40 years of Audi five-cylinder engines: the sound of fury (still) continues…

1983: five-cylinder engine triumphant in rallying: In the 1983 Corsica Rally, Audi competes for the first time with the Audi quattro A2, Group B. Its 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder inline engine produces 265 kW (360 hp) at 6,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 450 newton meters (331.90 lb-ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. At the end of the season, the Finn Hannu Mikkola wins the drivers’ title in this car. One year later, the Swede Stig Blomqvist replicates this success: he becomes world rally champion, while Audi wins the manufacturers’ world rally championship for the second time after 1982.
1983: five-cylinder engine triumphant in rallying:
In the 1983 Corsica Rally, Audi competes for the first time with the Audi quattro A2, Group B. Its 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder inline engine produces 265 kW (360 hp) at 6,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 450 newton meters (331.90 lb-ft) of torque at 4,000 rpm. At the end of the season, the Finn Hannu Mikkola wins the drivers’ title in this car. One year later, the Swede Stig Blomqvist replicates this success: he becomes world rally champion, while Audi wins the manufacturers’ world rally championship for the second time after 1982.

Every car enthusiast has this sound ringing in its ears. The roaring sound of the high revving rally engine, the raw 5 cylinder staccato when the combustion efficiency bites above 4000 rpm, the growl, the flames in the exhaust, the “pop” explosions on gearchanges, we all know it. It is the symphony of Vorsprung durch Technik, and indeed, it has been going on for decades now.

1978: five-cylinder carbureted engine: In April 1978, the five-cylinder carbureted version with an output of 85 kW (115 hp) replaces the basic twoliter four-cylinder version in the Audi 100 (C2). The new 1.9-liter unit produces maximum power at 5,400 revs and delivers 154 newton meters (113.58 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft at 3,700 rpm. The engine is used in the Audi 100 5 (C2), the Audi 80 CD (B2), the Audi Coupé GT 5S (B2) and in the Audi 100 (C3).
1978: five-cylinder carbureted engine:
In April 1978, the five-cylinder carbureted version with an output of 85 kW (115 hp) replaces the basic twoliter four-cylinder version in the Audi 100 (C2). The new 1.9-liter unit produces maximum power at 5,400 revs and delivers 154 newton meters (113.58 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft at 3,700 rpm. The engine is used in the Audi 100 5 (C2), the Audi 80 CD (B2), the Audi Coupé GT 5S (B2) and in the Audi 100 (C3).

It brings also sweet memories to your servant, when as a young journalist I sat behind the wheel of the 80 Quattro saloon, with this 5 cylinder engine roaring under his right foot. It is all magic. And indeed, here, it calls for a small celebration in these columns.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

1976: World premiere of the first Audi five-cylinder gasoline engine
1976: World premiere of the first Audi five-cylinder gasoline engine

It all started out of necessity. No room for six cylinders. No room for extra weight for the impressive, but efficient Audi. So the designers went for five. It was in 1976. The second generation Audi 100 was a car, built with state of the art solutions for lightness. Also for the engine. But it was also understood that superb performance was to be immediately achieved for the top Audi. And this was done, with this first petrol engine developing not less than 136 HP. In fact, the unit was based on the new EA 827 engine concept. This four-cylinder inline engine was used throughout the VW Group in the 1970s – in the Audi 80 and the lesser powered versions of the Audi 100, for instance. The derived 2.1-liter five-cylinder engine produced 100 kW (136 hp). A modern injection system increased efficiency and power development. Delivery of the Audi 100 5E began in March 1977. And the triumphal story begins…

1976: first five-cylinder gasoline engine in the automotive industry: In August 1976, Audi introduces the second-generation Audi 100 (C2) in Luxembourg. For the first time, power is provided by a five-cylinder gasoline engine in a model from the brand with the four rings. The fuel-injected engine with a displacement of 2,144 cc develops 110 kW (136 hp) at 5,700 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque of 185 newton meters (136.45 lb-ft) is available at 4,200 rpm. The market launch of the Audi 100 (C2) follows in March 1977. From September 1979, the five-cylinder engine is also available in the Audi 200; from August 1982, it is fitted in the successor to the C2, the Audi 100 C3.
1976: first five-cylinder gasoline engine in the automotive industry:
In August 1976, Audi introduces the second-generation Audi 100 (C2) in Luxembourg. For the first time, power is provided by a five-cylinder gasoline engine in a model from the brand with the four rings. The fuel-injected engine with a displacement of 2,144 cc develops 110 kW (136 hp) at 5,700 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque of 185 newton meters (136.45 lb-ft) is available at 4,200 rpm. The market launch of the Audi 100 (C2) follows in March 1977. From September 1979, the five-cylinder engine is also available in the Audi 200; from August 1982, it is fitted in the successor to the C2, the Audi 100 C3.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Power…

In 1979, the first turbocharged five-cylinder gasoline engine made its debut – another pioneering feat from Audi. With an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and 265 newton meters (195.45 lb-ft) of torque, it powered the new top model, the Audi 200 5T.

1980: five-cylinder gasoline engine with turbocharger and intercooler: In 1980 at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi unveils the Audi quattro (B2), known as the “Ur-quattro” from the mid-1990s. It uses the powerplant from the Audi 200 5T (C2), but features an intercooler. As a result, the turbocharged engine achieves a higher output of 147 kW (200 hp) at 5,500 revolutions per minute and 285 newton meters (210.21 lb-ft) of torque at 3,500 rpm. The body of the Audi quattro is based on the Audi Coupe (B2), which in turn is based on the Audi 80. Flared fenders, bulkier bumpers and sills as well as a larger rear spoiler distinguish the Audi quattro from the Coupe.
1980: five-cylinder gasoline engine with turbocharger and intercooler:
In 1980 at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi unveils the Audi quattro (B2), known as the “Ur-quattro” from the mid-1990s. It uses the powerplant from the Audi 200 5T (C2), but features an intercooler. As a result, the turbocharged engine achieves a higher output of 147 kW (200 hp) at 5,500 revolutions per minute and 285 newton meters (210.21 lb-ft) of torque at 3,500 rpm. The body of the Audi quattro is based on the Audi Coupe (B2), which in turn is based on the Audi 80. Flared fenders, bulkier bumpers and sills as well as a larger rear spoiler distinguish the Audi quattro from the Coupe.

The five-cylinder gasoline engine in the 1980 Audi “Ur-quattro” had even more to offer. With turbocharging, an intercooler and permanent four-wheel drive, it constituted a powerful technical package for the racetrack and the road. Initially, it delivered 147 kW (200 hp). In 1983, the Finn Hannu Mikkola won the drivers’ title in the World Rally Championship in this car. In the same year, Audi introduced the wide-track Sport quattro, which was 24 centimeters (9.45 inches) shorter. It was powered by a newly developed four-valve five-cylinder unit made of aluminum with an output of 225 kW (306 hp). It made the Sport quattro the most powerful car built to date by a German company for use on public roads. The model formed the basis for a new Group B rally car, with the four-valve powerplant delivering 331 kW (450 hp) from the very start. It was used for the first time in the penultimate race of 1984, the Ivory Coast rally… and made the legend heard to anyone who just had ears…

1989: most powerful five-cylinder works engine in motorsport: At the 1989 IMSA GTO in the USA, the Audi 90 quattro competes in its races with the most powerful fivecylinder works engine. The turbocharged aluminum engine is a 2.2-liter high-performance unit specially designed for racing. It develops 530 kW (720 hp) at 7,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 720 newton meters (531.04 lb-ft) of torque at 6,000 rpm. Overall, the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO wins seven races in the American touring car series in the 1989 season.
1989: most powerful five-cylinder works engine in motorsport:
At the 1989 IMSA GTO in the USA, the Audi 90 quattro competes in its races with the most powerful fivecylinder works engine. The turbocharged aluminum engine is a 2.2-liter high-performance unit specially designed for racing. It develops 530 kW (720 hp) at 7,500 revolutions per minute and delivers 720 newton meters (531.04 lb-ft) of torque at 6,000 rpm. Overall, the Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO wins seven races in the American touring car series in the 1989 season.

Even after Audi withdrew from rallying in 1986 there were other racing highlights: in 1987, Walter Röhrl won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb (USA) in the Audi Sport quattro S1 (E2). The racing car developed 440 kW (598 hp). And the IMSA GTO excelled on the US touring car scene in 1989, delivering 530 kW (720 hp) – from little more than two liters of displacement.

Audi presented another milestone in automotive history at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main in 1989: the Audi 100 TDI. It was the first production car with a five-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged diesel engine and fully electronic control. The powerplant generated 88 kW (120 hp) from a displacement of 2.5 liters.

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.

2010: Audi TT RS in races: In 2010, Audi starts its motorsport activities with the TT RS. The racing car developed for endurance racing is powered by the five-cylinder engine from the production model. Following improvements to the intercooler and exhaust system, the powerplant delivers 280 kW (380 hp) at 5,800 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque of 500 newton meters (368.78 lb-ft) develops at 2,500 rpm. In the VLN Endurance Championship of 2010 and 2011, the frontwheel-drive racing car notches up several victories in the SP4T class up to 2.5 liters’ capacity. In August 2011, it clinches overall victory in the 6-hour race on the Nürburgring. Audi achieves further success with the TT RS in the 24-hour race in the Eifel in 2011, where it takes class victory.
2010: Audi TT RS in races:
In 2010, Audi starts its motorsport activities with the TT RS. The racing car developed for endurance racing is powered by the five-cylinder engine from the production model. Following improvements to the intercooler and exhaust system, the powerplant delivers 280 kW (380 hp) at 5,800 revolutions per minute. The maximum torque of 500 newton meters (368.78 lb-ft) develops at 2,500 rpm. In the VLN Endurance Championship of 2010 and 2011, the frontwheel-drive racing car notches up several victories in the SP4T class up to 2.5 liters’ capacity. In August 2011, it clinches overall victory in the 6-hour race on the Nürburgring. Audi achieves further success with the
TT RS in the 24-hour race in the Eifel in 2011, where it takes class victory.

Then in 2009 there was a big comeback – with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection in the Audi TT RS. The transverse-mounted engine developed by quattro GmbH produced 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2.5 liters. It also offered outstanding performance in the RS 3 Sportback and in the RS Q3. The TT RS plus, which Audi presented in 2012, mustered up an impressive 265 kW (360 hp). Today, the 2.5 TFSI in the Audi TT RS produces 294 kW (400 hp). An international jury of motoring journalists has voted the five-cylinder powerplant “Engine of the Year” seven times in a row since 2010.

2015: 2.5 TFSI with gasoline direct injection, turbocharger and intercooler: In the summer of 2015, the second-generation RS 3 Sportback* appears – the most powerful car in the premium compact segment with an output of 270 kW (367 hp). The combination of turbocharging and direct injection permits a high compression ratio of 10:1 and correspondingly good efficiency. The five-cylinder inline engine delivers a maximum of 465 newton meters (342.97 lb-ft) to the crankshaft. This torque is available from as low as 1,625 revolutions per minute and remains constant up to 5,550 rpm. Since spring 2016, Audi has been using the optimized version of the powerplant in the Audi RS Q3 performance* too.
2015: 2.5 TFSI with gasoline direct injection, turbocharger and intercooler:
In the summer of 2015, the second-generation RS 3 Sportback* appears – the most powerful car in the premium compact segment with an output of 270 kW (367 hp). The combination of turbocharging and direct injection permits a high compression ratio of 10:1 and correspondingly good efficiency. The five-cylinder inline engine delivers a maximum of 465 newton meters (342.97 lb-ft) to the crankshaft. This torque is available from as low as 1,625 revolutions per minute and remains constant up to 5,550 rpm. Since spring 2016, Audi has been using the optimized version of the powerplant in the Audi RS Q3 performance* too.

Those who would like to see the first Audi with a five-cylinder engine can currently do so at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm. The classic car exhibition entitled “From zero to 100” features numerous exhibits, which Audi uses to look back at the eventful history of its successful model. One of the first five-cylinder TDI units from a 1989 Audi 100 is also on display. The exhibition runs until November 6, 2016.

We just invite you here to look at some iconic pictures…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

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