For gearheads born after inauguration of Bill Clinton, Audi performance may be defined by the rear-engined R8 and the ferocious, high-revving V-8s of the RS4 and RS5, but for those of us thinner of hair and broader of belly, Audi performance was defined by the epic Quattro coupe, and its string of rally victories. Five-cylinder performance is still alive and well in Ingolstadt, as spy shots of this RS3 wagon on the Nürburgring attest.
Other giveaways that this is likely the ultra-high-performance variant are open vents in the front fascia, which are usually closed off in the slightly tamer S3 variant. The front brakes’ generous diameter also suggest this is an RS3.
With the discontinuation of the TT RS in the U.S. market for the 2014 model year, Audi is without a five-cylinder model in the States, and there’s a good likelihood that the RS3 wagon will not make the trans-Atlantic journey either. However, with the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG being offered in the U.S., there’s a chance the upcoming A3 sedan could be offered in ultra-high-performance RS3 guise.
Another possibility the U.S. could see for a hi-po five-cylinder Audi is an RS Q3 in the crossover-hungry states. While we’d love the idea of a hot wagon, we think we could be satisfied with a 350+ hp compact crossover.