Euro 6 compliant the new engine may very well be, but the RS3 will still penalise your wallet with decidedly old-school spite if you let it goad you into a sufficiently aggressive driving style.

In 60 miles of full-bore driving at MIRA, the car returned 7.9mpg, precisely the same as the Mercedes-AMG C63 tested alongside it. Happily, though, if you try equally hard in the opposite direction, the five-pot returns the favour. It delivered 38.6mpg in our stately single-lane touring test cruise. That’s a 4mpg improvement on the previous model and even a little better than the A45 AMG.

Vicky Parrott

Deputy reviews editor
The RS3 delivered 38.6mpg in our stately single-lane touring test cruise

On emissions, the lower cylinder count wins out, the Mercedes being 33g/km cleaner when it comes to CO2. On annual VED costs, that’s enough to make the RS3 £310 more expensive in its first year and 6 percent dearer on company car tax. 

Don’t expect that to dampen many buyers’ enthusiasm, though. That the car proves quite an expensive prospect to run is likely to be a secondary concern if you’re comfortable with meeting its 
sub £40k sticker price in the first place.

For some, that figure will just sound the starter pistol. With options, our test car’s cost rounded out to a chest-tightening £51,185. 

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