The next-generation Audi Q3 was most recently spotted running trials last month, and judging by the sighting of what appears to be the new RS Q3, it seems like Audi is aiming to release its high-performance range-topper not long after the new model range’s debut.

The heart and most likely the centre of the new RS Q3’s attraction is its powerplant, which our spy photographers have observed to sound like a five-cylinder from the RS3. Given that the current RS Q3 made 367 hp and 465 Nm of torque, this upcoming iteration is expected to come closer to the 400 hp mark, which is the output figure of the RS3 hot hatch.

Thus equipped, the next-generation RS Q3 can be expected to dispatch the 0-100 km/h run quicker than the 4.4 seconds elapsed by the current RS Q3 performance, as well as likely surpassing that car’s 270 km/h top speed. Driveline will naturally be all-wheel-drive, most probably mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Changes compared to the standard Q3 and the middling SQ3 versions will include uprated (and lowered) suspension, and more visibly the ceramic brake setup with six-piston calipers on the front axle, the latter not fitted to the SQ3. These will be housed in larger wheels, and will help distinguish the RS model from lesser variants along with contrasting side mirror covers.