Audi will leap back into the performance sedan market with its e-turbocharged 2017 RS4

Audi-RS4_2008_sedan front angle

Audi’s high performance RS4 sedan will reportedly return sometime early next year, according to a new report from AutoCar.

Recent news regarding Audi’s RS4 made it seem that European buyers would only have access to an estate version of the B9 generation sometime in the next year or so, and that if the model came to the U.S. at all, it might ship as a four-door coupe.

Now, Horst Glaser, Audi’s head of chassis development, has said that demand has shifted the next generation of RS4 to earlier in the production cycle, and in both sedan and avant body styles for European buyers. U.S. consumers will most likely have access to the sedan only.

As for what will appear under the 2017 RS4’s hood, it’s estimated that a higher spec version of the 2016 S4’s electric turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 will serve up around 500 horsepower. That signifies a big jump over the B8 RS4’s 444 horsepower and even more than the last RS4 sedan’s 420 horses. The e-turbocharged V6 will replace the 4.2-liter V8 of the previous generation RS4 and should help the model cut weight. By comparison, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S develops 503 HP while the 2015 BMW M3 makes 425 HP.

The reintroduction of a sedan variant is driven by demand from the U.S. and China for high performance four-doors. With more players staged to enter the market in the next couple years, including the Jaguar XE SVR and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi is under pressure to defend its performance pedigree and offer a more subtle super-sedan than its rivals.

While most of the competition will introduce their range-topping sport sedans with both manual and automatic transmissions, Audi’s recent trend has been to eliminate manual-equipped models. Other Audi performance cars like the R8 and TT-RS have or will soon lose their standard transmissions, so expect the 2017 RS sedan to go on sale with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox exclusively.

The 2017 Audi RS4 will likely debut at the 2016 New York Auto Show.