiency enhancing tweaks, the new engine not only makes 60 more horses than before but turns out 354 lb-ft of peak torque. Backed by a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive system, the new TT RS Coupe accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds while the TT RS Roadster needs just 3.9 ticks. Although top speed on both is electronically limited to 155 mph, Audi Sport will offer an option that ups terminal velocity to 174 mph in some markets.

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Complementing its performance-focused/rear-biased Quattro setup that offers more precise control programming is a tautly tuned and lower-riding suspension. It can be augmented by an optional RS Sport Suspension that adds magnetic ride control shocks. While the standard fitment is 245/35 rubber around 19-inch cast-alloy wheels, 20-inch forged alloys wearing 255/30 tires are optional. The already capable conventional brakes on the TT RS set can be upgraded to carbon-ceramic units.

Bolder vision

Both the Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster share more aggressive exterior styling that center around edgier front/rear fascias and more deeply contoured, aero-enhancing side sills. Up front, the large single frame grille gets a honeycomb insert and is flanked by bigger air intakes. The nose sports a distinctive air splitter and LED headlamps that can be replaced with Audi’s trick Matrix LEDs in some markets. Rear highlights on TT RS models include a standard fixed wing that can be supplanted by an optional auto-deploying alternative, a highly functional lower diffuser flanked by twin elliptical exhaust outlets and LED taillamps that can also be upgraded to a new Matrix OLED configuration -- the first use ever in a production Audi -- that provides superior illumination as well as a distinctive visual signature. Biggest difference between the two Audis is up top, where the Roadster gets crowned by a lightweight multi-layer power fabric lid that can be cycled in just 10 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

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High-performance character also permeates the cabins of both models, starting with the standard Audi Virtual Cockpit, an RS Sport leather steering wheel with shifter paddles and deeply bolstered RS Sport Seats done in diamond-tufted Alcantara. Those seeking a luxury touch can opt for perforated Nappa leather while enthusiasts can swap the standard aluminum accents for carbon fiber. Like other TTs, the new RS variants can be fitted with a host of enhanced infotainment/connectivity features include MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch as well as a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. Pricing for U.S. versions of the new Audi TT RS Coupe and Roadster will be announced later.

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