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2-litre to 2.5-litre
  Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo

“Tremendous power, great sound. This is five-cylinder architecture at its best” Nikos Kounitis, 4Wheels


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Image: - LEFT: Mr Michael Ganz (Head of Drivetrain Development, quattro) and RIGHT: Mr Armin Pelzer (Head of Base Engine Design and Analysis, Audi AG)

Once again this class was an exciting battle between two state-of-the-art engines. But this year it was the five-cylinder Audi turbo in the TT RS that emerged victorious over the 2009 winner, the Mercedes 2.1-litre, four-cylinder diesel.

The 2.5-litre Audi unit is one of the most characterful on the market, with a soundtrack reminiscent of the quattro’s 1980s rally heyday. Indeed, so distinctive is the noise, that in the UK, Audi commissioned a music track composed entirely from sounds made by the 340bhp engine!

But there’s more to this sonorous motor than pure nostalgia. For a start it’s very flexible, with a flat torque curve delivering the 450Nm peak all the way from 1,600rpm to beyond 5,000rpm. It also features directinjection to help the TT RS, whether in coupe or roadster form, deliver impressive economy alongside its scintillating performance: 9.2 l/100km (30.7mpg) on the combined cycle from a car that will accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in a mere 4.7 seconds and tops out at a governed 250km/h top level.

For customers who want even more performance, quattro GmbH will electronically raise the permitted maximum to 280km/h, while pushing the Sport button to open a flap in the left exhaust tailpipe allows the evocative soundtrack to be heard in its full glory.

The five can also be mated with Audi’s new seven-speed S tronic dualclutch transmission. It enables the driver to choose between two automatic modes, or shift manually using the selector lever or shift paddles on the steering wheel.

A launch control function offers nigh-on perfect acceleration from a standing start, with maximum turbo power and minimal wheelspin.

It’s a package that had the jury swooning. “Taking an old blueprint and renewing it so convincingly is very exciting,” said judge Matt Davis, while Yves Maroselli concluded: “Torque, power, a beautiful sound – this engine has it all.”

1. Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo (Audi TT RS) 269
2. Mercedes-Benz Diesel 2.1-litre (C-Class, E-Class) 185
3. Subaru 2.5-litre flat-four turbo (Forester, Impreza, Legacy) 123
4. Ford 2.5-litre Hybrid (Ford Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid) 110
5. BMW 2.5-litre DI six-cylinder (Z4 23i) 101
6. Honda Diesel 2.2-litre DTEC (Accord, Accord Type S, CR-V) 82


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