After a year-long absence on U.S. soil, the Audi S4 is about to return with all of the enhancements that debuted last year in the all-new B4 A4 sedan. Oh yeah, plus a screaming 3.0-liter supercharged V6 producing 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The new S4 was just added to the Audi USA website yesterday, and pricing has been revealed to start at $45,900 (*not including a destination and delivery charge of $825). At that price you get the S4 sedan with a six-speed manual transmission, while the S4 with Audi's seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch tranny starts little higher at $47,300. Despite being down two cylinders to the previous V8-powered S4, the new model hustles to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, about .4 seconds faster. It's also more fuel efficient, achieving 18 mpg city/27 highway compared to the old model's 13 mpg city/20 highway.
Audi doesn't consider the S4 an M3 competitor, but rather a perfect foil for people considering a BMW 335i or Mercedes-Benz C350. The 335i starts lower at $40,300, but offers an engine that, while sonorously sweet, produces only 300 horsepower. The C350, meanwhile, starts lower still at $39,000, but again features a 3.5-liter V6 producing only 268 horsepower. The crazy thing is that the S4, despite being more powerful than its cross-country German rivals, is more fuel efficient than them both.