By on July 8, 2016

2017 Audi A5 Coupé

Audi’s commitment to building a green, electrified nirvana likely means future V8s will have to die, a source within the company claims.

The source told Autocar that development of future V8 families is unlikely, given Audi’s plan to have 25 to 35 percent of its rolling stock go all-electric by 2025.

“It would be very difficult to justify the huge investment in another new V8 because of the cost of developing electric drivetrains and battery packs,” the source said. “You have to ask what is the best use of investment money.”

Volkswagen Group plans a big foray into battery electric vehicles as part of its 2025 plan, and the Audi brand will play a large role in that shakeup. High-end EVs sell better (for now, anyways), and the price premium placed on luxury models offsets the higher cost of the powertrain.

Already, the automaker plans to offer an all-electric Q5 and another crossover EV slotted above that model. After 2018, the brand aims to introduce a new battery electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid model each year.

That means the current 4.0-liter family, which has only just emerged in diesel form in the 2017 Audi SQ7, could be the last. The diesel version of that mill uses two turbochargers and an electric supercharger (to get those turbos up to speed, eliminating lag), generating 435 horsepower and 664 pounds-feet of torque. Gasoline versions are bound for the upscale marques in the Volkswagen stable.

The continually refined 4.2-liter V8, which can trace its lineage back to 1991, is a dead man walking, doomed by Audi’s growing use of turbo sixes and the looming gas 4.0-liter. After being quietly shuffled out of the engine bays of its former friends (A4, A6, A8), the 4.2-liter will disappear from the RS5 when the second generation bows next year.

Audi will have the ability to source V8s from Porsche, after the sportscar maker announced plans today to produce V8s for all Volkswagen Group brands at its newly upgraded engine plant in Germany.

[Image: Audi]

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33 Comments on “Audi is Probably Done Designing New V8s: Report...”

  • avatar

    I see, so Audi is no longer seeking to retain its status as a luxury automaker but rather a premium along the likes of Volvo and Saab.

    It’s not like they build good V8s to begin with, and If ICE are old technology and companies like Audi can’t build something that simple reliably, how do consumers expect them to build EVs and such.

    • 0 avatar

      Audi, like their competitors BMW and MB, sees where the puck is going, and its not cylinder count. Even the new E-class comes with a 4 cylinder engine standard in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      “It’s not like they build good V8s to begin with”

      The outgoing 4.2 is one of the better V8s ever built. Great rush of high-end power, wonderful noise, and more reliable than your typical VAG engine. But it gets terrible fuel economy even for a V8, and that’s why it’s disappearing.

      “and If ICE are old technology and companies like Audi can’t build something that simple reliably, how do consumers expect them to build EVs and such.”

      One of the best things about EVs is how much simpler they are than ICE vehicles with automatic transmissions. Maybe Volkswagen is actually capable of making a reliable EV.

      • 0 avatar

        They’ll still find a way to put a timing belt that will snap on it.

      • 0 avatar

        “One of the best things about EVs is how much simpler they are than ICE vehicles ”

        Which means it will be made in China. German engineering is about mechanical stuff. Only advantage left then is chassis design until chassis is also computerized. Anyway, who cares if nobody will drive cars anymore. Only thing is left then interior quality where Audi is strong. But then again if you request self driving car from Uber, you do not really care.

      • 0 avatar

        “Great rush of high-end power, wonderful noise, and more reliable than your typical VAG engine.”

        The DI version of the 4.2 is particularly sensitive to carbon build-up. For example, the B7 RS4 needed a carbon cleaning every 15-20k miles.

    • 0 avatar

      “companies like Audi can’t build something that simple reliably”

      Audis are more reliable than Hondas so I’m not sure what your point is.

    • 0 avatar

      People are paying 50, 60, 70, 80K for 4 banger German cars. No matter how hard you try to force your wishes of what luxury should be, ultimately the market has already decided.

    • 0 avatar

      An electrified drivetrain is the luxurious one now. Near silent, vibration free, with butter smooth torque delivery. An ICE powered car seems very last century compared to an EV.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe Audi ruins luxurious electro/neutered-ICE drivetrain with piped-in fake race-engine noise, a’la BMW.

        There is a gimmicky future there when one thinks about it; where a selected soundtrack matches a desired vintage – the ‘Ben Hur’ track a quadriga chariot for instance, or a quinquireme slave galley (‘Ramming speed!’) for the eventual electro-trucks.

        • 0 avatar

          There will be a serious loss of model personality and differentiation when they all have perfectly silent and smooth electric motors.

        • 0 avatar

          You can probably make a solid bet on that Carnot. Despite the push for self driving isolation chambers people still need a little bit of noise in the background to remind them they aren’t along for the ride in a soulless contraption however contrived it might be.

          This all serves to remind me that I came along at a pretty good time. The future as an automobile enthusiast looks like it will be a boring one.

          I’m sure going forward even commuter bubbles will be able to pick off 3 second 1/4 mile times and run a track like the ‘ring in under 2 minutes all for the inflation adjusted price of what it costs in today’s money to commit single burger suicide on the dollar menu at the clown and people will rave about that but I think the experience will never stack up to the mechanical “dinosaurs” we have now however imperfect they might be.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe the fact that Porsche will be building all the car V8’s for VW corporation may have something to do with it

    • 0 avatar

      “I see, so Audi is no longer seeking to retain its status as a luxury automaker but rather a premium along the likes of Volvo and Saab.”

      Do you really need a V8 to be in the luxury big leagues? You know, some would argue that a luxury marque isn’t worth its badge if it doesn’t have a proper double-six (otherwise known to the peasantry as a “V12”) under the hood.

      As VoGo mentioned, cylinder count is passé. It’s all about the interior and tech goodies, now.

    • 0 avatar

      Your view of what constitutes a luxury car is outdated by about one decade if not more. These days, most of BMW 3 and 5 series are sold with a four cylinder turbo engine, the same configuration that the so much loathed SAABs used to have around year 2000. A six cylinder turbo engine is more than powerful to race in the GT class at 24 hours of Le Mans. The V8 is totally superfluous in a luxury car these days. But if you do love the V8 engine sound, you’re welcome to ride in a Corvette, which I hope is not going with 6 cylinders any time soon.

  • avatar

    That’s good, since theirs were usually a nightmare to work on.

  • avatar

    Not remotely surprising. In the short term, the revised 4.0 turbo will keep them going in the S6, S7, and A8/S8 for about a decade. In the longer term, expect to see those cars either go full electric or get a hybrid system where the turbo V6 is augmented by a stonking electric motor.

  • avatar

    Well they still have their V10, so all is not lost.

  • avatar

    With the new 2.9 V6 in the Panamera producing 440 HP, the need for a V8 really is only for 500+ HP cars and that is a very small niche which may get even smaller as electrification is added to 6 and 4 cylinder enginess.

    That said, I think we will all miss V8s once they disappear.

    • 0 avatar

      I may be in the market for a Mustang GT or C7 Corvette in the near future just because I feel like this is inevitable and I have yet to own a V8. I don’t want to go the rest of my life without one. The only problem is I’d want to track it and both are too expensive/fast for my current level of talent.

      • 0 avatar

        No need for a brand new one. An old Rustang GT or C5 Vette has a V8 in it too. There’s still big money in aftermarket V8 stuff, they won’t die. Someone just needs to make a decent kit car built around the 302 or LSx.

        • 0 avatar

          Hmmm… probably best to go with the vette if going the used route. As a litany of Mustang crash videos show Mustangs prior to the current car aren’t for the novice V8 enthusiast.

      • 0 avatar

        “I feel like this is inevitable and I have yet to own a V8.”

        The only V8 I’ve ever owned sucked.

        It couldn’t get out of its own way, because it was mounted in an overweight F-150 from the 1990s. But a great deal of sound and fury occurred in order drive slowly.

        I’ve ridden behind some nice V8s. But the cylinder arrangement isn’t what made them nice — it was the overall systems-integration and refinement of the vehicle that made them nice.

        If you want a Corvette, get one. But there’s nothing magic about joining two 4-bangers at the hip — it’s the whole car that matters.

  • avatar

    Bully for them. A current 4 banger A6 is faster than an old 4.2L A6 from the 90s, while getting 50% better gas mileage. Hell an A4 2.0T is about as fast as the old V8 S4. The V6TT/SC is not that great of an engine and Audis have always been pretty dynamically inert… making the top powertrain a hybrid option makes a ton of sense.

    Only problem I see is Audi’s hybrid system doesn’t seem to do big things for fuel economy. Q5 hybrid gets a ~4MPG bump all around from the Q5 2.0T with the same gas engine. RX450h jumps 8MPG overall and 10MPG in the city over the RX350. Granted fuel economy is not that big of a deal in this realm but VWAG’s hybrids will get gaped in any kind of comparison to Lexus’ products.

    Side note I am hoping for hybrid tech to get lighter and cheaper to replace turbocharging.

  • avatar

    Let me guess, they’re going to replace it with……a diesel engine once the emissions scandal has been sorted.

  • avatar

    Too bad, I love their V8, or the 4.2 anyways (which can actually be traced back to their original 3.6 V8, which was actually two 16v GTI engines stuck together).

    In both 4 and 5 valve versions, it’s smooth as cream, not too hard to work on despite some of the other commenters, and sounds delicious with a freer flowing exhaust. I’ve had the joy of listening to one WITHOUT any muffling, and it’s glorious.

    It’s a bit of a pig in the city, but is good on the highway depending on gearing. The A6 and A8 are good, S6 and S8 less so.

    The later timing chain motors don’t interest me, as the chain guides are made of cheese.

    RIP in peace, 4.2

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The V8 engine in 2016 is what the silver-halide based film system was in 1996 … a technology on its way to micro-niche markets. Any technology which finds itself in a market battle with rapidly advancing electronics has lost out every single time over the past 50 years. ICE engines are at the early stages of such a displacement.

    Audi’s current V8 engines are already highly developed. Further development would cost massive amounts of money for minimal improvements. VAG is wise to shift their investment plans.

  • avatar

    This doesn’t mean that Audi won’t offer a V8 (will use Porsche’s) – just that they won’t develop their own.

    MB will continue to develop a 12 cylinder power-plant, much less an 8 cyl for the time being, so Audi will at least have to offer an 8 cyl for its top-line models.

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