Spy shots may hint at an RS3 prototype - or something more?
First revealed in Europe last year, the 2022 Audi RS3 performance sedan recently arrived at dealerships in the US and is ready to tear up the streets with its 401-horsepower turbocharged five-cylinder engine.
Despite being so new on the market, it appears Audi is already preparing a facelift for its smallest RS model. The CarBuzz spy photographers captured a camouflaged prototype testing alongside a Lamborghini Huracan, which may or may not be a coincidence.
The most likely explanation for this test mule is that Audi is working on a mid-cycle refresh for the A3 lineup, including the S3 and RS3. It seems a bit early for such an update, so we wonder if Audi has something else up its sleeve.
Even with camouflage covering the front and rear bumpers plus the side skirts, we can spot several changes compared to the existing RS3. The grille shape is slightly different, and the mesh appears to have a diamond pattern rather than the current hexagons. Audi seems to have positioned its four-ring emblem a bit higher on the grille, and the lower bumper may also be modified.
At the back, the changes are harder to spot due to the thicker camo, but we believe the rear bumper and diffuser are altered in some way. This prototype rides on 10-spoke that aren't currently available on the RS3, though it's impossible to say if these are only for testing.
We couldn't get close enough to snap any interior photos, but we predict the RS3 might receive some updates to the cabin to justify a mid-cycle refresh.
The current RS3 is already up-to-date with Audi's latest infotainment technology, so we aren't sure what else could be changed in terms of technology. If we spot Audi testing the A3 or S3, perhaps we can glean more information about what the German automaker has in store for the model line.
It seems unlikely at this point, but we wouldn't be surprised if Audi is already developing a final send-off for this generation RS3, as it will likely be the last gas-powered model before an electric A3 arrives in 2027.
The RS3 is already one of the top performers in its class, but perhaps Audi could give it a performance upgrade with a more powerful engine, larger brakes, stickier tires, and other improvements. But this test mule doesn't clearly demonstrate any meaningful differences on the exterior, so this is purely a guess.
Since the RS3 is so new, we don't expect to see official announcements on a facelift for a long time.