Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

There’s little to distinguish the Audi RS3 Sportback’s dashboard from lesser members of the A3 family save for some detailed trim appliques, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Whether you appreciate the clean-cut, minimalist look of the facia is a personal choice, but the A3 range has the best made interior in this class using the finest materials available at this price point. There are many premium-badged cars costing considerably more which have interiors that would be outdone by the RS3’s.

Ergonomically the RS3’s cabin is easy enough to get used to very quickly. There are few buttons and dials, but those which are there are easily identifiable and a pleasure to use.

It’s a similar story with the instrument graphics and the infotainment screen, particularly if you upgrade the system with the sat-nav that includes Google Earth and Street View images as backgrounds for the mapping.

Not uncommon in this class, particularly with German marques, is the rotary controller with surrounding buttons to control the infotainment system, called MMI. There’s a touchpad on top of the rotary dial which is a bit of a faff to use on the move. Once again, Audi’s rotary action seems to work in a counter-intuitive direction.

While it would be unfair to describe the standard interior colouring as dour, it can be significantly livened-up with the RS3 Design Pack, featuring Crescendo Red elements to the seat and trim stitching, the seatbelt edges and even inside the four circular air vents on the dashboard.

Standard sports seats offer a fine level of comfort, but this is surpassed by the more luxurious RS super sports seats, completed with quilted leather in the shoulder areas. Both are great over longer drives and offer a wide range of adjustability. If more of a racing feel does it for you then consider the RS bucket seats which are lightweight and more hip-hugging in shape. Try before you buy though, because they won’t suit everyone.

With its lowered, stiffened sports suspension on standard dampers, Audi RS3 Sportback comfort is slightly compromised compared to the more sedate S3, but not significantly so. Those 19-inch alloy wheels are shod in relatively shallow sidewalled tyres, so there’s less rubber depth to absorb the road’s imperfections.

The RS3’s saving grace could be the adaptive magnetic suspension that’s optionally available, the firmness of which can be altered using the Drive Select system. So far we’ve only tested that setup on a smooth-surfaced racing circuit but will test an appropriately-equipped car on UK roads later in 2015. Theoretically it should be a superior arrangement.

Other aspects of the RS3 relate to the A3 Sportback it’s based on, meaning you’ve a generously-sized five-door hatchback, a good level of standard equipment, impeccable build quality and luxurious materials surrounding you in the cabin.

Choose the optional front RS super sports seats for the finest of RS3 luxury and comfort; they’re impressively supportive and luxuriously plush too, with their cushioned Nappa leather facings. Admittedly the stitched diamond quilting at the seat tops aren’t to everyone’s tastes.

While the back seat can accommodate three adults, two will be more comfortable, with decent room for a six-foot passenger to sit behind a driver of similar stature.

Dual-zone climate control helps keep temperatures maintained to the desired setting, the fans being relatively subdued even when on full blast.

Optional mood lighting for the interior further promotes a sense of calm at night, as well as reinforcing the RS3’s premium nature.