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.

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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