WITH A BIRTH­DAY im­mi­nent I’ve been drop­ping none too sub­tle hints about the per­fect present. It’s Ger­man, its grille has four rings, its body has four doors and it de­liv­ers drive through four wheels.

It’s the for­mi­da­ble Audi RS3 sedan and it’s to­tally and ut­terly ad­dic­tive: strato­spher­i­cally fast, cor­ners like it’s on rails, stops in a heart­beat and is lav­ishly ap­pointed and ul­tra-re­fined.

To me it is the con­su­mate driver’s car and no sur­prise to learn it’s the big­gest seller in the Audi Sport range.

Ev­ery time my bum hit the leather-clad sport-seat my face lit up with a huge grin.

Push the start but­ton and the 294kW/480Nm tur­bocharged 2.5-litre five-cylin­der en­gine wak­ens with a roar. Its huge oval shape ex­hausts en­sure quiet get­aways aren’t pos­si­ble.

When let loose, all that grunt feeds through a seven-speed dual clutch auto and the Quat­tro driv­e­line to fire the RS3 sedan to 100km/h in 4.1 sec­onds. That’s less than a sec­ond slower than $390,000 V10 Audi R8 plus su­per­car. Top speed is 280/kmh.

What’s more, the pric­etag of $84,900 makes the RS 3 sedan a bit of a bar­gain, con­sid­er­ing what you get.

It’s sleek shape isn’t cov­ered in bolt-on body bits and the only hints it’s the fastest one of the pack are a lower ride height (by 25mm) over a stan­dard A3 on which it is based, a wider track, a sin­gle-frame grille, guard-fill­ing 19-inch al­loy wheels on low pro­file Pirelli’s, huge brakes with big red brake cal­lipers, drain­pipe ex­hausts, rear dif­fuser, small boot lip spoiler and a chin spoiler with ‘Quat­tro’ stamped on it.

In­side it’s typ­i­cal Audi: well crafted and ap­pointed. No­body does in­te­ri­ors bet­ter. Leather cov­ers the body hug­ging quilted sports seats and flat-bot­tom steer­ing wheel that also wears a touch of Al­can­tara. At your fin­ger­tips are alu­minium shift pad­dles and con­trols for the adap­tive cruise, wipers and in­di­ca­tors. You also get dual zone air­con with rear vents, auto wipers and lights, an auto-dim­ming mir­ror, heated front pews and lash­ings of brushed alu­minium and car­bon gar­nish through­out.

The driv­ing po­si­tion is low slung and fac­ing

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