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Essex! Cheshire! Owners of houses in West London you can’t fit a Range Rover Sport down! BEHOLD! It’s the new rag-top Audi A3, revealed ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show. And it’s bigger than ever.

But despite the fourth incarnation’s 4420mm length (180mm more than before), weight’s down 50kg to 1365kg thanks to the clever MQB underpinnings, and an aluminium bonnet. Audi promises us that it’s stiffer, too.

The roof’s been improved too - the rag top (available in optional noise-reducing fabrics) takes 18 seconds to open and close, and it’ll manage to do so at up to 31mph. There’s no word on how much it eats into boot space, but Audi assures us its intrusion on luggage space is “minimal”.

Engine wise, it’ll get either a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol TFSI, 178bhp 1.8-litre TFSI petrol or a 168bhp 2.0 TDI diesel. A sporty 296bhp S3 version (0-62mph in 5.4 secs, number fans) will follow shortly after it launches early next year. They’re 12 per cent better on fuel too, thanks largely to cylinder-on-demand and free-wheeling tech built into the S tronic seven-speed gearbox option. There’s a six speed manual, too, if you don’t mind a few less miles per gallon.

As you’d imagine, there’ll be plenty on the options list too. Head-level heating for people in the front, wi-fi, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, Bang & Olufsen audio system, and Quattro four-wheel drive a little while after launch.

The S3 version does pretty well on standard kit. It gets four-wheel drive, 25mm lower suspension, massive brakes behind 18-inch wheels, and an option of 19s with Audi’s magnetic ride tech.

So, want one Essex-based TopGear.commers?

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