By on September 28, 2016


Four-cylinder engines have come a long way since the tepid entry-level powerplants of yesteryear, but despite gains in power and refinement, it’s still a four-banger.

That stigma, as well as cost, has led Audi to ditch its production plans for one of the hottest four-cylinders ever developed, reports Autoblog.

The high-performing version of the automaker’s familiar EA888 2.0-liter was revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, tucked under the hood of the Audi TT Quattro Sport Concept. With 420 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque on tap, the engine raised the power bar for the 2.0-liter class.

That was then, and this is now. Speaking at the launch of the TT RS, Stephan Reil, engineering head for Audi’s Quattro GmbH division, said the 420 hp four is off the table. Instead, Audi’s newly refined turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder will power the TT RS, while other Volkswagen Group models can kiss the EA888 upgrade goodbye.

“The 400-horsepower EA888 engine is dead,” Reil told Autoblog. “If we go for the four, to have that specific power output from a 2.0-liter, the engine is unbelievably expensive and then we still have only a four-cylinder engine.”

A five-cylinder sounds better and has more gravitas, Reil insists. It’s also an engine the struggling Volkswagen Group can afford, as the company slashes unnecessary programs in the wake of the wildly expensive diesel emissions scandal.

When first unveiled, the engine stood as a testament to Audi’s engineering prowess. Heavily touted by company executives, including former technical development boss Ulrich Hackenberg, the mill was said to launch the TT to 62 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds.

As it turns out, the 400 hp turbo five matches that number, while offering a better torque figure (354 lb-ft).

[Image: Audi AG]

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27 Comments on “Audi Ends Ultra-Hot Four-Cylinder Development, Claiming Lack of Panache...”

  • avatar

    Good. A hot Audi without a five-cylinder is just wrong.

  • avatar

    Nobody tell Volvo.

  • avatar

    That’s a good move, especially since almost everyone likes the 2.5T.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Too bad – I hate the sound of a 5-cylinder.

    • 0 avatar

      A six would definitely sound better, but then you run into displacement penalties in Europe. I imagine a 2.0 turbo-six would be too expensive too, especially from scratch. The VW parent doesn’t have scratch, especially if the EPA is really looking for the maximum fine that doesn’t bankrupt the company.

  • avatar

    I have the less-potent EA288 in my ’16 Golf R (“only” 292 hp, still a silly-high figure for a factory-stock 4-banger). It’s a nice engine but I totally agree that “it’s still a 4-banger”. It sounds no different than any other Golf/GTI, and not in a good way. Give me a straight 6 any day of the week when it comes to smoothness & sound.

    • 0 avatar

      292hp out of a 4 cylinder isn’t really that impressive in 2016. Subaru and Mitsubishi have done it since about 2000. Mercedes gets 340 (?) hp from a 2.0 turbo and Kawasaki sells a 200 hp, 1 liter 4 banger with a plate and a warranty so what’s good?

      • 0 avatar

        The old liter bike comparison. Tell Kawasaki I’ll be impressed if and when somebody can actually get 50,0000 maintenence free miles out of one.

        Motorcycle engines have great specific output but they are more or less highly tuned and short lived race engines. Nobodyou keeps and uses a liter bike as a daily for 6 plus years where somebody looking into the Audi would make payments, pay it off and expect it to go another 15 years with only minor maintenence.

        CompariNguyen the two engines is entirely baseless.

    • 0 avatar

      The MK7 Golf R & GTI use the EA888 Gen 3 engine.

      This move my Audi perplexes me a bit since this engine with the Golf R turbo can get just shy of 400hp and over 400 torques. If the aftermarket can do that (and seems to be reliably) than how is it too expensive for Audi to do?

      • 0 avatar

        If audi did that we’d be looking at an emissions scandal repeat. The stage 1 R is awesome, and I know the calibraters aren’t touching emissions controls, but there’s no way it results in a legal product for an oem to sell. I’ve driven it, I’m a fan, but there’s a really good reason even minor power updates are multi million dollar investments.

  • avatar

    Nice way to spin a cost-saving move. As much as we’d like this to be a sign that we are reaching Max Four, we’re not there yet.

  • avatar


    Coincidentally – Audi-wise – there was a fatal car accident today on the road where my job is located at. The driver of an Audi TT ended up hitting the rear of a semi trailer that pulled out of a driveway. No one has been blamed yet, but based on the timing I’m thinking the semi driver didn’t see the silver Audi in the low morning light.

    Always hard to tell what speed the Audi was going, especially after hitting as something as – I’m assuming fully loaded since this is a manufacturing area – heavy as a trailer, but, based on the damage, it was going faster than the speed limit.

    Drive safely, gang!

  • avatar

    From what I heard, a 5 cylinder engine has 35% more cylinders than a four cylinder engine. And 50% more demand.

  • avatar

    Why not a VR-6? Of course with 400hp, I’d hope this isn’t scheduled for a car with a FWD option and a longitudinal I-6 would be an option. But really, there’s little an I-4 can do that a VR-6 can’t do better, especially the cost of the I-4 gets silly.

  • avatar

    I think we can call a bit of bs on audi here. This isn’t happening because vw just can’t do a 400+hp sister car right now. Although I gotta say, that was a pretty straightforward cost benefit answer he gave there.

  • avatar

    I’m old, but I always believed real cars had an 8, and the base car had a 6. Of course, time marches on, so now it is the real car is a 6 OR 8, and base cars have a 4.

    Don’t try to sell me a 50k car with a four. I don’t car how many turbos it has, etc, for that much money you can cough up two cylinders.

  • avatar

    This Audi 5 cyl. in a Porsche Cayman… Wouldn’t that be (even über 911) Nirvana?

  • avatar

    An Audi 5-cylinder engine typically makes all sorts of lifter clackety noises, and wouldn’t be appropriate for modern use. :P

  • avatar

    The cost is simply too high when a test defeat program can’t be used.

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