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I admit that the BMW i8 photographed for Broad Oak BMW earlier in the week wasn't for the purposes of me buying one, the boot unfortunately isn't big enough for all of my camera equipment. Oh and there is of course the £100k price tag! More realistic and a replacement for my BMW M135 is the Audi RS3, I originally saw the car at Geneva in March where it made its official debut, as hot hatches go it ticked all the boxes, practical, hints of aggression with chunky 19" alloy wheels and a roof tip spoiler, the 2.5 five cylinder producing 363 BHP producing a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds, this is super car territory in a sub £40k family hatch.

I had been in contact with East Kent Audi in Canterbury over the last couple of months about an extended test drive, I had a brief run out in an RS3 a few days after it had been released but it was showroom fresh and the early morning traffic only gave a hint of what to expect. The car shown came in at just under £46,000, to put this in to context a Porsche Cayman with some spec on is the same price, what might surprise you though is that on a lease deal the RS3 is £1500 better off at the end of a three year deal, and 76 BHP up on the German coupe. The demo in Sepang Blue pearl paint looked a little more subtle to my eyes then the launch Catalunya metallic red, the alloys had been upgraded plus it had the magnetic ride dampers and a few other must haves, B&O hi-fi, carbon fibre trim etc.

The drive, whats it like on a variety of Kent countryside A and B roads, quick! The sports exhaust fires away at you when you are shifting gears through the S tronic gearbox, its levels of grip and handling are superb and it is a worthy competitor to the BMW, VW and Mercedes rivals out there. On reflection I still prefer the purist rear wheel drive of the M135, it has a level of unpredictability to it whereas the RS3 is precise and so surefooted that it kind of takes away the fun a bit, but it is so fast and if this was in the wet the RS3 would be the winner with its Quattro four wheel drive system. Next up the Honda Civic Type R...
BLOG 2015