The performance model’s alloy wheels are considerably larger than any we’ve seen on A3 prototypes, and are wrapped in much lower-profile tyres. The RS3’s performance potential is further hinted at by a set of large ventilated brake discs and a pair of classic RS-style large-bore exhaust pipes.

The front end features the latest iteration of Audi’s corporate grille design, with the aggressive lower air intake styling aping that of the new RS6 flagship and facelifted RS4. 

Notable by its absence is the prominent chrome trim that featured on the sides and rear of the 2020 A3 prototype we saw most recently. It remains unclear as to whether this design element will make production for any A3 variant, but Audi’s exterior design boss Andreas Mindt has already promised ‘big-time’ exterior design changes for the model. 

Audi is yet to confirm a launch date for the RS3, but it can be expected to follow some way behind the A3, which will break cover at March’s Geneva motor show. 

Audi Sport’s line of RS performance models is as varied as it has ever been, with performance variants of the TT, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, Q3 and Q3 Sportback currently on offer. The range will soon be headed up by a new RS Q8 flagship, which is set to pack around 670bhp from the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s electrified V8. 

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