Audi is dead set on launching only EVs from 2026 but there’s still time to update its compact performance cars one last time. Our spies got up close and personal with an upcoming facelift the Four Rings are preparing for the S3 and the RS3. Although both have been spotted testing as sedans, previous hatchback prototypes have revealed the five-door Sportback is also getting a nip and tuck. In typical Ingolstadt fashion, the changes are subtle.
Ok, so what’s different? Starting at the front, the headlights peeking through the camo have a new LED signature with a plethora of upper-mounted parallelograms of different sizes. The lights now flank an updated grille with different patterns, depending on the model. The S3’s grille frankly makes us think of a Hyundai Elantra N. On the RS3, the angled vertical slats between the lower air intake and the side vents seem to be gone, therefore giving the bumper a cleaner look.
Audi S3 Sedan and RS3 Sedan facelift spy photos
Because this is only a mid-cycle update, the profile will essentially be carried over, although Audi could spice things up with new wheel designs and fresh colors. At the back, the S3 will soldier on with its quad exhaust tips while the beefier RS3 is going to retain its signature pair of oval exhausts. Both appear to have new taillight graphics and slightly tilted vertical red reflectors instead of the current model’s horizontal setup.
It remains to be seen whether there will be any changes underneath the hood. The Audi S3 certainly deserves more power considering it has 310 hp in Europe and only 306 hp. The reason we’re bringing this up is because the less fancy Volkswagen Golf R is offered with as much as 329 hp in Europe. It just doesn’t seem right for VW to outpunch its nicer Audi sibling.
As for the RS3, Audi has hinted it could receive an uprated five-cylinder engine. In an interview earlier this year, Audi Sport boss Sebastian Grams said: “We will increase the five-cylinder for the next step. We will improve that.” Meanwhile, the RS3 makes 401 hp, so perhaps a final upgrade before the five-cylinder mill bows out will eclipse AMG’s bonkers 416-hp engine.
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