A new generation of the Audi A3 was unveiled in March, and like its predecessors the car will spawn sporty S3 and high-performance RS 3 variants.
A prototype for the new RS 3 in sedan guise has been spotted for the first time, revealing many clues about the new performance compact. Prototypes for the RS 3 Sportback hatch are also out testing though we're unlikely to see this model 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, with both generations utilizing the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform. This will also be true for the new RS 3.
2022 Audi RS 3 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
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.
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.
We can't see the interior in any of the shots but previous generations of the RS 3 point to body-hugging sport seats sitting up front and a flat-bottom steering wheel positioned in front of the driver.
2021 Audi A3 Sportback
We also know from the new A3 that there will be a digital instrument cluster, a large touchscreen for the infotainment system that can recognize letters entered by hand and responds to natural-speak instructions, and a color head-up display. A performance data recorder might also make it into the new RS 3.
The new A3 is expected to reach the U.S. later this year as a 2021 model. The RS 3 should trail it by six months to a year, meaning we'll likely see it arrive as a 2022 model.
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.