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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 21st July, 2017
, updated 13th December, 2021
Audi’s A8 has long been the big saloon to choose if discretion and understatement work for you. Is that still the case? Jonathan Crouch looks at what’s on offer from the revised version of the fourth generation design.
The RS e-tron GT is the fastest ever Audi. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Audi’s Q5 looks appealing but pricey in TFSI e plug-in hybrid form. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Audi’s A8 60 TFSIe PHEV saloon allows a successful executive to go green in some style. Jonathan Crouch looks at the revised version
Audi will tell you that its ‘RS’ - or ‘Racing Sport’ - brand is about ‘innovation, technology and performance’. Its customers though, have told the Ingolstadt maker that they want more than that. Future RS products must also feature three other attributes - soul, involvement and emotion. Earlier versions of this RS 3 came up a little short in these three areas: this 2017-2020-era version though, nailed them more effectively.
Yes, it’s very expensive - but very often, the people who think that are comparing this car to inferior, less powerful rivals. True, the whole idea of 400PS in a car of this kind might smack of overkill - but then this Audi is so well executed and so subtle in its outlook that you could own one without anyone realising that. You’d never be mistaken for a boy racer trying to re-live a second motoring childhood.
And in summary? Well certainly, there are other compact high performance models in this segment from this era that might make your heart beat a little faster: the RS 3 still trades the last couple of percentage points of focus for genuine everyday utility. But it’s also true that while that might make it a couple of seconds slower around the Nurburgring, it also makes it a better car for the vast majority of customers. People who live in the real world. A very fast world indeed.
It’s hard to think of any other car in Audi’s recent history that was improved so dramatically from one generation to the next as this MK2 model A3 Cabriolet and the further embellishments we’ve covered here made it a very complete product indeed. It drives well, is reasonably practical and, thanks to the light weight of its MQB platform, is impressively efficient. What’s most important though is that the looks of this car give it something that its pre-2014 first generation predecessor never had: that ‘want one’ factor. By any measure, it’s a seriously handsome piece of styling.
In summary, provided you don’t enter the purchasing process with unrealistic expectations that this model will be mainstream brand-affordable - or some sort of sports car - it’s hard to see how you could be disappointed by what’s on offer here. Here, the A3 Cabriolet matured - and got a little more Vorsprung durch Technik. And the compact convertible class retained a very impressive benchmark.
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