The new RS3, which uses the 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine from the TT RS, is out-punched by the Subaru Impreza Cosworth (395bhp) and the Focus RS500 (345bhp), but both are limited-run models, and both are sold out.
The engine's 335bhp and 332lb ft motor is transmitted to all four wheels via a seven-speed S Tronic twin-clutch transmission. That's enough to push the RS3 to 62mph in a claimed 4.6secs on the way to the almost inevitably limited 155mph top speed.
But unlike the RS5, which gets a 'proper' crown gear differential, the RS3 has to make do with a less sophisticated Haldex viscous coupling set-up.
Instead, the RS3's closest conceptual rival is the oh-so-nearly-here 350bhp BMW 1-series M Coupe and, at an expected £40k, the RS3 should be pretty close on price to the BMW, too.
But one thing will differentiate the RS3 from the 1-series M Coupe - the RS3 is only available from launch as a five-door 'Sportback', and Audi isn't saying whether it will bring in a three-door version.