Let’s cut the chase, the badging on the Audi S4/S5 has always been confusing seeing as it uses a Supercharged V6 and then adds a 3.0T badge on the front fender. Now that problem has gone along with the supercharger. The heart of the 2017 Audi S4 models is a newly developed V6 engine with gas direct injection and turbocharging. The 3.0 TFSI has an output of 354 hp and 368.8 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,300 to 4,500 rpm.

The engine outstrips its predecessor in terms of power and torque, while offering significantly lower fuel consumption and weight. All this extra torque from the turbo engine is the reason why Audi is switching from the current model’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to an eight-speed, torque-converter automatic. Whenever the driving situation allows, it switches to freewheeling to save fuel.

Performance is obviously improved and Audi claims a 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds. We expect it to be faster considering it has shed 406 lbs.

2017 Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

Audi S4

As on every Audi S model, the power of the 3.0 TFSI is transmitted to the road by quattro permanent all-wheel drive. During normal driving, the self- locking center differential funnels 60 percent of engine torque to the rear axle and 40 percent to the front. Depending on the operating situation, it can distribute up to 70 percent to the front axle or up to 85 percent to the rear. The wheel-selective torque control based on an intelligent software function rounds off the quattro drive train. For dynamic cornering, the wheels on the inside of the bend are slightly braked before they can slip. This makes handling more precise, agile, and stable. A sport differential available as an option improves the handling further by actively distributing the forces between the rear wheels.

Suspension

The new Audi S4 and S4 Avant (not coming to the US) will able handle corners of all kinds with ease – whether on a racetrack or a mountain pass. For fast motorway driving, both models feature impressive straight-line stability. This performance is down to the newly developed suspension. The five-link suspension on the front and rear axle precisely separates the longitudinal and transverse forces, thus ensuring optimum handling in all driving situations. Like the electro-mechanical power steering, both are designed to be very lightweight. Variable speed-dependent dynamic steering is available as an option.

The standard S sport suspension is 0.9 in lower than on the basic model. The ride height is the same with the optional suspension with active damper control. Along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and sport differential, CDC dampers (CDC = continuous damping control) are included in the Audi drive select handling system which comes as standard. This enables the driver to adjust the suspension characteristics in several modes.

The standard 18 inch wheels are twin-spoke star design roll on 245/40 size tires. A 19 inch alternative is available from quattro GmbH.

Design

The S4 differentiates itself from the regular A4 by Audi’s S styling, which includes a unique front fascia, aluminum-look mirror caps, new side skirts, and a rear bumper with four exhaust tips. Inside, are leather-and-microfiber high-backed sports seats (in black, gray, or “Magma Red”), and available carbon-fiber trim. The A4’s virtual instrument cluster (which we like a lot) adds an S4-specific “Sport” view that displays a tachometer at the center.

We expect the Audi S4 will come to market by mid-2016 as a 2017 model, in Europe it will be offered both as a sedan and as an Avant (Estate). Here we make do with a sedan-only and as yet no manual transmission.

Prices should start around $50,000.