Audi announced last week that its souped-up 2012 TT RS coupe will cost $56,850, not including an $875 destination charge. Though $57,000 is a lot to pay for a two-seater, reviewers say that its impressive performance makes it a good value for the money. “Not cheap, but still a hot Audi coupe for a lot less than R8, at $115,450 to $154,350 to start,” writes USA Today.

Left Lane News agrees, saying, “Although that may seem a little pricey considering the base car lists from just $38,300, the TT RS promises enough performance to support that premium.”

This price puts the TT RS at the top of the TT model line, since the 2011 TTS Prestige starts at about $50,300. With a turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 360 horsepower, the TT RS is more powerful than the now second-in-line TTS by 95 horsepower, and can race to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, which is faster than the TTS’s 4.9 seconds, according to Audi.

Audi says that the TT RS will feature exclusive exterior and interior design elements, like a fixed rear wing spoiler, body kit, RS-exclusive 3-spoke sport multifunction steering wheel and power sport front seats. Though the European version of the TT RS gets Audi’s lauded seven-speed, paddle-shifted DSG transmission, U.S. buyers will only be able to buy the car with a traditional six-speed manual.

Though the Audi TT and TTS are both available as coupes and convertibles, Automobile Magazine reports that the TT RS will only be available as a fixed-roof coupe for now. This is likely being done in order to preserve structural rigidity and save weight in this sporty, high-performance version. When a manufacturer removes a car’s roof and turns it into a drop-top, they generally have to add a few hundred pounds of structural reinforcements, since the roof can no longer be used to help hold everything together. In a model like the TT RS, it’s more important for it to be sturdy and lightweight than to have a convertible roof.

The TT RS’ $57,000 asking price slots it below the Porsche Cayman S by about $5,250 and the Porsche Boxster S by about $1,750. Though the TT RS will cost about $10,700 more than the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, the Audi includes all-wheel drive, out-powers the Bimmer by 25 horsepower and will beat the 1 Series M to 60 mph by 0.6 seconds, which is a significant amount in the world of performance cars.

The 2012 Audi TT RS is slated to hit dealerships later in the summer.

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