Audi S4

Audi To Downsize Engines To Increase Fuel Economy

As BMW had hinted at, Audi will do, and in a lot of ways, this makes total sense for a company like Audi. Audi has been cranking out some great engines for a while now. Just look back to the V8 that they crammed into the engine bay of the 2004 S4. Shoot, Ward’s Auto liked that mill so much they named it one of their 10 best for three years running.

So what’s the downside? Why change? Because that same 4.2-liter V8 gets around 15 miles per gallon in city driving, and in these days, that’s not nearly enough. It’s not going to be enough for upcoming economy regs, and it’s not going to be enough to woo consumers that are increasingly efficiency conscious.

Look no further than the mill currently tucked in the engine bay of Audi’s S4: a V6. The V6-equipped S4 gives you 27 percent better fuel economy than the old V8 and, get this, is also quicker than the 8 banger.

“Audi is pursuing an engine downsizing strategy when appropriate for the market segment,” noted Audi spokesman Christian Bokich. Sounds like a grand idea. Better performance while increasing efficiency is great, and Audi believes that its future cars will continue to do this.

Does that mean we could see smaller engines in such racy rides as Audi’s R8 and the RS5 Coupe. Bokich said not to worry: “We will only downsize the engines in these top-of-the-lines vehicles when customers demand it.”

Of course, why this seems like a lead pipe cinch for Audi is that they’ve done it before. Look at what they’ve done with small engines with turbochargers attached in rallying. A good friend of mine has an older Audi S6, and we were driving it the other day, and he stood on the throttle. As we passed 90 (and it was pulling like a freight train) he said, “Not bad for a 2.2 huh?”


“The engine. It’s just a 2.2 liter five cylinder.”

“You’re kidding?! I thought it was a lot bigger displacement than that.”

“No, really, watch … “

  1. Great article Tony, and good to see you here!

    I agree – anything auto manufacturers can do to improve efficiency whilst increasing performance is a no-brainer move. Even compared to a 2-3 year old RS4, the 2010 S4 has a lot better economy and the performance figures aren't even as far off as you'd expect.

    The Smoking Tire just put out a great episode comparing the two actually – worth a watch:

  2. Hey,

    I feel there is a need to make certain technical changes in S6 to keep up its ranking in the market.

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