The Audi Q3 has been spied with a sloping roofline before, but this is the first time we’ve seen it wearing tell-tale signs of a hot RS model. Due to arrive sometime in the next 12 months, we suspect that this fastback model will not wear a Q4 badge – an incoming all-electric model will sport that nomenclature. Rather, this should be known as the RS Q3 Sportback when it arrives alongside the standard RS Q3 for the international markets.
Powering both models is likely to be Audi’s turbocharged five-cylinder engine that currently powers the RS3 and TT RS, with power approaching, but not exceeding, 400bhp. Quattro all-wheel drive is an obvious inclusion, as is a dual-clutch transmission and the usual drive modes. We know all this as the Q3 is built on the MQB platform, like the RS3 and TT RS are.
Look closely at the spied prototype and you’ll note a range of other details, including this test car’s use of carbon-ceramic brakes, as well as a slip of Viper Green paintwork as seen on the current-generation RS3. Like the previous RS Q3, it won’t feature wider bodywork, but should combine aggressive front and rear bumpers with the trademark oval dual-exhaust outlets.
Although the RS Q3 Sportback doesn’t appear to have any direct rivals at this moment, Mercedes-AMG is expected to release a new version of its AMG GLA45 in the near future, itself straddling the line between compact SUV and small Coupe-SUV hybrid. That model is suspected to stick to its 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.
Despite its compact SUV-ish body, we always rather liked the previous RS Q3 (for global markets), the added suspension travel and movement under load making it a more interactive handler than the somewhat sterile RS3. It remains to be seen if the RS Q3 once again exceeds our expectations. It’s unlikely that Audi will bring the RS Q3 Sportback to India anytime soon.