I’ve never been a great fan of an RS ‘plus’ model being in Audi’s range, as far as I’m concerned ‘RS’ implies, “this is the best we can make it”, so what does a ‘RS plus’ mean? We lied?

Surely it would have demonstrated greater brand integrity to have just called this new model, the 2012 TT RS?

Last time we saw an RS plus from Audi was back in 2004, when the 473 bhp RS6 plus marked a final limited-edition run of the C6 RS6. Just 999 cars were produced and it remains one of the most collectible RS models to this day.

With the TT RS plus, there is no indication of any limited status, nor a plaque inside the car to mark it out as being any more special than a standard TT RS, although a TT RS plus badge sits atop the gear knob accompanied by an aluminium-look trim ring.

The TT RS plus will be available in both Coupé and Roadster versions, fitted with a tuned version of the TT RS’ five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 355 bhp and 343 lb-ft of torque (+20 bhp and +11 lb-ft respectively). Customers can choose between a manual six-speed transmission and the seven-speed S tronic, whilst the dual-clutch transmission comes with a launch control function which optimizes acceleration from a standing start.

And a fine job is does too. Catapulting from standstill to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds for the Coupé with S tronic (4.3 seconds for the manual), whilst the Roadster completes the same distance in 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds). Top speed is limited to 174 mph for all versions of the car.

Other than increased power, most other changes are mainly aesthetic – the Audi TT RS plus is fitted with 19-inch cast wheels of five-arm “Rotor” design; painted black with contrasting red rim flanges. The wheels are fitted with 255/35 tires, whilst a large, fixed rear wing increases downforce at the back of the car. Audi’s magnetic ride adaptive damping system is available as an option.

A single-frame radiator grille also distinguishes the Audi TT RS plus, with its polished anthracite diamond-pattern mesh and trim frame in a matt aluminium-look finish.

Carbon fibre trim is added to the exterior mirror housings and engine compartment, whilst the twin sport exhaust system now has black oval tailpipe trims. A sound flap further amplifies the sound of the engine.

The TT RS plus Coupé with manual transmission costs €60,650 in Germany (up 7% on the TT RS) or €62,800 with the seven-speed S tronic, whilst The TT RS plus Roadster has a list price of €63,500 or €65,650 respectively. Therefore expect the TT RS plus Coupé and Roadster to be priced from £49,000 – £51,000 when they’re available in the UK.