Audi 5 cylinder engine. Three things you didn’t know

Audi five-cylinder engine
Audi five-cylinder engine

With it’s successful deployment in motorsport and it’s characteristic sound, Audi’s 5-cylinder engine has played a vital role in Audi’s history.

Audi five-cylinder engine
Audi 5-cylinder engine as seen in the RS2

The Audi 5-cylinder engine has achieved cult status. 40 years ago, Audi presented the first 5-cylinder petrol engine in the second-generation Audi 100. Enhancements and new developments followed, with turbocharging, emissions control and four-valve technology, rally engines and 5-cylinder diesel units. Here’s three facts you may not know about the Audi 5-cylinder engine.

In 1978, Audi presented it’s first 5-cylinder diesel engine.

In 1978, Audi presented its first diesel model for the Audi 100 (C2). The 5-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with a displacement of two litres developed 51 kW (70 hp) and 123 newton meters (90.72 lb-ft) of torque. It also powered the next-generation C3, propelling both the sedans and the Avant versions. From 1984, there was a turbocharged engine with an output of 64 kW (87 hp) and 172 newton meters (126.86 lb-ft) of torque.

In 1989, Audi developed a 2.2-litre high-performance unit developing 530 kW (720 hp) at 7,500 revolutions per minute and delivering 720 newton meters (531.04 lb-ft) of torque at 6,000 rpm.

At the 1989 IMSA GTO in the USA, the Audi 90 quattro featured the most powerful 5-cylinder engine at the time. The turbocharged aluminium engine was a 2.2-litre high-performance unit with 530 kW (720 hp) at 7,500 revolutions per minute and 720 newton meters (531.04 lb-ft) of torque at 6,000 rpm. Overall, the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO won seven races in the American touring car series in the 1989 season.

An international jury of motoring journalists voted the 5-cylinder powerplant “Engine of the Year” seven times in a row since 2010.

1994 saw the five-cylinder units bow out of the B segment, when the Audi A4 (B5) was introduced. They were gradually replaced in the mid-1990s by the new V6 engines. The last five-cylinder engines, the 2.5 TDI in the Audi A6 and the 2.3 Turbo in the Audi S6, were phased out in 1997.

30 years after the first 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine was presented, Audi re-introduced a model with a 5-cylinder gasoline engine and turbocharger at the Geneva Motor Show: the TT RS. The powerplant delivered 250 kW (340 hp) at 6,500 revolutions per minute from 2,480 cc and 450 newton meters (331.90 lb-ft) at 5,300 rpm. Today, the 2.5 TFSI in the Audi RS 3 Sportback and in the Audi TT RS carries on the great tradition of 5-cylinder powerplants. The unit has been voted “Engine of the Year” seven times in a row by an international jury of motoring journalists.

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By Simon D

About the author: Car enthusiast from an early age. Creator of Cars Interest. Current ride: Porsche Boxster 987.2.