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2019 Audi TT RS: Tiny Tweaks for the Tiny Rocket

Competes with: BMW Z4 sDrive40i, Mercedes-AMG SLC43, Porsche 718 Cayman S

Looks like: The cute TT RS is trying to shed its “cute” label by adding more aerodynamic body parts

Drivetrain: 394-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder making 354 pounds-feet of torque; seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: This spring

Price: $67,895 (including destination charge)

Audi’s small car with a big engine sees a mild refresh for 2019, with a few changes that alter the car’s appearance slightly, add more exterior colors and a new phone box. It will make its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show next week.

Related: More 2019 New York Auto Show Coverage

The TT RS just made its re-entry into the U.S. market last year as a 2018 model after a five-year hiatus, so this might seem to be a bit early for a refresh. However, the vehicle that we got here wasn’t new when it came over; it had been sold in other countries already for a few years. Furthermore, the regular TT is also getting a refresh for 2019, and the changes to the TT RS will ape a few of those updates.

Exterior

The changes for 2019 are most readily seen at the front of the TT RS, where the lower bumper has been reworked to make the car look more aggressive. The TT RS already featured the angular Singleframe grille that the regular TT adds for this year, so the changes are found at the sides, where larger air inlets extend to the front wheel wells. There’s also a new rear wing spoiler that looks more prominent.

Wheels are offered in 19- and 20-inch sizes, with the 20-inch wheels coming as part of the new Dynamic Package, which also adds red brake calipers and a sport exhaust system with black exhaust tips. Audi also will offer three new colors for 2019: Turbo Blue, Tango Red Metallic and Kyalami Green.

There was one detail that I was glad to see carry over from last year’s model: the “quattro” in Audi script is still found at the bottom of the grille, though it’s now finished in “matte titanium.”

Interior

Changes in the cabin are minimal; the RS Design Package has been tweaked and now includes contrast stitching, red or blue highlights to the air vents and RS floormats. The TT RS does have one of my favorite applications of the Audi multimedia system: There’s no centralized screen on the dashboard; instead, all of it runs through the Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-inch screen directly in front of the driver.

Audi also has added a phone box for 2019, which offers wireless charging, as well as the ability to connect your phone (if compatible) to the vehicle’s antenna to optimize the signal. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are optional.

Under the Hood

The powertrain is a carryover, but it’s an excellent one, so that’s just fine by us. The turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine pumps out 394 horsepower and 354 pounds-feet of torque to all four wheels through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Zero-to-60 mph happens in just 3.6 seconds. The standard all-wheel-drive system has the ability to send almost 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels for sportier dynamics.

The 2019 TT RS will hit dealerships this spring, with a starting price of $67,895, including a $995 destination charge.

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