With Mercedes-Benz’s go-fast division AMG boasting about having extracted “more than” 330 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine destined for its new range of compact cars, and with most suggesting that the power figure could be closer to 350 horses, Audi is feeling the pressure to get more out of its bigger (and presumably thirstier) 2.5-liter engine.

The Audi engine, which boasts five cylinders, currently features in the TT RS sports car as well as the RS 3 hot hatch sold overseas. In its most potent form it delivers 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet.

Speaking with Car Sales, Stephan Reil, the boss of Audi quattro, Audi’s answer to AMG, confirmed that the brand’s five-cylinder turbo has a safe future but would need some extensive upgrades.

“The five-cylinder engine will have a big future with us,” Reil said. “But the numbers I see from AMG’s engine are enormous from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

While dialing up more power and torque would be rather straight forward, getting the engine to meet tough EU6 emissions regulations coming into play in Europe by 2014 will be difficult, the Audi exec explained. Areas where the engine needs significant work are its combustion processes and catalysts, key factors for determining emissions.

Once again, we’re likely to see the five-cylinder engine power RS variants of the next-generation TT and latest A3 hatchback. With any luck, we’ll also the engine power a new RS version of the upcoming A3 Sedan.