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Audi trots out hopped-up 2017 S4 and S4 Avant, only one of which will make it to the US

If anyone knows how to get the US to start buying wagons en masse, please, do your best to make it happen.

Wherever this car goes on sale, I want to go to there.


So often, us Yanks are inundated with a whole bunch of forbidden fruit -- station wagons. Stateside buyers don't like 'em, so we don't get a whole lot of 'em, which reinforces our desire for wagons, like some sort of automotive ouroboros. Audi's twisting the knife a bit this week, because alongside the new S4 sedan that will come to the US, it's rolling out the S4 Avant, a damned station wagon. Come on.

The S is Audi's midlevel performance upgrade, resting between the normal A series (A4, A5, etc.) and the hard-core RS lineup. It'll likely be a while before we learn about an RS4, if one is even coming.

The S4 adds a dollop of power on top of the standard A4 -- its 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine puts out 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to launch the S4 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds. The wagon, being heavier, takes two tenths longer to complete the sprint. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Of course, there's more on offer than just a few extra ponies. The chassis is sportier, with a 0.9-inch lower ride height, brake-based torque vectoring and available adaptive dampers. It looks the part, too, with angrier fasciae and an extra set of tailpipes. 18-inch wheels are standard, but you can bump it up to 19s if you really want to freak out about potential curb damage.

Inside, there isn't much change between the A4 and S4. Present still is the optional Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a customizable 12.3-inch screen, complementing the optional 8.3-inch infotainment screen atop the dashboard. Also present is Audi's embedded LTE modem with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, as well as both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Safety systems, there are a few. Rear cross-traffic alert is on offer, as is forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and turn assist. Its stop-and-go system will also help the driver navigate traffic jams, stopping and starting automatically at speeds up to 40 mph.

Both cars arrive in European dealers in the second half of this year. There's no word on US pricing or availability yet, but the S4 starts at €59,300 ($67,307) and the wagon will set you back €61,150 ($69,389).