Powered-up crossover hits the Ring

The next-generation Audi RS Q3 has been spied again at the Nurburgring, ahead of an anticipated debut later this year.

Few changes have been made to this prototype compared to the last one spotted at the 'Ring, though photographers noted that this vehicle was driving at a similar time to an RS3 and sounded the same – suggesting a five-cylinder powerplant will reside under the bonnet.

It's more than likely the new-gen RS Q3 to be powered by the latest version of the company's 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol seen in the RS3 and TT RS, which in those models makes 294kW of power and 480Nm of torque – up 24kW and 15Nm over the current RS Q3 Performance.

Paired to a dual-clutch automatic and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system, the RS Q3 should be capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in around 4.0 seconds, a decent improvement over the current model's 4.4-second claim.

It's unclear exactly when the new RS Q3 will be revealed, especially considering the standard Q3 range hasn't even debuted yet.

The new-generation of Audi's small SUV was originally scheduled to be revealed before the end of last year – as told by Audi itself – though it appears the new model's reveal has been pushed back.

Since Audi has been confirmed for an appearance at this year's Paris motor show in October – unlike parent company Volkswagen – it's a very strong possibility that the new Q3 range could be revealed either at the event or just before it.

Headlining updates should include an overhauled exterior and interior, the Volkswagen Group's MQB underpinnings, and the company's latest in driver-assistance and infotainment technologies.

For now, however, we'll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned for all the latest updates, and head to the gallery for more images.