Geneva motor show: Audi RS3 Sportback
Audi has officially unveiled the RS3 Sportback at the Geneva show - the first car in the A3 range to inherit the manufacturer's ultimate performance badge.
The new model, which receives its public debut in Switzerland, will be the flagship for the five-door Sportback line-up and with 335bhp on tap it easily outpaces its closest competitors in the mega-hatch turf war.
Thanks to the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine borrowed from the Audi TT-RS, the Sportback will rocket to 62mph in 4.6 seconds - making it every bit as quick as a V8-powered R8.
As with all performance-bred Audis the RS3 gets permanent four-wheel drive courtesy of the manufacturer's Quattro system, as well as a heavily modified suspension set up which sees the car sit 25mm lower than standard on a wider track.
Judicious use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics at key locations in order to save weight means that the RS3 comes in at a relatively light 1540kg, ensuring a strong power-to-weight ratio.
The five-pot engine is mated to the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox which includes a launch control system for explosive off-the-line performance.
Audi claims the car will still be capable of 31mpg. That target may be tough to meet as the signature rhythm of its powerplant is amplified by a sound flap in the exhaust which is connected to the Sport button found in the cabin.
Also inside is a black leather interior with silver contrast stitching and the usual flat-bottomed RS steering wheel. Expect to find plenty of RS badges around the place, too.
Outside the Sportback gains flared arches, cills and air intakes, as well as a high-gloss black diffuser and a large roof spoiler.
The range-topping RS3 is already available to order now and comes with a £39,900 price tag in the UK next month. Deliveries are expected to start in April.
Video of the RS3 Sportback at Geneva can be found here.