Proving 3 is the magic number
The latest Audi S3 gets a 300PS shot in the arm which, when coupled with the quattro all-wheel drive chassis, results in a performance car that could have been designed for the iffy British climate. It's not cheap but it's nevertheless capable of 40mpg. Amazing.
Of course, the S3 has needed to respect its place in the hierarchy. There has been and will be again an RS3 model that's even quicker, but ask yourself whether you really need a vehicle that'll get to 62mph quicker than the 5.4 seconds the S3 will detain you for.
Although at first glance the 1,984cc turbocharged engine looks similar to that which has gone before, it's completely different, with a clever way of using direct and indirect injection to best effect.
The S3 is equipped as standard with a manual six-speed gearbox with a lightweight magnesium case.
Audi drive select is standard in the new Audi S3. It incorporates the characteristics of the electronic accelerator, the boost of the progressive steering and the shift points of the optional S tronic.
Put one next to another and the new car looks tauter and more athletic but most would have a job to realise they were looking at a new model when viewed in isolation. The rear bumper has also been redesigned.
The Audi S3's formula of a compact hatch that's beautifully finished, effortlessly rapid and backed up by the all-weather security of four-wheel drive is one that really works in this country. It's a lovely piece of product conception and there's really nothing quite like it from any rival manufacturer.
Pace, four-wheel drive and that sort of quality? It's just not happening anywhere else other than at your Audi dealer and that's what makes the S3 quite such a desirable item.
This latest version might feature a heck of a lot of new engineering and we take our hats off to its big strides in efficiency, but in reality not a whole lot has changed.
The car is quicker and more economical, and the finishing is even tighter, but the buyer proposition remains much the same.
When you've hit on a winning formula, you mess with it at your peril.