The aggressive front bumper is another telltale sign this isn't an ordinary Q3.

With the launch of the next-generation Q3 earlier this year, you can rest assured Audi Sport will be giving the compact crossover the hot RS treatment. We have already seen our fair share of prototypes depicting the range-topping variant, and now another RS Q3 has been spotted out and about in Southern Europe.

While the partially camouflaged test vehicle is not immediately recognisable as an RS variant, there is an obvious clue at the back revealing the crossover’s true identity. The oval exhaust tips are reserved to the hottest derivative of an Audi model – in this case being the RS Q3. At the front, the vehicle was rocking the production-spec bumper and it’s easy to see the design is much more aggressive when compared to the lesser Q3 versions.

Gallery: Audi RS Q3 new spy shots

The interesting pattern of the front grille is not something we haven’t seen before, with prototypes of the much larger RS Q8 featuring a similar pattern and in the same vein as the recently facelifted R8 supercar. Chances are Audi wants to further distance the RS models from the lesser versions with this new look of its singleframe grille.

When it comes to the powertrain, there’s not much of a secrecy regarding what will power the hottest Q3 of them all. We’re talking about Audi’s beloved 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit, which should be good for at least the 400 horsepower you get in the RS3 and TT RS models.

Bear in mind the RS Q3 won’t be coming out anytime soon as first Audi has to launch the warm SQ3 with somewhere in the region of 300 hp. Expect the S version to be introduced in the months to come, quite possibly in March at the Geneva Motor Show. As for the fully fledged RS spec, it’s probably due towards the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Photos: CarPix