The automobile industry has seen some alluring and desirable designs. Some vehicles, like the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, continue to captivate auto-philes to this day, selling for millions of dollars at auction and garnering worldwide followings. But what, exactly, makes a car timeless and collectible? Is it exclusivity? Looks? Performance?
In this “Modern Collectibles Revealed” series, we assemble a list of the the most impressive, exclusive, or downright funky vehicles (1985-present) that deserve the status of modern collectibles or classics. We evaluate each vehicle holistically, considering especially the rarity and desirable features of the car.
Who knows? Maybe we’ve even stumbled upon the next Gullwing!
2013 Audi TT-RS Coupe
A vehicle that has only just been introduced to the American market, the TT-RS lives as the performance-spec model of the already sporty TT coupe. The visceral 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo screams out 360 horsepower along with 343 lb.-ft. of torque, making this RS model a true tour de force of acceleration and handling. And with a lower, stiffer suspension, as well as an intimidating body kit, this TT-RS cannot easily be confused with the more sauntering TT.
The TT-RS also offers some of the most inspired styling of the sport-coupe segment. With its seamless roof-to-fastback transition, the TT-RS pays nice homage to the bigger (and more powerful) Audi R8, while still appearing supremely agile. Interestingly, this TT-RS is the first of the newly revamped RS line Audi has prepared for the US market. The little coupe is almost a pre-production experiment to analyze American taste before the launch of the RS5, the RS7, and others. Now is a good time to be an Audi enthusiast. Add all of this to a blazing 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds and a 174-mph top speed, and the TT-RS should prove to be a seriously desirable collector car.
This mini-R8 is also extremely limited in production, with just 1,000 units produced for the entire world market between 2012 and 2013. If that isn’t enough to set off collectors, the American version of the TT-RS is only available with a six-speed manual and as a coupe, while the European version can be ordered with a DCT unit and a convertible top. This means that of the 1,000 TT-RSs produced worldwide, very, very few will be US-spec, as the majority of Audi’s TT-RS sales will occur across the pond. As such, the TT-RS could be the most exclusive vehicle Audi has ever produced for the US market.
Also, consider that this Audi is available in eight exterior colors and two interior trims. We are not able to get the color/trim production numbers at this time, but there is bound to be an ultra rare color/trim combination that serious collectors will surely find. We will keep our eye out for this information.
The rarity of this TT-RS is increased even further by Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel drive system. None of the TT-RS’s serious competitors, including the BMW 1 series M and Nissan 370Z NISMO, offer all-wheel drive, and much less a drivetrain with the credentials of Quattro. This AWD system puts the TT-RS in a league of its own amongst sports coupes, something that will appeal to sports car and Quattro enthusiasts alike.
The base 2013 Audi TT-RS starts at $58,095 and quickly escalates with added options. Optional features include a loud, sport-tuned exhaust, carbon fiber trim, a navigation system with enhanced audio, and more. Among the most impressive options are the 19″ 5-arm-rotor wheels with summer tires, sporting black spokes highlighted by matte red accents on the circumference. Appealing only to a few tastes, these will only make it onto a few TT-RS examples, something that should send the rarity of such models skyrocketing. Buyers also have the option to eliminate the rear spoiler so characteristic of the TT-RS, but it’s likely that most TT-RSs will arrive with the spoiler, as it comes without charge. The most desirable examples of the TT-RS will have some of these very exclusive options, showing the vehicle’s collectible potential.
Considering its immense performance, stunning lines, and the über-exclusivity, it’s difficult to imagine that Audi’s masterpiece won’t appeal to collectors in the future (or even right now). Audi is definitely a rising star in the German luxury demographic, but the TT-RS may have just proven it’s capable of hanging with the big boys.
Here is TFLcar having fun with a pair of Audi R8s!