Vijay Pattni01 March 2011

Geneva 2011: 400bhp Audi A3 concept

Four-door concept saloon becomes fastest A3 ever built. Next RS3?

Audi A3 concept

And there you were, thinking the RS3 Sportback sat at the top of the A3 tree. This, TopGearers, is now the most powerful A3 ever built: the A3 concept.

The A3 in Geneva is shown as a four-door saloon and is the first car to give hints of the new A3 range, set to hit showrooms in 2012 as a hatchback, and a saloon a year later. The A3 concept is packing a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-pot TSI engine spitting out 400bhp and 368lb ft of torque - 60bhp more than the RS3 and just 14bhp down on the old RS4. That engine is, of course, mated to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. 

See more pics of the Audi A3 concept in Geneva

Audi reckons the A3 concept in Geneva will sprint from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds - half a second over the RS3 - and headbutt the limiter at 155mph.

Thanks to a large number of aluminium body parts keeping the weight to 1,540kg, a regulated oil pump and energy recovery systems, the A3 concept is said to return 31mpg and emit just 212g/km of CO2.

The concept's front and rear tracks are wider than even the RS3's swollen chassis, and production versions will have the front wheels closer to the front bumper than at present. The concept sits on 20in alloy wheels, and houses a 410-litre boot and a luxury interior - close to production - which includes a touch-pad MMI interface, aluminium trim panels and even iPad holders in the rear. With 400bhp though, you may get a little car-sick looking at a screen if the driver is sideways on full-opposite lock.

The saloon will launch with milder engines of course, but here's hoping for that full-fat, double-cream five-pot RS...

Top Gear drives the Audi RS3

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