Caught undergoing testing near the Nürburgring, the performance-oriented model is distinguished by a unique front fascia which features a revised grille and sportier air intakes. The prototype has also been equipped with large five-spoke alloy wheels that are backed up by a beefier braking system. The crossover also sports a four-tailpipe exhaust system which is a clear sign this isn’t your ordinary Q3.
Photographers couldn’t get close enough to snap interior photos but the cabin will likely echo the standard model. This means we can expect a new steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster and an improved infotainment system. Drivers should also find new switchgear, metallic accents and a host of modern driver assistance systems.
Turbocharged four-cylinder with over 300 hp
Under the hood, there should be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces around 306 hp (310 PS / 228 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm) of torque. It will likely be paired to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and a quattro all-wheel drive system.
There’s no word on how fast the crossover will be but the S3 Sportback uses a similar setup and it can run from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.6 seconds before hitting a limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Of course, the crossover will likely weigh significantly more than the hatchback.
The Audi Q3 will go into production later this year so we can expect the S Q3 will follow shortly thereafter.
Need more power? There’s an RS Q3 for that
While the S Q3 is nothing to sneeze at, it appears Audi is already working on a new RS Q3. The high-performance crossover was recently spotted undergoing testing on the Nürburgring and it looks identical to the S Q3.
Despite seeming to suggest the models are one in the same, our spy photographer is pretty confident the crossover is the RS Q3 as it was being tested alongside an RS3 and both models sounded identical. The spy shooter also notes the crossover appeared to have carbon ceramic discs backed up by six-piston calipers up front.
It’s impossible to be 100% certain that this is an RS Q3 prototype but it wouldn’t be the first time the Q3 has received an RS variant. Two years ago, Audi introduced an even more powerful RS Q3 Performance which features a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine producing 362 hp (270 kW / 367 PS) and 343 lb-ft (465 Nm) of torque. It enables the model to rocket from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.4 seconds before hitting a top speed of 270 km/h (167 mph).
Those are some impressive figures but the new RS Q3 is expected to use the RS3’s engine which develops 394 hp (294 kW / 400 PS) and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) of torque. The extra power should enable the new model to easily outrun its predecessor.