There's a new generation of the Audi A3 in the works, and once again it will spawn sporty S3 and high-performance RS 3 variants.

A prototype for the RS 3 in Sportback hatchback guise has been spotted for the first time, revealing many clues about the new performance compact. An RS 3 sedan should also be in the works and will likely end up the sole RS 3 body style offered in the United States, just like with the current generation.

The new A3 represents more of a major update of the current generation than a true redesign, and this will very much be the case for the RS 3 variant.

Expect the model to continue with a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5, though we could see output exceed the current model's 400 horsepower now that Mercedes-AMG's latest compacts are delivering as much as 416 hp. A dual-clutch transmission and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system should also form part of the package.

2022 Audi RS 3 Sportback spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Audi RS 3 Sportback spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We know this prototype is for the RS 3 because of the enlarged intakes at the front, the flared wheel arches, massive wheel and tire combo, and the signature pair of oval exhausts at the rear.

The final design should resemble the recently revealed—and U.S.-bound—RS 6 Avant, but on a smaller scale.

The new A3 is expected to debut in early 2020 as a 2021 model. The RS 3 should trail it by about a year.

Potential rivals for the RS 3 include AMG's new 45 series, as well as the BMW M2 and possibly a future CT4-V Blackwing from Cadillac.