Externally, the new S trim variants get a number of ‘sporty’ design tweaks to mark them out from the standard models.
For example, on the S6, the aluminium-look horizontal splitter is styled to link the two air inlets and ends with the two winglets at the air ducts. At the rear, the S6 also features an integrated spoiler that is claimed visually extends the boot lid, while at the same time aluminium applications in the diffuser link the four S-specific tailpipe trims.
On the S7, the Singleframe grille features lamellas in aluminium and a centre section finished in dark chrome matte. The air inlets are enlarged, and their honeycomb-structure inserts come in titanium black. The blade running through them adopts an aluminium look, as do the exterior mirror housings. Other features that distinguish the four-door coupé from the S6 models are the funnels in the air inlets and the angular trim strips on the side sills.
Side-on, all three cars – S6 Saloon, S6 Avant and S7 Sportback – sit on large, 20-inch wheels as standard. They also sit lower than their regular counterparts – the S6 by 20 mm, and by 10 mm in the case of the S7.
Adaptive air suspension – the air suspension version with adjustable damping – also makes its first ever appearance on an S model. It can be set to three modes and includes a “lift” position for poor roads and automatic levelling. In the “auto” mode the body is lowered by a further 10 mm at speeds of 75 mph and above, and in the “dynamic” mode the car remains always at this low ride height.
In terms of performance, the new S models swap V8 petrol power for a V6 diesel unit that is allied to an electric compressor and a 48V mild-hybrid system.
Audi claims the V6-TDI propels the new S6 Saloon from 0-62 mph in 5.0 seconds, with the S6 Avant and S7 Sportback taking a tenth of a second longer over the standard sprint. Top speed, meanwhile, is electronically limited to 155 mph.
The new S models will be making their official debut in mainland Europe and the UK in the summer of 2019.