A prototype believed to be the new-generation Audi RS Q3 has been spied this week at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany, ahead of a likely reveal later this year or early next.
Key differentiators between this prototype and regular Q3 development vehicles spied recently include the more aggressive body kit, larger wheels, and the uprated brake package.
While the quad-tipped exhaust at the rear would normally signify an 'S' model rather than an 'RS', these appear unfinished and will likely be covered with the company's signature dual oval tips once the new model hits production.
Other design cues that lead us to believe that this vehicle is the RS Q3 include the front bumper, which has two large outboard intakes with silver finishers – a common trait of RS models, along with the design of the front splitter.
The massive front brakes, meanwhile, which appear to have six-piston calipers, are also indicative of an RS model as opposed to an S variant.
According to our photographers, this hotted-up Q3 was also spied testing with an RS3 – another hint that this could be an RS prototype.
It produces a meaty 294kW of power and 480Nm in those models, mated as standard to Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system – that's a 24kW and 15Nm upgrade from the current RS Q3 Performance.
Expect the new-gen RS Q3 to claim a 0-100km/h time closer to the 4.0-second mark, considering the current less-powerful version claims a still-impressive 4.4 seconds.
The new Q3 is expected to make its official debut sometime later this year, so it's likely the RS Q3 will follow in the months after. With that in mind, we reckon a very late-2018 or early-2019 debut for the Audi Sport version of the company's new SUV.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates in the coming months. Click the photos tab for more images.