Cramming ridiculous amounts of power into compact automobiles is an art form. Volkswagen managed with the Golf GTI and BMW followed with the crazy M2. Now, the Audi RS3 has taken the spotlight.

The compact sedan segment was once thought of to be full of humdrum vehicles with the sole purpose of making your life duller than it already was. Economy was a big factor in keeping them in the market, but it didn’t use to be much of a brag telling a girl at the bar you drove one. Not until recently.

Known for its diesel Le Mans cars and making the all-wheel drive cool again, the four-ring German automaker has outdone themselves with their latest re-iteration of the Audi RS3. It’s a pint-sized powerhouse that produces 400hp, which is a hell lot of power in relative to its built. Audis were previously known to be straight-line champions but now corners are dealt with very easily too. With sensors and technology on hand, this little demon decides which of the four wheels gets the power, and then you’re taking over sharp turns and taking off at traffic lights — with that girl at the bar. Despite all this, you’re still very much in control.

The Audi RS3 is also a beautifully made car. It’s firm but not unbearably bumpy, so you have a feel for the road but not every piece of unhinged asphalt you go over. Because it’s a civilised racer, there are a number of modes that will cater to your every whim — you’re not resigned to tiresome grand prix-esque trips to the supermarket, unlike many other sports cars.

With so much hype around it, we couldn’t resist taking the baby RS out for a spin. Here are eight of our favourite things about the car.