You’re looking at the first photos of a prototype for the new generation of the Audi RS 3. The previous generation never made it to these shores but we suspect this one will because of Audi’s decision to launch more of its high-performance RS models in the U.S. market. Another reason is that Audi will need a rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and upcoming BMW M2.

The prototype is for an RS 3 Sportback, based on the five-door A3 Sportback, but we suspect the car’s mechanical package will eventually be fitted in the A3 sedan. That mechanical package will likely consist of a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, quattro all-wheel drive and sports suspension.

We know this prototype is for an RS 3 because of the aggressive front bumper, uprated wheels and brakes, lowered suspension, and signature RS oval exhaust tips. According to the photographer, the car is also slightly wider than the stock A3 Sportback.

Power in the new RS 3 is expected to come from an uprated version of the turbocharged and direct-injected 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine found in the previous RS 3 as well as the TT RS. In its most potent form the engine delivers 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet, but the boss of Audi’s quattro performance division, Stephan Reil, recently revealed that the engine has more potential.

At the same time, Audi has revealed a version of its 2.0-liter TFSI found in the 2015 S3 and 2016 TT that develops upwards of 420 horsepower, so it’s possible we may see the smaller engine fitted to the new RS 3 in order to boost its efficiency. The likely transmission will be a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission.

Look for a debut of the new RS 3 Sportback later this year or early next. If built, an RS 3 sedan will most likely debut a year after the hatchback's arrival.


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