It's not every day you see a prototype taking so much abuse from a test driver.

We’ve known since February that Audi is planning to launch an RS3 Sedan, and now a near-production prototype has been caught on camera going hard on the challenging Nürburgring. In the latest lengthy spy video we are able to observe the thinly disguised car being trashed around by the test driver to gather information about the vehicle’s behavior and make the final tweaks ahead of the official launch.

The folks from Ingolstadt have not announced just yet when they will lift the veil on its high-performance compact sedan, but it might debut as early as October at the Paris Motor Show. If not, Audi will probably decide to introduce the car at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November since we know for sure the quattro-enabled RS3 Sedan is coming to United States for the 2018 model year.

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan
2018 Audi RS3 Sedan

With the exception of the RS3 Sportback, Audi gave the entire A3 lineup an A4-like facelift earlier this year in Europe and it’s now available in the U.S. as well. By not showing the five-door RS3, it might mean the company with the four-ring logo has plans to show the updated Sportback and its sedan counterpart at the same time. We know for a fact that the sedan will pack a 400-horsepower punch from the reputable 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine, so most likely the Sportback will be bumped from its current 367-hp output to match the sedan since it would be strange to have different power figures for two RS3 models.

The RS3 Sportback’s 343 pound-feet (465 Newton-meters) of torque will probably increase as well and help the car perform reach 62 mph (100 kph) sooner than the 4.3 seconds needed by the pre-facelift model. Expect just about the same level of performance from the sedan which will be a worthy adversary for the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC that completes the task in 4.2 seconds.

If you would like something bigger than the RS3 Sedan, we already know the RS4 Sedan is making a comeback and we will likely see it before the end of 2017 or early 2018.