Most car engines have multiple cylinders, from the light and sleek I4 engines found in most economy cars to the more powerful V6 and V8 units under the hood of regular cars and SUVs. Some manufacturers, however, have bucked the trend and gone with five-cylinder motors. Volkswagen, Volvo, Fiat, Acura, and Alfa Romeo all, at times, use inline or V5 engines in their cars. However, Audi is probably the automaker that often uses a five-strong engine.
Audi was truly a pioneer of the five-cylinder, producing the first I5 engine in 1976 as it complied with German regulations governing the distance between the cylinders. Unable to increase the bore in the existing four-cylinder engines, Audi engineers simply added another chamber. The original Audi 2.1 liter five-banger produced 136 horsepower, and adding a turbocharger boosted that output to 170 horsepower. Audi used the turbocharged 2.1 liter I5 in the 1980 Quattro and dropped a slightly larger version in the RS2 Avant, which was sold only in Europe in 1994.
Audi currently offers a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo in two models: RS3 and TTRS. “RS” stands for the German language symbol Renn Sport, which means “racing sport.” It’s the right time for an engine capable of 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, delivering both of those benchmarks in one big sweep of the tachometer needle. Maximum torque extends from 1,750 to 5,850 rpm, and drivers can expect an increase in horsepower from 5,850 rpm to the 7,000 rpm redline.
All RS models have 0-60 times under four seconds
Car and Driver’s Ezra Dyer drove an RS3 with Audi’s latest five-cylinder offering and raved about the engine, calling it “a very special engine” and adding, “The RS3 sounds like a pan of angry narwhals and it rarely sounds like a wolf of angry narwhals.” .”
This unique engine can propel the RS3 from zero to 60 in 3.3 seconds, faster than the 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition and Toyota GR Supra 3.0.
Arthur St. Antoine of Motor Trend tested the 2.5 liter inline TT RS and was pleased with the car’s performance. “This is a nasty little machine,” he wrote. “The turbo-five just throws the RS over the horizon — without the wheels. Audi claims a zero-to-60 mph time of just 3.6 seconds, but I’m betting a car under 3,300-pounds is faster than that. It’s a shame Audi will drop the TT after for the current model year, but hopefully, the 5-cylinder engine will provide adrenaline rushes for years to come.