2009 Detroit auto show

2009 Detroit auto show

2010 Audi R8 V-10

2010 Audi R8 V-10

2010 Audi R8 V-10

2010 Audi R8 V-10

The Audi R8 V-10 is just hitting retail and already talk of the demise of its fantastic powerplant are underway. The tired mantra of fuel efficiency killing the horsepower car has reared its ugly head once again.

But all is not lost even if the V-10 goes the way of the dodo at Audi; though it might not be as impressive or as sonorous, there's reportedly a 550-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 already waiting in the wings to take the V-10's place.

The track record of downsizing and adding forced induction at Audi is brief, but so far, fantastic; take the S4 for example: dropping the 340-horsepower naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 engine of past models for a 333-horsepower supercharged V-6 engine, the new car is  more efficient and just as fast, with even more low-end response thanks to 325 pound-feet of torque from its forced-induction system.

Improvements in fuel economy weren't minor for the S4: the old V-8 got 13 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. The new supercharged V-6 S4 gets a much more livable 18 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the highway. Oh, and it's cheaper than the old S4, too--over $11,000 cheaper.

Even if the V-10's goose is cooked, however, it'll take at least until the end of the model cycles of the current Audi RS6 and R8 5.2 FSI V-10s before they'll actually go away, so there's a few years left to get yours if you simply can't stand the thought of losing the sound of ten half-liter pistons walloping your ear drums while faced with the four-rings logo.

Weighing the advantages against the nostalgia, we prefer to look at the possible demise of the Audi V-10 as less the end of an era and more as a changing of the guard--to an upgraded, more high-tech, if somewhat less characterful, guard.

[Autoblog.nl]