I've just been driving the most powerful, quickest Audi A3 ever. So effective is the 247bhp 3.2-litre V6 that the engineers were forced to restrict the top speed.
In this go-faster form, the second-generation prestige hatch matches the 6.4sec to 62mph of the fastest version of Audi's TT and, with the new Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), has what is probably the best, most flexible, transmission in the world. Standard 225/45 R17 rubber and alloy wheels add to coupe-like looks that are subtle, discreet, and very Audi.
Surely, with all these positive sporting ingredients, this Audi is worthy of wearing an S3 badge? After all, when it arrives in late October at £24,360, the quattro-only 3.2 virtually matches the price of the outgoing, and marginally slower, 225bhp S3. Has Audi made a mistake by not calling up the S nomenclature?
Sadly no, for despite the brilliance of the V6 engine and DSG system (a £1400 option), the sophistication of the all-new chassis, much-improved body control and what, initially, feels to be agile steering and fluent handling, this is no S3. Present the hottest A3 with your favourite slice of challenging twisties and you soon learn this Audi falls into the old Ingolstadt trap of excessive, unrelenting understeer. A quick and (mostly) refined autobahn cruiser, rather than the back-road blaster implied by the specifications.