Not long ago, I was crushed to hear that Audi would be dropping their excellent 4.2-liter V8 engine in the S5 for a similarly capable but less enthusiastic supercharged V6. While the forced induction V6 can haul the car along just as well as the V8, there’s just something about that engine’s smoothness, power delivery, sound, and personality that no V6 can match.
The plans were to scrap the V8 for 2011 model year in the S5, but word just came through that Audi might be reconsidering. I’ve voiced my opinion personally to an Audi product rep in the past, and he (as well as many of his Audi coworkers) agreed that the stupendous V8 could not be matched, but Audi was basing the decision on logical reasons. Since when was car enthusiasm based on logical reasoning?
Based on growing enthusiasm from consumers and enthusiasts, Audi decided it might be smart to keep the 4.2-liter V8 we all love for at least through the 2011 model year. The S5 coupe will be the primary victor here, and expect the S5 convertible (bleh) to stick to the supercharged V6 plans. That’s alright, I’ll pass on the drop-top.
Critics – argue all you want about power output and weight advantage from a smaller, forced induction engine matching or beating that of a higher displacement version, and I’ll agree with you. But you can’t argue the audio. The S5 has one of the best sounding V8s on the road, and no V6, no matter how powerful can beat that. Sound is a very important purchasing factor in performance cars, by the way.
Due to high demand in the US for smaller and more fuel efficient engines, Audi says they will be dropping the 3.2-liter V6 from the A3, A4, and TT for the 2010 model year in the States. I happen to like this smooth engine quite a bit, but the numbers show that it might not be worth it. The 2.0T engine offered in the A4 makes only 54 horsepower less power, and gets 4mpg better fuel economy than the V6. The four-cylinder also happens to get 15 lb-ft of torque more than the six.
Audi also states that there could be a possible overlap with this engine and the upcoming supercharged V6 in the S4 model. I wouldn’t see that creating any problems, but who am I to say? They hope their plans which include the A3 TDI, TT RS, and S4 will fill the gap left by the absence of the 3.2 V6.