Here’s a fun fact. Many people are tempted to believe Audi carries the torch for cars powered by five-cylinder engines. However, that’s not the case as Mazda sells the BT-50 truck with an inline-five diesel. The same goes for the mechanically related Ford Ranger, with the Blue Oval’s Everest SUV and Troller T4 off-roader powered by the 3.2-liter Duratorq as well.
Getting back to Audi, the peeps from Ingolstadt have no intention to drop their sweet-sounding 2.5 TFSI engine in the foreseeable future. This is evidenced by the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback as both high-performance compact crossover feature the award-winning powertrain pushing out 394 horsepower (294 kilowatts) and 354 pound-feet (480 Newton-meters) of torque.
Gallery: Audi RS3 Hatchback Spy Shots
For the third consecutive time, the RS3 Sportback will feature the inline-five engine. Several prototypes have been spotted by Automotive Mike testing hard at the Nürburgring where Audi is working out the kinks. The potent hot hatchback should lose the little camo it still has either by late this year or early 2021. The Four Rings will show the warm S3 first, but the RS3 should not be too far behind.
Once again, the Audi RS3 Sportback will represent a step above the VW Golf R and might spawn a Performance version further down the line. While the regular model should have around 400 horses, the spicy flavor could up the power ante to nearly 450 hp, per a report from Auto Motor und Sport. That would allow Audi to reclaim the crown for the most powerful compact car it lost to the Mercedes-AMG and its bonkers 416-hp A45 S.
Meanwhile, these prototypes are showing off their wider hips and oval exhaust tips while going at full tilt at the Nordschleife. A sedan version is also on the agenda to cater to the U.S. crowd where the Sportback will remain a forbidden fruit. Audi did sell an A3 hatchback for a while, but that was the unpopular E-Tron plug-in hybrid model. A new generation of the PHEV model is on its way, although it’s too soon to say where the company indents to sell it stateside once again.