It's a known fact that Audi will launch its last next-generation models powered by combustion engines in 2025, with every single new product coming from 2026 to be an electric vehicle. Consequently, it means the current-gen A3 is the last to offer ICE power, much like the mechanically related VW Golf. It also means the upcoming mid-cycle facelift planned for 2024 will effectively represent the final update for the petrol/diesel compact car.

By extension, you're looking at the S3's epilogue in the ICE era. The hot hatch has been caught testing hard at the Nürburgring while wearing camouflage at the front and rear to hide the changes. With Audi being mostly busy planning its electric future, it doesn't come as a big surprise the A3 won’t be going through major changes for its forthcoming facelift. We are noticing updated headlights along with a redesigned front bumper with a seemingly smaller grille.

Audi S3 Facelift Spy Photos

At the back, it looks as though the taillights have slightly different graphics while the bumper has gained a prominent centre fin for the diffuser flanked by the quad exhausts. In addition, the horizontal red reflectors mounted above the faux air vents have made way for slightly tilted vertical reflectors installed at the extremities of the bumper. These are discreet changes that only Audi enthusiasts will notice right away.

The Audi S3' VW cousin, the Golf R, will also go through a nip and tuck in 2024. We wouldn't hold our breath for a major boost in power. In fact, we won't be too surprised if the turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine will be carried over unchanged. As a refresher, the 2.0 TFSI delivers 306 bhp and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-metres) of torque to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system via a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The RS3 will also be updated next year when its bigger inline-five 2.5-litre engine with 394 bhp (401 bhp in US) could benefit from a power boost. In an interview earlier this year, Audi Sport boss Sebastian Gram hinted at a punchier 2.5 TFSI without adding electrification before the five-cylinder engine is retired. Its gradual demise has already commenced with the imminent discontinuation of the TT RS.

In the long run, the Four Rings will replace the A3 with an all-new electric compact car based on an evolution of the VW Group's omnipresent MEB platform. The next-gen model is rumoured to arrive around 2027 and eventually get both S and RS hot derivatives.