By on March 16, 2018

audi a8 2019

Audi will continue offering a big W12 engine as an option on the 2019 A8, but it also confirmed the current generation will serve as the motor’s swan song. Afterward, none of its models will boast 12 cylinders, at least for the foreseeable future.

While the matter is less pertinent for North America, as the largest powerplant currently available for the sedan stateside is the 4.0-liter TFSI, it’s always sad to see downsizing. But it doesn’t make much sense for Audi to stick with the Bentley Bentayga-sourced 6.0-liter W12 when it isn’t a big money maker for the brand.

Prospects don’t look particularly good for Audi’s V10, either. As the brand presses deeper into electrification, engine size will take a backseat to kilowatt hours and hybridization. In fact, the R8 already has a  twin-turbocharged V6 in the works. That motor could end up be a replacement, rather than an option. 

According to Car and Driver, Audi R&D head Peter Mertens was the one to break the W12 news to journalists. “We will not have the 12-cylinder forever,” Mertens explained at the Geneva Auto Show. “There are customers who really want the 12-cylinder and they are happy with it and are going to get it. But this is going to be the last installation.”

He went on to suggest that other engines would probably be cut from Volkswagen Group’s lineup as the manufacturer’s focus shifts toward electric vehicles. He also noted that regulatory pressures are heavier than ever and ensuring compliance with the tough new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedures won’t be easy. “Think of every engine and transmission combination that has to be homologated. That’s a hell of a job we are doing.”

Understandable, but unpleasant just the same. However, Mertens doesn’t want auto enthusiasts to fret; he says Audi will continue producing performance vehicles. They’ll just be electrified with more emission-friendly engines.

[Image: Audi]

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29 Comments on “Audi Abandons W12 Engine, New A8 Will Be Its Last Hurrah...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    The current A8 4.0T (let alone the S8) is so fast and quiet that all the W12 does is make the car more ponderous. This decision makes sense.

    When the D3 A8 W12 came out, an A8 V8 would do 0-60 in about 7 seconds. Now the A8 V8, complete with long wheelbase and rear footrests, is flirting with the 4-second barrier.

    • 0 avatar

      I much prefer the A8 to the old looking 7-Series, but I don’t think it can quite match the accommodation of the current S-Class. Last generation, I might’ve put them on par before MB stepped up their game.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The S560 is clearly the objectively better car, but I personally like the cleaner, more spare look of the A8 better. With my own money, if I had that much money, I’d get an A8.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          Dal, why not the same powertrain in an S6? That would definitively be my choice, should I hit the lottery.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I’d rather have the additional interior opulence (and the A8 is a step up inside) than a bit more extra speed I can’t use on public roads.

        • 0 avatar
          amca

          I’ve got an A8. My friend as an S550. His car is decidedly more opulent, and decidedly shouts “I’ve arrived.”

          Which is why I like my (cheaper) car better: all the same goodness, less attitude.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            It will also cost less to maintain than the S550:

            “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPJ64sTa7KI”

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Huh, you think the new 7 series looks old? Just seems like it’s the usual ‘evolution’ of a design that didn’t quite work the first time but they improved it so it does. The A8 does look nice if really non-descript. And it has really disconnected steering.

        Agreed on the S-class. I can’t think of many cars where I might prefer to be a passenger to driving. The S-class is one of them, though. Probably the most comfortable car ever.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep, I think the evolution of the 7-Series is still being affected by the Bangle redesign for 2002. They keep making it longer looking, but it’s the same basic style.

          I do prefer the nondescript sleepery A8 look to the S, so I agree with Dal there. I’m not sure which I’d buy – I’ve owned three Audis and zero Mercedes products.

          • 0 avatar
            Cactuar

            Have your Audis put your wallet in service position?

          • 0 avatar
            amca

            Cactuar: your wallet is always in service position with Audi. A regular service, under warranty, always manages to make it up to about a grand.

            “w/ws recharge – $50” meaning: windshield washer solution fill-up. Yes, they try to pull that, even if you filled your own tank yourself shortly before coming in.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I didn’t care about the 7-Series until it became available with a 6.6L engine.

        Now I care about it lots.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’ll be sad when VW Group finally cuts the heritage Bentley 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8, currently used in the Mulsanne.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Yessir, that thing is the ticket. An aluminum pushrod V8 turboed to a fare-the-well, even more cubes than the GM 6.2l. Put that in a Yukon Denali and watch it squirrel under power and 750 lb-ft of torque so long as 4500 rpm will do ya! No harsh high revving plebeian sounds from that one.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Every person I’ve ever talked with that actually owned an Audi had basically the same thing to say- beautiful cars, wonderful to drive and look at, just make damned sure you lease it or unload it before the warranty expires.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      ernest, meet me. I bought a B7 v6 A4 with 78k in 2013 [for $10 thousand, bank loan] and sold it in 2017 [for $5.4 thousand, cash] with 141k. Oil changes, one set of tires, one full service (all fluids spark plugs, but no brake work), and one valve cover gasket.

      Here’s a funny story. When I was selling it, a businessman test drove it because he wanted to buy it for his 16 year old son (‘safe car’). He showed up in a Lexus LS430. As clear car loving guys, I commented on his Lexus and what a joy that v8 must be. He said yes, but a very expensive suspension part broke and so did the very expensive sound system. But then then he e-mailed me to say he can’t buy it because his [Toyota] mechanic told him mine’s probably about to blow its engine!

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Audi will be a line of driverless electric CUVs for the performance minded who don’t want to perform, and who don’t want to harm the planet while not doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @sub600: ICE engines are for the performance minded who don’t want to perform.

      Electric is the way to go for performance. We already have the Tesla Roadster prototype and the Rimac Concept 2 breaking the 0-60 2 second barrier. Also, the ultimate in AWD is to place a fully controllable electric motor at each wheel. That way you can achieve control far beyond what you could ever do with ICE technology. If Audi wants to stay at the leading edge of all-wheel-drive, they don’t have a choice.

      Yeah, there are some out there that are buying EVs for green purposes, but I still think that the vast majority of buyers are moving to them because of the performance of the drivetrains. Once you have spent a fair amount of time driving an EV, ICE powered cars just don’t cut it anymore. Go test drive a P100D. Spend some time behind the wheel and you’ll see what I mean.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        And when you’re out frying the tires off the rims in your EV, what happens to your range? That’s right, it goes south in a hurry. A big hurry. Remember, manufacturer range numbers are based on prudent speed and habits, neither of which equate to fun. Beat on your EV and watch the battery run down. Then you’re cooling your heels playing Candy Crush while it charges. If you remembered to charge your phone.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @sub600: I do beat on it and still have plenty of range. If I’m pushing it to the range limits, I’m careful, but if I have 30 miles to go and 100 miles of range, I’m going to have a good time and still make it home with 30 miles range. Once I get to my destination, I plug in and go about my business. The car is charged when I get back out. When I get the 300-mile range car, I’ll probably never have range issues driving locally no matter how hard I drive it.

          BTW, I have a supercharged ICE car that can seriously drain a gas tank like you wouldn’t believe and stranded me by surprise once. So, it’s not limited to EVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Well, if you live in a climate where it’s practical and you have a place to charge it, have fun. For EVs to take hold there will need to be a huge investment in infrastructure, most Americans rent and charging will be a huge issue. Weather is another thing. I live in an Upstate NY county with 600,000 people and have only seen TWO Teslas. The cold and snow will drain those batteries in a cocaine heartbeat if you park it in -10 degrees all day or drive through 6-10 inches of snow on a regular basis. Not everyplace is 75 & sunny with clean roads.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I’ll gladly remain “stuck” at around a four second 0-60 and mid 12 second quarter mile time and lose a few seconds on a road course because I have to bother with a clutch and an imperfect power curve as well as fumble through a heel/toe maneuver.

        EVs to me are the epitome of a soulless conveyance no matter how “perfect” they are.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @raph Not true. They are fun. Granted, I still have my ICE toys. For fun, I actually enjoy somewhat underpowered vintage cars that actually demande good manual shifting skills. But that’s for when I’m in the mood for it.

          As far as the range goes, in a 10 mile trip for errands or a 40-mile round trip commute, who cares about range loss in a 300-mile range car? The Tesla roadster will have 600-mile range. Even in a 100-mile range car I haven’t noticed much of a range drop for full throttle acceleration.

          Having precise control of how much torque is being applied to each wheel is going to minimize any frying of the tires. You’ll get amazing traction when more vehicles have it. Right now I think it’s just Rimac. Coincidentally I’m working on designing motor drive code right now, but for a tracked vehicle.

          A car that can knock you back into your seat with sub 2-second acceleration is not soulless no matter how hard you want to pretend it is. The motors aren’t even that quiet on some cars when you put your foot to the floor.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          @ raph Ask a Tesla owning friend for a ride in “Ludicrous” mode. Then give them a ride of sweet Shelby awesomeness. You’ll both like it.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Off topic, here goes . . . .
    That Audi, and the next story down, the Hyundai, wow, what in the front end styling establishes any brand identity, save for the badges on the grille? Search images of the current Subaru Legacy and Ford Escape.
    If all four were from one brand from one manufacturer, I would say there is too little to differentiate the models from one another!
    Have these stylists have any creativity whatsoever? Seems that are all just indulging in mutual copying and conforming.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    It’s a plot! The Godless communists are taking away our vroom, and leaving us with a barely-audible eggbeater whine! We need to make America great again, by making V8’s the smallest engine allowed in cars and trucks. And they should be measured in cubic inches, not those stupid litres. That’s like measuring gasoline by the quart!

  • avatar
    stuki

    Once suitably clogged up by contemporary light weight, low flow turbos, the engine layout largely ceases to matter much. All focus is shifted to make the need to, and benefit from, revving past the point where all engines more cylinderous than a Harley style V Twin, are largely indistinguishable anyway. Resulting in engines that are too asthmatic to sing up where their layout matter much.

    The 4.0 V8 “standard” engine (US) in the A8, is as notionally good as any out there. But man, is it dull compared to the NA V12 in the Rapide (and other Astons). If only the Rapide was a bit more sensible, a bit more suitable for appearing sensible, a bit less likely to roll over and play dead somewhere in Bumeff Nevada or The Yukon, and a bit less of a pain in the wallet….

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Agree on the W12 being a bit of a dinosaur that really just added a lot of unnecessary mass and didn’t provide much to the driving experience.

    I have always appreciated the A8 and the S-Class distinctly: the S-Class is pure opulence and presence and I love it for that. It’s baller. The A8 has nowhere near the presence or feel of the S-Class, but it’s a great car in its own right. The new model does what the previous one couldn’t: it’s the more modern (especially interior) antidote to the old world feel of the S-Class.

    Both great cars, but also guaranteed to appeal to completely different personalities.


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