With the B9-generation Audi RS4 Avant facelift having been spotted running winter tests last month, it is now the turn of its milder S4 Avant sibling to run passes in front of our spy photographers’ lenses, in forthcoming facelift guise. True to form, this ‘S’ version Audi is visually more subdued compared to the headlining RS variants, though with the requisite detail changes for the update.

As with other facelifted A4 test mules we’ve seen, the S4 gets a broader, flatter “singleframe” grille, flanked by a pair of redesigned trapezoidal headlights (now without the kink on the lower edge) – bringing the car in line with the latest design language sported by the new A6, A7 and A8. The side air intakes are also larger than before, whilst retaining the U-shaped inserts of the outgoing model.

The tail lamp assemblies on the S4 Avant test vehicle mimic those on the RS4 facelift mule, albeit with a less aggressive rear bumper and quad exhaust outlets instead of large oval ones which signify RS models. Winter wheel-and-tyre combination notwithstanding, the S4 will likely get wheel designs measuring up to 19 inches in diameter, compared to the 20-inch set on the RS4. Suspension tune should be unique to the S4, too.

Powertrain is expected to remain for a mid-lifecycle update, which in this case means the retention of the 3.0 litre turbocharged petrol V6 which produced 354 hp and 500 Nm of torque in pre-facelift B9 S4 guise. Meanwhile, Europe has just received a new 3.0 litre turbodiesel making 347 PS and 700 Nm, and that should remain with the facelift. Drive is sent to all fours via an eight-speed torque converter automatic.