The auto industry has mostly gone into hibernation, but Audi's monster hatch just can't rest through Europe's winter.
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The upcoming 2021 Audi RS3 has been spied in winter testing today, revealing a fresh new look at the German marque's hero hatch and sedan twins.

The new super-hot hatch was last spied in November 2019, tearing up the Nurburgring – but that was before the regular A3 had been unveiled. Now we know how its base styling will look, we can better guess at the RS3's design.

Most importantly, the new RS3 models will continue the tradition of fat guards to accommodate the wider track and wheels needed for a hero model.

And, although the swirly camouflage does a good job of obscuring the details, it appears the new RS3's guards will be more wider and more organically curved.

Of course, the normal new A3 already boasts some muscly flares, so the little lip arches we see in these spy photos might be all we get with the new RS3.

Digital artist Kieber Silva has taken a convincing swing at how the new hatch will look in the speculative renderings shown below – although the guards are largely unchanged from the original images used to craft this look. (New A3 shown further down.)

The new model is expected to retain the current RS3's 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with a power bump beyond the 294kW and 480Nm it delivers right now.

With Mercedes-AMG's new A45 delivering 310kW and 500Nm from its 2.0-litre four, we should expect the RS3 to compare if not outdo it.

Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system will again feature, matched to a seven-speed s tronic dual-clutch auto. The combination should be good to launch the new RS3 to 100km/h in or around 4.0 seconds.

As for its market launch, timing remains to be determined. With the state of the world as it is, we will likely see the new RS3 unveiled online, with sales to begin in late 2020 or early 2021. That, of course, could change for the better or worse.

In Australia, the current RS3, temporarily retired last year, is expected to become available in April – that's the official word from Audi Australia, as of today. Pricing and details were revealed in February.


BELOW: The current Audi RS3