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First drive: Audi RS3 Sportback



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Audi has expanded its RS range to include its C-segment model, but that doesn’t mean the entry price to this sporty club is easily accessible.

The RS3 commands almost £40,000 without options, so it’s priced to compete with the BMW 1 Series M Coupé.

But that hasn’t stopped customers beating down showroom doors and snapping up all 500 models allocated to the UK.

The RS3 is a very refined package, packing 338bhp. But it’s also very practical. There’s plenty of room in the back for adults and 302 litres of boot space.

The RS3 will hit 0-62mph in 4.6secs, slightly quicker than the 1 Series M Coupé, but the power delivery is very controlled.

The RS3’s performance is not at the total expense of fuel consumption either, with 31mpg on offer if driven with a feather foot.

Handling is tight and controlled. It has tonnes of grip and inspires confidence when pushed hard.

There’s no hint of mischief.

In keeping with Audi’s style, the RS doesn’t have massively garish styling cues to denote it as a performance model. The flashiest feature is the optional 19-inch black and red alloy wheels.

There are some clues to its more aggressive nature, with a deeper front apron that incorporates enlarged air vents, flared front wings, elliptical exhaust tailpipes and roof spoiler.

Interior quality is high, but as with all Audis the design is very sedate. Nappa leather sports seats come with silver contrasting stitching, and inlays are finished in piano black or a new aluminium race look.

A flat-bottomed RS steering wheel and an exclusive design for the instruments and S Tronic selector lever add to the car’s sporty nature.

Standard equipment includes the sport button, rear parking sensors, electronic climate control, DVD-based sat-nav with MMI (Multi Media Interface) functionality and xenon plus headlights.

Optional features include front bucket seats, roof rails in matt aluminium look and styling packages in black or matt aluminium.

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