Over the past week, a Volkswagen Tiguan has been seen hurtling around the Nürburgring.

And most curiously, the engine note emanating from it was very similar to that of the inline-5 fitted to the RS 3 and RS Q3 from Audi Sport.

This has led to speculation that the vehicle might be a prototype for the first-ever Tiguan R. However, it’s more likely we’re looking at a test mule for the next-generation RS Q3.

The biggest clue is the license plate information which reveals the vehicle was registered in the German city of Ingolstadt, Audi’s hometown. The lack of camouflage gear is also a major clue that the exterior is a ruse.

Prototypes for Audi’s next-generation Q3 are already testing in the wild, so it’s not unreasonable that Audi Sport is in the early stages of developing the RS version of the vehicle.

We currently expect the next-gen Q3 to debut in late 2018 or early the following year. The RS version should arrive shortly after. Expect it to match the 400-horsepower rating of the latest RS 3.