Audi says its RS3 model will be produced in limited number and that certain markets, including the UK, have already sold out of their allocation.

It is powered by a 5-cylinder, turbcharged, 340hp engine mated to a 7-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox and four-wheel-drive descended from the Quattro rally cars' ‘PDK' transmission.

Jeremy Hicks, head of Audi's UK operation, said: "The RS3 has an important part to play in our line-up. It is a modern interpretation of the original Quattro.

"The fact we have sold out of our allocation for this year is absolute testimony to strength of the brand given that customers have been prepared to order the car without even seeing it first."
 
Audi posted its best-ever worldwide sales in 2010, up 15% to slighltly more than 1m cars. Production also reached record levels at 1.14m, up 23.4%. It was Europe's best-selling premium brand with sales up 18% at 647,600 cars.
 
In the US it broke through the 100,000-car barrier for the first time last year and in China sales rose 43% to 227,938.
 
For the first four months of this year deliveries are already running 17% ahead of 2010 at 421,900 and its sights are set on a new annual target of 1.2m.

Audi will create 2,200 new jobs this year.