Audi, the biggest defender of the oddball five-cylinder powerplant back in the 80s, plops a healthy one into its upcoming TT RS coupe that debuts at the Geneva Motor Show. The 2.5-liter unit presumably shares architecture with the VW five of the same size and powering the Rabbit/Golf and Jetta. But in TT RS tune and with a turbo, it unleashes in excess of 300 hp. And given the 2.0 turbo four's healthy torque, we expect a rather violent push in the back from this new five.
An interesting claim by Audi is the engine's "unrivalled sound." Five cylinders don't have a history of enthralling enthusiasts with their timbre. Whether the rattling roar of an 80s Benz turbodiesel, the bleating mewl of the 80s Audi 5000, or the appliance-like hum of recent Volvos, five-cylindered engines do not good harmonics make. Odd-cylinder counts in general are culprits: we won't even talk about the Briggs & Stratton blat of three-cylindered Geo Metros and Subaru Justys. Heck, even a Dodge Viper V-10, essentially two inline fives joined at the crank, has a weird and reedy sound next to many of the sonorous V-8s it can handily outrun.
Audi TT RSEnlarge Photo
So color us surprised by the audio clip provided by Audi. Hugely surprised. The tapoccata-poccata idle is still there, but at revs and under throttle it issues a truly melodic, rorty song. An icy turbine whine that clearly means business balances out the five's playful bark.
They rightly claim a "long legacy at Audi" for powerful five-cylinder gasoline engines, and the TT RS version takes the cake; 0-60 mph in under under five seconds, and a 155 mph top speed that's "limited...only on paper."
Apparently, so drunk on the TT RS' power were all our friends in the auto journalist world that they completely skipped over Audi's requested embargo date of February 23. Happy Friday, fans of the five.