Spied: 2013 Audi S3 Hatchback

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New photos of the upcoming 2013 Audi S3 hatchback show the mule testing somewhere in the hot desert.

New spy shots show the upcoming next-generation Audi S3 mule testing in the hot desert before it's expected to join the new 2013 A3 line-up late next year. The prototype seen here is a three-door hatch, but the new A3 range will also be offered as a five-door Sportback and (for the first time) a four-door sedan. There is also the possibility that any of these other bodystyles could also be available in S3 form. Transmission choices should include a standard six-speed manual and an S tronic dual clutch.

Under the hood, the S3 is expected to be powered by a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivering an output of 260 to 280hp, which is not a significant upgrade from the current model's 261 horses. The new S3, however, is expected to be much lighter than the outgoing model. A quad exhaust tailpipe arrangement on this particular mule confirms that it's a performance model, but the 2013 A3 range will be offered with a number of different powertrain types including a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and possibly an all-electric e-tron drive system within the distant future.

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The 2013 Audi A3 will be making its official debut next year at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, with the new S3 to follow shortly - possibly at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Photos coutesy of Carmagazine.

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