New hot Audi SQ3 on the way

There’s an all-new version of the Audi Q3 on the way – and now our spy photographers have snapped evidence that a hot SQ3 won’t be far behind it.

The current Q3 is one of the oldest models in the VW Group’s line-up; indeed, it still sits on a platform (PQ35) that shares many components with the Mk5 VW Golf. So the new Q3 will move across to the MQB A1 architecture – and this, in turn, opens up a new range of transmissions and engines for the model, as well as the prospect of electrification.

These pics show that the line-up will include at least one performance variant: the SQ3. It’s likely to take advantage of the forthcoming Q3’s larger footprint to help with stability and handling – and to get a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing around 306bhp, as seen in the S3 hatchback. Expect it to be a dual-clutch automatic only, and to feature quattro all-wheel drive as standard.

The spy pics show again how the next Q3 will get a longer wheelbase than the current car, helping to improve cabin accommodation, especially for rear-seat passengers. They also show how the SQ3 will get a modified front bumper with deeper air intakes and a lower splitter, and a pair of twin-tailpipe exhausts at the rear end.

The SQ3 is likely to be joined by an RS Q3, giving the VW Group a viable rival for the next generation of MercedesAMG GLA 45. Audi’s performance division will have a choice of possible engines for such a vehicle; the five-cylinder turbocharged motor from the RS3 is the most likely option, although the VW Group is also working on a range of four-cylinder powerplants that could offer up to 400bhp.

The new Q3 is due to arrive in showrooms before the end of this year. We’d expect the SQ3 to follow within six months of that car’s launch – and for the RSQ3 to be in dealerships by the start of 2020.

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