It has been hard to pinpoint just what will power the much-anticipated Audi RS5 and next-generation Audi RS4 models. With the S4’s impending move to a six-cylinder supercharged 3.0-TFSI and the current S5 running an FSI V8, we know that Audi is pushing for variation between the two similarily sized S-cars. Then, just last week a report from Car Magazine suggested Audi will opt for an even more-powerful 3.0 TFSI in the RS4 – paraphrasing a discussion their writer had with an un-named Audi executive over dinner at a new model launch in Valencia Spain. If this is right, then it marks a significant change for the RS4 and opens up the further question of differentiation between the upcoming RS offerings. With so many rumors flying around, we began to put together what we knew and put those questions to a wide list of contacts. And oh yeah, we were also headed to Valencia so we figured we’d ask around. Below is a summary of what we found.
First and foremost, the cars will use the same engine. While Audi sees the S5 and S4 as being different models for different customers and thus worth going through the trouble of developing two powerplants, this won’t be the case for RS4 and RS5. There just isn’t enough volume to make a business case and RS customers are looking for the ultimate offering – one new engine will suffice.
We’ve known the RS4 is coming for a while now. There’ve been rumors in the press, assumptions based on market demand and the release of a new BMW M3 that raises the bar in the segment. However, a mention by quattro GmbH boss Stephan Reil during an interview caused us to come the conclusion that the model was in stone.
So what of forced induction? CAR says the 3.0 TFSI in the form of an even more potent iteration that’d have to be at least 420-hp to match the outgoing model. While a turbocharged system was developed for this motor, we’re ruling out both forced induction options. We’re told specifically on the turbos there are packaging issues, especially in smaller applications of the MLB such as the A4 and A5 on which these two new RS cars are based.
Without naming our source, we solidly believe the notion of one engine to be credible. A move to a forced-induction V6 in the RS5 as compared to the V8-powered S5 doesn’t make much sense. Given the news from a magazine as reliable as CAR, this just raised more questions for us.
So we flat out put it to an executive over dinner and the answer was surprising. The RS4 and RS5 will get a high-revving engine like the outgoing RS4. The high-rev applications in the R8 and B7-generation RS4 have impressed Audi’s engine development teams and they wish to continue in that direction with the next-gen of Audi’s hottest models. First comes a high-revving V10 in the R8 this fall, then an assumed V8 in the RS4 and RS5.
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