Improvement means change and sometimes change means leaving behind old favorites to focus on new. That's the case for Audi according to the latest reports, which say the A8 W12 and S8 sedans are done as of the 2009 model year, as is the VR6 V6 engine.
The decision to get rid of the VR6 is an easy one, according to Edmunds
: it is old technology, using a narrow V-angle and lacking direct injection. Switching over cars that used it to the 3.2L V6 found in other Audis will be no problem.
But dropping the relatively rare and certainly over-the-top A8 W12 is a blow to lovers of simple excess and quirky technology alike. So too the death of the V10-powered S8. Though the Lamborghini-sourced mill will continue to power the S6 and the R8 V10, the sport big sedan slot in Audi's lineup will be vacant starting from the 2010 model year.
Small volume sales and large expenses related to the complex engines make the business decision easy, but that doesn't make it a bitter pill for enthusiasts. On the other hand, compared to competitors BMW and Mercedes Benz, the lack of a big and bad uber-sedan puts Audi at a competitive disadvantage - think S63 AMG
and BMW 760i
- and perhaps reflects new corporate cousin Porsche's desire to have a little more breathing room for its Panamera.
BMW 760i and long-wheelbase 760Li
2010 Mercedes Benz S63 and S65 AMG sedans