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Another triumph by Audi

CAR OF THE WEEK: S3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro 310 PS

OK, IT’S early in the year but already the stunning Audi S3 Sportback is one of my personal contenders for car of the year. The car looks good and moves like a thoroughbred racehorse.

The S3 Sportback is hard to fault – it has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that packs 300bhp and, with the help of the quattro 4WD, accelerates from 0-62mph. in less than five seconds.

Stick with the standard spec S3 and you’ll get a lowered sports suspension, progressive steering system, 18in. alloy wheels, fine Nappa leather interior, heated front seats, and an aggressive bodykit on top of the A3’s S-line trim.

On the road, the S3 Sportback feels very secure, while grip improves even further with the addition of Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system – although this option adds about £1,500, sees fuel economy drop by about 7mpg. and road tax rise by a band or two.

The S3 Sportback is capable of 0-62mph. in just 5.3 seconds, while the even more rapid RS3 manages 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds.

While these are both quite expensive to buy and run, they’re seriously swift cars that can out accelerate a Porsche Cayman, yet offer typical hatchback practicality at the same time.

As you would expect from the German manufacturer, the S3 Sportback is well-made and beautifully appointed as the standard A3, but with added sports-car flair. The differences are subtle, mainly the body-hugging sport seats and the racy flat-bottomed steering wheel, but they only add to the appeal of the already premium feeling interior.

The 5.8-inch screen that controls most of the car’s systems is very easy to navigate with the rotary dial positioned between the front seats. It also makes many buttons and switchgear redundant and the S3 has an uncluttered and easy to learn dashboard layout as a result.

The S3 is expensive, no question about that but in this case you do get what you pay for. Should you be flush you can add to your bill with several notable extras including a Bang & Olufsen Sound System (£495); Audi Parking System Plus (£700); Technology Pack Advanced (£1,395); Matrix LED Exterior Lighting Pack (£895); Adaptive Cruise Control including pre sense front with pedestrian recognition (£475).

The whole package comes to a pretty penny but you’ll be more than happy with your investment.

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