At the world launch of the sub-compact SUV in Zurich last week, Audi allowed journalists to drive a prototype model featuring the engine from the TT RS Coupe and RS 3.
The 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI engine produces 228kW of power which is detuned from the TT RS with 250kW and the A3 RS with 258kW. Torque is expected to be about 450Nm.
Whatever the final figures, it shames the 155kW in the four-cylinder TFSI "hot" model which arrives in Australia about this time next year. The prototype is wicked-fast with a howling note, quattro drive, seven-speed S tronic transmission and S Line sports suspension.
Matthias Nothling, spokesman for Audi's performance arm, quattro GmbH, says the prototype is designed to show the potential for the Q3.
But will it go into production?
"Not this year," he says.
"It's not been decided yet. We don't even have a name for it." Nothling says no other mechanical changes were made to the Q3 prototype, except to install the engine.
"It's got the same suspension as the S Line," he says. "It shows how a Q3 can perform.
"We just wanted to show that the four-cylinder engine is not the end of the Q3's potential."
He says there are no other Q3 derivatives planned yet. "We are just at the beginning of the Q3's life," he says.