This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Audi A3 RS3 Sportback (15-16) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Under the bonnet the flagship model has a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing a stonking 335bhp. That’s not all. It has 450Nm of pulling power enabling you to make quick overtaking manouvres without having to weigh up and plan too much. Flick the sports button on and the throttle response sharpens while the rumbling engine soundtrack is also enhanced.

The seven-speed DSG gearbox is smooth and the paddles located behind the steering wheel allow the driver to change gears with their hands on the wheel at all times. This makes the RS3 one of the most entertaining cars in its class for driver interaction. The performance figures make for fantastic reading: the RS3 can get from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and has an electronically limited speed of 155mph.

Compare this to the BMW 1M Coupe and the RS3 is 0.3 seconds quicker to hit the same 62mph mark. The difference is all about getting the traction and the Audi is a master at this.

The grip from this car is incredible. Whether you are driving in the wet or the dry, you’ll have to go some way to fluster the all-wheel-drive technology. This four-wheel drive system makes this car one of the best hot hatches on UK roads for grip. It has been lowered by 25mm compared to a standard A3 and this lowered stance makes cornering great fun while there is almost no body-roll.

Thanks to Audi's Quattro system you can get on the power a little earlier out of bends than if you were driving some rear-wheel-drive rivals. The only minus point is that the steering is a little light for enthusiastic drivers and a more feedback from the steering would enhance the driving pleasure.