Stephan Reil, technical director at Audi's Quattro division, has told Top Gear that the next-generation Audi RS3 will be powered by an updated version of the company's turbocharged five-cylinder engine.
The reason for this, Reil explained, boiled down to history: "That engine differentiates us from all of our competitors. And the fan crowd of the five-cylinder is huge. It's such an emotional powerhouse."
According to the British publication, the revised engine will feature a new intake, injection system and pistons, and will be compliant with the EU6 regulations on the emissions of NOx and particulates.
The previous RS3 featured a 253kW/450Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged five-pot engine under the bonnet. With power going to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it could race from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Reil claims that the new model will definitely have more power, although he did caution that he was "not a fan of power Top Trumps", and that he'd prefer to lose 10kW of power to improve torque spread and boost throttle response instead.
Regarding a possible RS1 model to above the current S1, Reil is quoted as saying, "Never say never, but unfortunately it's not very realistic". Much of the company's reasoning boils down to a poor business case, because of the high volumes required to make such a small RS model profitable.
He also claimed that any potential RS1 would sit uncomfortably close to the larger S3's power output of 206kW. That said, the previous generation RS3 had fractionally more power, 253kW, than the size-up S4, which has 245kW.