Earlier this year, Audi unveiled its stunning new TT-RS, and now it looks like the new RS3 spied back in March could be coming to the Frankfurt Motor Show. This is good news for the legions of Audi fans who have long been waiting for the company to stick its 'RS' performance badge to the back of an A3 uber-hatch. Now word from a South African dealer has confirmed the RS3 will make its appearance at the Frankfurt Auto Show, though it's far from official.
Revealed via the Twitter feed of South African Audi dealer, AudiCapeTown, the RS3 has long been an expected - but unconfirmed - star of the upcoming show. Today's news, which comes by way of the German Car Blog, just adds another layer to the story.
The new RS3 shouldn't be an especially complex engineering project for Audi - all that's to be done is tune up the handling and aerodynamics of the hatch and shoehorn the same engine found in the TT-RS under its hood. As the spy shots show, the car itself bears no serious exterior modifications yet, indicating all of the mechanical upgrades will fit within the current car's shell.
The area where the current S3 has its foglights is blacked-out on the RS3 test mule, however, indicating there may be something behind the front fascia taking advantage of the modified airflow. At any rate, a redesigned, slightly more aggressive front-end for an RS3 version is almost a certainty if the car does come to market.
Output from the turbo five-banger would likely be the same 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet found in the TT-RS, which should be enough to propel a RS3 hatch from 0-60 mph in about five seconds. However, there’s a chance that Audi may water down the potency of the engine in the RS3 so it doesn’t step on the toes of the TT-RS, despite the very different body types and target markets. Even with 'just' 300 horsepower and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive, the RS3 would be a daunting rival for the likes of the Subaru WRX STI, Mitsubishi Evolution X and Mazdaspeed3, especially considering Audi's premium positioning.
With the premium hot hatch segment remaining fairly sparse these days, an RS3 model from Audi would also give the company bragging rights against rivals like the BMW 135i. Production of the RS3 still isn't completely certain, however, with company officials keeping mum on the subject.