Audi RS 3 Sportback to cost £40k

Audi's fastest-ever hot hatchback will cost £39,950 when it goes on sale in March

The new 362bhp Audi RS 3 Sportback will be available to order from March 2015 costing £39,950. The first cars will be delivered to customers in the summer.

That means it costs £1,755 more than the Mercedes A45 AMG and around £10,000 more than the recently-announced Ford Focus RS is expected to cost.

Audi’s latest hot hatchback is based on the Audi A3 Sportback hatchback, but features the firm’s most powerful five-cylinder engine to date. With 362bhp, the four-wheel drive hatchback will cover 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds – 0.3 seconds faster than before - and is capable of a 174mph top speed.

The 2.5-litre turbocharged engine produces the majority of its power between 1,625 and 5,550rpm, which means the new Audi RS 3 Sportback will provide huge acceleration in any gear.

The engine’s exhaust note has been tuned, and features valves which can make the noise even louder and can be controlled via the car’s Drive Select Adaptive Dynamics System. An even louder exhaust can be specified for an additional cost.

Drivers can also opt to raise the car's standard 155mph top speed to 174mph for an additional cost. Adjustable suspension is another bit of kit appearing on the options list.

Despite the power available, Audi claims the RS 3 Sportback is capable of returning 34.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 189g/km.

The RS 3 Sportback is fitted with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox which has been reworked to offer even faster gearshifts than the standard gearbox. The car has a torque vectoring system designed to improve grip, stability and performance.

Although the car is four-wheel drive, the gearbox uses clutches to send between 50 and 100% of power to the rear wheels depending on how much grip is available. In its sport setting, it will send more power more quickly to the rear wheels for a more involving drive.

Exterior styling tweaks include a revised front grille, additional vents in the front bumper, a roof spoiler, extended wheelarches and a new rear bumper with two exhaust tailpipes. Eight paint options are available, including two new colours: Nardo Grey and Catalunya Red.

There’s are leather sports seats inside, along with trim panels and instrumentation specific to the RS 3 Sportback.

Other standard features include LED headlights, Audi's MMI multimedia controller with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, heated front seats and parking sensors.

Options include lightweight Audi RS bucket seats, an interior design package that features red accents around the interior, sat-nav and the ability to turn the car into a wireless hotspot.

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