Audi classifies its cars with stringent model designations, A standing for your everyday driver, S for a sportier line with enhanced performance equipment, and RS covers anything with no-holds-barred power. The RS stands equivalent to BMW's M or Mercedes-Benz's AMG.
But we haven't had an RS car in the U.S. since 2008. The wait is over for fans of European high-performance with the introduction of the 2012 Audi TT RS this summer. Unlike a 580 horsepower, twin turbo V-10 monster such as the RS6, the TT RS comes out with a more modest turbocharged 2.5-liter five cylinder.
However, even with half the cylinders of the RS6, the TT RS gets 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, a nearly ridiculous amount of power for a 3,300 pound 2+2 seater. The TT RS hits 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. A short wheelbase combined with Audi's magnetic active suspension will leave corners shaking at their apexes.
The TT RS would be a blast at track days, and Audi announced that it can be yours for $56,850, undercutting a base M3 by about $2,000. Audi previously released photos of a convertible version of the TT RS, but it does not seem like that variant will be available.