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REVIEW

It wasn’t that long ago that a hot hatch had 200bhp and was considered rather brisk even then. The original Focus RS has just 201bhp and the new RS has 345bhp, but believe it or not the time has come when that original benchmark has been doubled. Step forward the new Audi RS3 with a scarcely believably 400hp (394bhp) under the bonnet. Taking the new lighter 2.5 litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine from the TT-RS, the new RS3 is available as a saloon or the 5dr Sportback we’ve got here, so you have a full 5-seat family hatchback with a decent boot and small footprint but with enough performance to embarrass lots of supercars. Thanks to the AWD system and dual clutch gearbox (and launch control) 0-62mph comes up in 4.1 seconds (or faster, testers have recorded 3.9s) and if you tick the option box it’ll do 174mph (155mph std). Visually it does the wonderful Audi thing of looking much like a normal A3 to those not ‘in the know’ but to those with a trained eye they’ll spot the wider arches, aggressive front bumper and twin oval exhaust pipes. Also from what we’re hearing, this RS3 banishes the understeer-led handling of the old model in favour of a more playful setup. Bring it on!

** Cash alternative: 80% of the ex-VAT UK RRP **

Stats

Engine / Cylsi5 0-62mph4.1secs
Displacement2.5ltr Power394bhp
Engine PositionFront Torque480 Nm
DrivetrainAWD Top Speed155mph
Format5dr Hatchback CO2189 g/km
MPG34.0 mpg Retail Price£41,000

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