2015 Audi RS3 Sportback revealed - pricing, specification and engine

Hot 362bhp four-wheel-drive hatchback to go on sale in March, priced from £39,950...

2015 Audi RS3 Sportback revealed - pricing, specification and engine

The new Audi RS3 Sportback has been revealed at the Geneva motor show. The high performance hatchback will have a best-in-class 362bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.3sec when it goes on sale in the UK this month.

What is it?
The RS3 Sportback is Audi's five-seat, five-door performance hatchback. It will go on sale in the UK in March, with first deliveries planned for the summer. It's based on VW Group's MQB platform and is 55kg lighter than the car it replaces.

As well as its higher power output, the RS3 is distinguished from other A3 models by its aggressive front styling, which includes a unique grille and LED headlights. Also included is a sports body kit.

The widened track, uprated suspension and performance brakes are unique to the RS3.

The new car will initially be available in a five-door hatchback, although Audi sources hint a saloon version of the new RS3 is being readied to compete with the CLA45 AMG.

What engines can I choose from?
The RS3 is powered by a reworked version of the ougoing car's 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. It produces 362bhp and 343lb ft, enough to give the RS3 Sportback a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 155mph - which can be raised to 174mph on the options list.

The engine returns a combined 34.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 189g/km. The RS3 Sportback comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

What equipment does it come with?
The RS3 comes well equipped, with leather sports seats, an Alcantara-covered, flat-bottomed steering wheel, unique instrument graphics, stainless steel pedals and Alcantara door trim, plus an MMI infotainment system.

Buyers can also opt for RS bucket seats, as well as various interior design packages, as well as an adaptive suspension that can be tweaked to enhance agility or ride comfort as needed.

How much does it cost?
The RS3 is priced at £39,950, the same as the outgoing car. Discounts will be hard to come by initially, and RS prices typically hold firmer than those of the mainstream cars.

How good are its rivals?
The Audi's key rival is the £38,195 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, which comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 355bhp and 332lb ft. The A45 AMG currently holds a three-star rating on What Car?.