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A Five-Cylinder Supercar??? Audi Pondering Five-Cylinder Engine For Future Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracan

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On: Tue, May 26, 2015 at 10:28AM | By: Carl Malek


A Five-Cylinder Supercar??? Audi Pondering Five-Cylinder Engine For Future Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracan

In a bid to comply with ever tightening fuel emissions, Audi could perhaps be taking a radical and ambitious step to meet these targets by equipping the Audi R8 and its sister car, the Lamborghini Huracan, with a five-cylinder engine, a move that could cause shockwaves in the supercar segment if rumors from inside the company are proven true.

While the current duo's V10 power plants certainly deliver the thrilling performance specs and world-class soundtrack that many enthusiasts and well-heeled buyers expect. They also are quite thirsty, and would not be able to meet future legislation that demands higher fuel economy and reduced emissions from automakers. Typically a V6 engine or a revamped V8 would help improve efficiency and also help the company reduce displacement-based taxes in some parts of the globe; however, it appears Audi is thinking even further into the future and is possibly trying to find the smallest engine configuration possible that would allow enhanced fuel economy gains while still matching or exceeding the current V10's overall horsepower output.

The company appeared to hint that a five-cylinder solution is indeed in the works when it unveiled the one-off TT Clubsport Turbo Concept at Volkswagen's annual gathering in Wörthersee, Austria. The concept featured a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine which uses a pair of electrically driven compressors to help produce 600 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque with much of that available from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. To put that potential performance equation into perspective, the 5.2-liter V10 in the current generation Huracan delivers only one extra horsepower and makes 63 lb-ft fewer torque versus the five-cylinder. The V10 in the Audi R8 makes 610 horsepower (more than the five-cylinder) but also less torque and the power gain is only available in the top tier "Plus" trim.

The switch (if it happens) would also allow the company to follow through on its promise to introduce the electric compressor technology to its full suite of production vehicles with Audi Quattro Head, Heinz Peter Hollerwerger, claiming in a statement toCar and Driver, "Electric boosting would be necessary for any smaller motor even if it's turbocharged." However, Hollenwerger also revealed a key weakness of the revolutionary technology. "The problem with electric boosting is that this type of battery is much heavier and the weight disadvantage of the battery has to be countered by the performance gain."

It will be interesting to see if Audi engineers can correct this key problem and make the system much more viable for production vehicles. The switch to a smaller engine would benefit multiple markets, but will be particularly important in the booming Chinese market where vehicles with a displacement of 4.0 liters or more are hit with a 40-percent consumption tax. A switch to a motor below that 4.0-liter threshold could eliminate this tax, and allow Audi and Lamborghini's offerings to be more accessible to consumers in that country.

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