Audi took the risky step of replacing the V-8 engine in its sporty S5 range with a new supercharged V-6 earlier this year. Sure the six-cylinder mill is lighter and more fuel-efficient but what about the prestige of a V-8, not to mention the smoothness and aural delight? Audi believes its customers, current and future, will favor a smaller engine and will see this trend of downsizing carry over for its next-generation models.
However, don’t for a second think Audi is looking to be labeled as an enviro-focused company. Speaking with Autocar, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler explained that while his company will focus on making its vehicles as efficient as possible, it won’t make this the primary design goal as BMW has done with its new EfficientDynamics branding.
"We will stick to our Vorsprung Durch Technik philosophy, not have a catch-all marketing claim such as EfficientDynamics," said Stadler. "We're convinced in Vorsprung Durch Technik, we're a dynamic, sporty brand but not necessarily positioned as a green brand. That will come about as a matter of course.”
This can be seen directly with the introduction of the new supercharged V-6 engine in the S5. The new mill is almost 20% more fuel-efficient than the previous V-8 yet it offers similar performance numbers and more tractable grunt.