Bigger air vents and a redesigned front grille are additional clues pointing towards the direction of a performance version.

So you’re a fan of the Audi S3 but you want a little bit more ground clearance? The SQ2 is going to combine the hot hatch’s engine with a crossover’s typical jacked-up suspension. Seen here undergoing testing is a work-in-progress prototype already showing the quad exhaust tips similar to the ones of the S3 Sportback and Sedan.

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The swirly disguise applied onto the rear bumper is a sign some design changes will be made for the SQ2 (name not confirmed) and we can easily see the cutouts at both sides of the bumper to make room for the exhaust finishers. It’s a similar story at the front where the bumper is also covered in camouflage to conceal what will likely be bigger air vents. Despite the mascara, we can observe the central area of the front bumper, right below the updated grille, has been altered as well compared to the lesser Q2 versions.

Audi SQ2 spy photo
Audi Q8 Concept: Detroit 2017

It looks like Audi will also fiddle with the front grille by giving it several vertical slats in the same vein as the ones seen on the Q8 concept back in January during the Detroit Auto Show. It could be a clue that future performance crossovers from Audi will carry this type of grille and maybe it will be expanded to other body styles offered by Audi Sport.

With the exception of the newly launched rear-wheel-drive R8 V10 RWS, all products available from Audi’s go-faster division come with a Quattro setup and the SQ2 will certainly have the all-paw configuration as well. Power will be provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine taken from the S3 models where it pumps out 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet (380 Newton-meters) of torque.

With Audi announcing plans for an expanded RS portfolio with a focus on crossovers, maybe there will be an RS Q2 further down the line. If that’s going to be the case, it will use a five-cylinder 2.5-liter mill taken from the RS3 Sportback and Sedan - both rated at 400 hp and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm).

Meanwhile, expect to see the SQ2 in its production metal in March 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show or even sooner online.

Photos: Automedia

 

Audi SQ2 new spy images