THE most powerful compact hatchback in production will come storming into the UK this summer.
It’s the new second generation Audi RS 3 Sportback and features the most powerful five-cylinder engine in the history of the premium brand’s RS performance series.
With a hefty 367PS on tap, the 2.5-litre TSI unit can fire the RS 3 from 0-62 in a fleeting 4.3 seconds and on to a potential 174mph top speed.
Yet Audi promises that the £39,950 five-seater will be just as appealing for the school and shopping run as it will be to sports car fans.
As the entry point to the latest Audi RS range the newcomer is based on the current World Car of the Year and features the company’s quattro all-wheel drive system.
With the help of a recuperation system, a demand-controlled oil pump and a start-stop facility which increases the duration of engine ‘downtime’ at each stop, the RS is capable of returning up to 34.8mpg, and has CO2 emissions of 189g/km.
And while butterfly valves in the exhaust system ensure a throaty growl, buyers can also access an optional upgrade that deepens the tone even further via the Audi drive select set-up.
Gear shifts are via a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission, reworked to offer even faster shifts.
In UK spec the Audi’s black honeycomb grille and pronounced air intakes are set off by LED headlamps and daytime running lights, and there are also 19-inch alloy wheels, flared front wings and a large roof spoiler.
Inside, there are leather sports seats with contrast stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, stainless steel pedals and a lap timer while kit includes the brand’s MMI radio with its electrically folding colour screen, Audi Music Interface, Bluetooth, front seat heating and a parking system.
Eight paint finishes are up for grabs, a Catalunya red metallic shade being exclusive to the RS 3 Sportback, and the order book opens next month.