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Compact sports car future: Volks-Renner with up to 340 HP

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A udi will launch the new generation of the A3 with an S in early 2013 -Crown version. The S3 is likely to be powered by the two-liter four-cylinder with 280 hp. Larger rims, modified aprons, mirror housings in aluminum look and a lowered chassis are just as natural in the third generation as the Quattro drive. Shifting is possible with a manual six-speed gearbox or the S-Tronic direct gearbox.

It gets even sportier when the RS insignia comes into play. Audi has not yet announced a specific date for a market launch, but one thing is certain to this day: the RS3 is coming. It is very likely that the five-cylinder with 340 hp known from the current model will serve as the drive.

BMW is bringing the straight-six back to the 1 Series

Those who are satisfied with a little less horsepower will find what they are looking for at BMW. Sure, with the BMW 1 Series M Coupé (first generation), the people of Munich already have a real sports car in their range. With the BMW M 135i, however, an in-line six-cylinder will again find its way into the second generation of the BMW 1 Series from September 2012. Thanks to the turbocharger, the three-liter unit should deliver 320 hp and develop a maximum torque of around 450 Nm.

The particularly sporty BMW 1 Series comes with the new body of the three-door and is provided with enlarged air inlets, new front and rear aprons, newly shaped side skirts and two tailpipes. Chassis, brake system and rim and tire size are adjusted for sportiness. Potential buyers should, however, be prepared for the fact that the BMW M 135i will scratch the 40,000 euro mark. That would still be around 10,000 euros cheaper than the 340 hp BMW 1 Series M Coupé, which is still based on the first generation of the 1 Series and is available from 51,500 euros. The new BMW M 135i xDrive with all-wheel drive will be available from November. Then an eight-speed automatic is standard on board - cost: 44,000 euros.

A for AMG, A for all-wheel drive

The third German premium manufacturer, Mercedes, has so far not had any sporting ambitions in the compact class. That should change with the new A-Class from September 2012. The fact that generation number three looks much sportier than theirsPredecessor, should not have escaped any car enthusiast. The A-Class can be ordered with the new 211-PS petrol engine and an AMG equipment line so that it doesn't just look good.

PS junkies should also be patient at this point. Because in 2013 the A 45 AMG will be the first compact model from Affalterbacher Werkstuner. The top version of the A-Class should draw 320 hp from a charged two-liter four-cylinder and thus heat up the competition. How much the pleasure will cost is not yet known.

Compact sports car from Opel with 280 hp

News from the 'compact and sporty' category is also available from Rüsselsheim report. As the GTC OPC, Opel sends the Astra onto the stage of compact sports cars. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine should produce 280 hp and be good for a maximum torque of 400 Nm. A mechanical limited-slip differential is installed so that the front-wheel drive car can pick up speed properly. The maximum speed is given as 250 km /h. A Brembo high-performance braking system brings the Astra GTC OPC to a safe stop. The price for the Rüsselsheim fun mobile: from 34,250 euros. Sales start in May 2012.

At the same time, Ford will again be represented with a sporty compact model. The Focus ST is back with 250 horsepower. However, it no longer draws this from the pithy, snorting five-cylinder, but from an EcoBoost four-cylinder with a displacement of two liters and turbocharging. Goosebumps shouldn't be expected. But the ST offers other qualities: If you are looking for a vehicle with more space in this class, you will get your money's worth with the ST Tournament combi version. In terms of driving dynamics, there should be barely noticeable differences between the two versions. Whether there will be another Ford Focus RS version above the ST has not yet been determined.

Renault also has an RS model in the compact class. The sports version of the Mégane will be launched in June with a facelift and 15 extra horses.

Sporty compact innovations from the VW Group

In December, VW will be the new generation of the Bring golf to market. Since the compact class bestseller has always been crowned with a GTI version since generation one, this tradition must of course not be broken. The Wolfsburg compact sports car will in future produce 220 hp and will be launched on the market together with the 180 hp GTD in spring 2013. An R variant with all-wheel drive has also become an indispensable part of the model range. The new one could come up with around 300 hp and be on the market as early as next year.

Before the changing of the guard of the new VW Golf, the Wolfsburg-based company will have the first convertible version of a GTI roll off the assembly line. The open compact sports car is based on the current Golf and takes overTwo-liter turbo four-cylinder with 210 hp and a maximum torque of 280 Nm from the GTI sedan. Prices start at 31,350 euros. The first copies will be delivered before summer.

At the VW subsidiary Seat, too, a generation change in the compact class is due at the end of the year. As before, the new Seat Leon will also be available as the Cupra R. The compact athlete will celebrate its debut next year.

You can find more information about the new compact athletes and other currently available models in our photo show.

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