Photographers have snapped the next Audi RS Q3 during cold weather testing in Sweden this week, ahead of an anticipated production debut later this year.
While the prototype you see here hasn't dropped much camouflage, if any, though onlookers noted the exhaust note indicated the vehicle was powered by a five-cylinder engine.
That means the next-gen RS Q3 should feature an updated version of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo that currently does service in the RS Q3, RS3 and TT RS – previously it was unclear whether the uneven cylinder count would continue given ever-tightening emissions regulations.
Current outputs are rated at 270kW and 465Nm for the RS Q3, a little down on the RS3's 294kW and 480Nm. We'd expect the new model to either match the outputs of its hatchback sibling or perhaps push the 300kW barrier.
Compared to standard versions of the Q3, this prototype has larger intakes and a more aggressive bodykit, along with larger wheels, bigger brakes, a prominent rear spoiler, and the big oval tailpipe finishers that are a trademark of RS models.
In addition to the powertrain and exterior changes, expect the RS Q3 to get a range of unique cabin appointments as well, including sports seats, available carbon-fibre trim elements, and plenty of 'RS' logos throughout.
Given the regular Q3 range debuted in July last year, the final production version of the RS Q3 shouldn't be far off. Expect the performance model to make its debut in the coming months, potentially at the Geneva motor show in March.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest, and click on the images for the full gallery.