New Audi TT RS takes on Porsche 718 Cayman S. The last generation Audi TT RS was an attractive but fair and square brutal machine while the new Porsche 718 Cayman S is the replacement for a car that was almost perfect.

The Audi was powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder and available only with a manual transmission to U.S. buyers. Now, completely reworked, the 2018 TT RS has catapulted into the future. The new Porsche 718 Cayman S has traded its predecessor’s alluring flat-six for a new turbocharged flat-four. Engines are downsizing these days, but this one feels like a personal affront.

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For petrol heads, Porsche 718 Cayman S and Audi TT RS are taking the heat, and there’s good reason for it.

There is a single-turbo 2.5-liter five-cylinder under the hood of the new TT RS has been thoroughly re-engineered by Audi’s Quattro GmbH performance subsidiary. It has an aluminum block it’s lighter, more fuel-efficient and makes 400 horsepower. The performance is amazing as Audi claiming a zero-to-62-mph sprint of 3.7 seconds for the coupe—add 0.2 second for the roadster version.

The Porsche 718 Cayman S on the other hand has a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four producing 350 horsepower. This sharpening makes the 718 feel more mid-engined. The S now feels more responsive and agile than a base Carrera and when it comes to making progress along a twisty, bumpy road it is better able to exploit its optimized weight distribution. At first sight, this gives impression like the best-balanced sports car in the game.

The Porsche 718 Cayman S is a sports car, and the Audi TT RS is a very sporty car.

For a start, the driving positions are different. In the 718, you sit low down, close to the road, under a roof which is merely 1284mm tall while the TT RS is much easier to get in and out of. The roof peaks at a less extreme 1344mm so the position behind the wheel is more relaxed.

The steering is what splits the hatchback coupes dynamically. The TT RS benefits from a variation of the MQB steering which offers three different settings, labelled Comfort, Auto and Dynamic while the Cayman S uses the same rack as the 911 Turbo. Depending on your definition of perfection, the Audi comes close to being one of the easiest cars to be driven fast on both road and surface. The steering is slightly over-assisted, over-damped and over-eager to step in. On paper, these two cars have a lot in common. On the road, however, they display quite different strengths and weaknesses. The TT RS has aggressive and flash outfit, its dynamic capacity is really accessible but it delivers when pushed.

The 718 Cayman S is only one more step closer to the iconic 911. Despite the paradigm shift towards the turbocharged flat-four, it has the more engaging drive and the sole proper sports car.

Audi TT RS VS Porsche 718 Cayman S : Drag Race /VIDEO/