Audi is currently putting the finishing touches to the next-generation A3 model, and it appears that the range-topping RS3 model is also close to being production ready. This particular RS3 test mule is of the five-door hatch model, but it’s understood that a sedan version may also be offered as well, just like the existing line-up.

Even in its fully camouflaged form, the RS3 looks promising as is, with a pair of jagged LED headlights, shorter six-pointed Singleframe grille, strong shoulder line and lower moulding, fat wheels, as well as slim LED tail lights. Traditional RS cues include black side mirror caps, black radiator grille surrounds, and large dual oval exhaust pipes.

Little is known of the A3/S3/RS3’s cabin, but expect the latest-generation Audi virtual cockpit to be featured here. The centre dash will likely get an integrated 10.1-inch infotainment system (much like the new Q3) as opposed to a freestanding unit, and the RS3 will get the usual array of sporty equipment such as race bucket seats, RS steering wheel and RS badges/graphics.

With BMW out of the mega hatch game, it’s up to Audi to take on the W177 Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4Matic+. Technical details still remain a company secret for now, but the new RS3 is tipped to receive the same 2.5 litre five-cylinder TFSI engine as the outgoing model, which in its current setup makes 400 hp and 480 Nm of torque. The A 45 S’ 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine makes a heady 421 hp and 500 Nm of torque, so Audi needn’t do much to match those figures.

Besides being more powerful, the new RS3 should also see improvements made to efficiency, and consequently, emissions. Engine start-stop technology should be standard, but whether or not the powertrain will be augmented with a 12-volt or 48-volt mild-hybrid system remains to be seen. Expect other mechanical upgrades such as uprated suspension, stiffer chassis, and bigger brakes.

The next-generation Audi A3 will make its world debut in March 2020, so it won’t be long till we get to see Audi’s new compact model. What would you like to see in the S3 and RS3 models, guys?