What has 335 brake horsepower from a turbocharged 2.5-litre engine, stands third in line to the hot hatch crown, can hit 62mph in 4.6 seconds and gives you a respectable 31mpg? It’s the recently-unveiled Audi RS3, due here in April 2011.
Out-horsepowered only by the 345bhp Ford Focus RS500 (sold out) and the 395bhp Subaru Impreza Cosworth (only 75 being made), the new RS3 has 34 more ponies than the Ford Focus RS, 69 more than VW’s Golf R, and leaves the Mégane Renaultsport feeling downright inadequate with 250bhp.
So, what do you get for your £39,900? Initially, the five-door Sportback body, with a wide, partially carbon-fibre bodykit. You get 19-inch wheels, and a Sport mode that gives a sharper throttle response (plus a louder bark from the tailpipe). And you get Quattro four-wheel drive, nailing the power down via a seven-speed, dual-clutch S-tronic transmission. The top speed is limited, though…to a mere 155mph.
Inside the RS3, black leather with contrasting red stitching clads the bucket seats, centre console, steering wheel and gear knob. What’s more, you needn’t budget for a satnav, parking sensors or xenon headlamps – they’re all in the standard specification.
Puzzled about what to put on your Christmas list? Not any more – ordering is from December so there aren’t too many shopping days to go.