If you read our Best Affordable Driver’s Car contest, you may remember that, on another track and in slightly different test conditions, the new RS3 Sportback has proved itself capable of 60mph from rest in less than four seconds.
Full of fuel, with two people on board and on a dead-level surface, the RS3 Saloon very narrowly missed out on recording a proper two-way 0-60mph road test benchmark beginning with a three, its best one-way clocking being 3.96sec.
Although that’s a shame, it doesn’t really make this car’s accelerative pace any less incredible.
The RS3’s blend of awesome power, torque, response and operating rev range has an effect on your expectations of a compact, practical, relatively affordable performance car similar to that of a torpedo propeller on a bowl of sherry trifle.
This engine is magnificent – too good, probably, to be considered appropriate for a car like this by almost any other manufacturer. And, being teamed with an equally brilliant driveline and launch control system, it makes for the kind of performance that’d be more recognisable to an owner of a supercar of, say, 10 years of age or so, than it would be to most hot hatchback regulars.
Despite being at disadvantages of £15,000 on list price and more than 100bhp on peak output, the four-wheel-drive RS3 Saloon can out-sprint an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio to 60mph.