Next-generation small car shows up in normal guise following first pictures of hotted-up 'S3' variant.
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The new Audi A3 has been spied for the first time during development testing, ahead of a likely debut sometime next year.

Shortly after images of the next-generation S3 Sportback were snapped earlier this week, photographers have spotted the normal version on European roads, wearing more subtle clothing (no wild skirts and spoilers here) and concealed exhaust pipes.

While the new-gen hatchback is completely covered by swirly black-and-white camouflage, we can see the next A3 will appear wider and lower than the current car, with an angry and angular look no doubt inspired by the company's newest models – think Q3, Q8 and A7.

It's likely the new A3 family will ride on a version of the Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture, sharing many of its components with the next-generation Mk8 Volkswagen Golf.

Power should come from a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, in both three- and four-cylinder configurations. It's unclear whether the next-generation RS3 will continue with a five-cylinder mill, or downsize to four pots in the name of efficiency.

We'd wager Audi will do a plug-in hybrid and perhaps an electric version of the new A3 as well following the launch of the core range.

There's no official word on when the A3 will be revealed, though we're guessing sometime in 2019 – perhaps at the Geneva motor show in March ahead of production likely commencing in July.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest, and head to the galleries section for more images.