Half-hearted but fullthroated

The five-cylin­der pow­er­plant in the hot Audi hatch started life as a Lam­borgh­ini V10

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDITOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

AF­TER you’d heard it once, you’ll never for­get it. The sound of a Lam­borgh­ini V10 suck­ing in prodi­gious vol­umes of air.

Floor the throt­tle and you can hear tiny ac­tu­a­tors clear the air­way to the V10 by open­ing the in­take flaps in a mil­lisec­ond.

At the other end of the car is an almighty bark fol­lowed by a crackle ev­ery time you change gears. It’s one of the automotive world’s most glo­ri­ous sounds, gen­er­ally savoured only by those who can af­ford a $500,000 Lam­borgh­ini.

But now a very large dose of that ex­pe­ri­ence has been fed into a very small car.

The Audi RS3 puts ex­actly half the Lam­borgh­ini’s 5.0-litre V10 into what was orig­i­nally a city run­about. It is so dev­il­ish it’s ge­nius.

The highly strung 2.5-litre five-cylin­der en­gine un­der the bon­net came about be­cause a bof­fin at Audi head­quar­ters in Ger­many had the au­da­cious idea to saw the V10 in half, al­most lit­er­ally, and squeeze it into a hatch­back.

This cre­ated — as in­cred­i­ble as it may sound — the world’s sec­ond-fastest hot hatch. The new RS3’s claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.3 sec­onds is 0.1 sec shy of the up­dated Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG due in De­cem­ber.

By virtue of go­ing on sale here this week, for now the Audi is the fastest hot hatch on Aus­tralian roads.

Priced from $78,900 plus on­road costs it is by far the most ex­pen­sive A3 sold lo­cally. Audi likes to counter by say­ing it’s the cheap­est RS model it’s had.

Ap­peal­ing to the same buy­ers, the A45 AMG is

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