Used Audi Rs3
A history lesson…
The Audi A3 has been a popular model ever since it was introduced in the mid-1990s, with the S3 version helping to heat things up in the performance department from its launch in 1999.
However, in November of 2010 it was announced that Audi would be building a special edition known as the RS3 Sportback. The first units were built and shipped in 2011 and it has become yet another German car to combine modest family-oriented underpinnings with insane levels of power.
The RS3 can be bought at a around £40,000 from new, although the first used models are starting to trickle through if you want to pick one up second hand.
Bang for your buck
The Sportback bit of the RS3's name basically alludes to the fact that this car is positioned somewhere between a hatchback and a small estate. The end result is something that's not quite as practical as you might like, but then that's hardly going to be a big priority when you're looking at a beast of this calibre.
The A3 framework has been embellished significantly to give the RS3 a much more aggressive, sporty look. There are massive 19 inch alloys, a bit of a body kit and a roof spoiler to set it off nicely.
On the inside you get plenty of leather, premium plastic and chromed-out elements. It looks relatively reserved and some might find it a bit boring, but it's all put together with typical attention to detail.
The steering wheel has its own racing look and you get Audi's own onboard computer built into the dash to handle all of the multimedia facets of the car.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5 litre turbocharged engine that develops 335bhp, which is quite an impressive amount of power for such a compact car. This helps the RS3 reach 62mph from a standing start in just 4.6 seconds, which should have speed freaks drooling.
There's plenty of clever technology at work to help the used Audi RS3 make good use of its mighty engine, so even in slippery conditions it should be able to find a way to put the power down.
You might think that the result of all this power will be poor fuel consumption, but Audi has given the RS3 a total of seven gears, allowing it to achieve 31mpg combined.
What you'll pay
Because the Audi RS3 for sale is such a recently launched and desirable car, you'll find that used prices are still quite close to the new asking price.
£33,000 to £37,000 will get you a second hand model, most of which will only have covered a few thousand miles since they rolled out of the factory for the first time.
What to check
These cars should still be under manufacturer warranty, so always make sure that the previous owner has serviced it in accordance with the terms of this useful agreement. Audi builds reliable cars, so you shouldn't need to be too concerned about technical issues; just make sure that it hasn't been ragged to within an inch of its life before you buy it.
This is a high end performance car that will come with appropriately priced parts. If you're buying into this niche, expect to find running costs that match the prestige.
How it drives
There is no doubt that the used Audi RS3 has a beefy engine and impressive 0-62mph times under its belt, so if you want a car that has bragging rights over most of the other hot hatches on the market it could be a good choice.
Some motoring journalists have complained that the second hans Audi RS3 is, if anything, a little bit too refined. Unlike more boisterous models like the Focus RS it seems to deliver its power in such a stage managed way that it ends up feeling a little bit slower, even if this is only an illusion.
You do get more room in the back than other hatches of the same class and so it might be worth looking at for family buyers who want a bit of fun behind the wheel as well. And if anything, the fact that it never feels overpowered might work in its favour, allowing you to drive it carefully when required while also having a more devilish side to unleash.