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The five-cylinder engine from Audi has been in existence for forty years

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Forty years ago, Audi presented the very first five-cylinder petrol engine. The power source made its debut in the second generation Audi 100. The five-cylinder Audi has had an important part in the image around the brand with the four rings.


The first five-cylinder petrol engine powered the Audi 1976 (C100) in 2. The model - known internally as the Type 43 - was positioned higher in the market than its predecessor. According to the developers, the four-cylinder engines from that time were not suitable for that purpose. In the early '70, Audi engineers therefore considered the possibility of introducing five- and six-cylinder line engines. The latter were excluded because of the space they required and the unfavorable weight distribution. That is why those responsible chose a five-cylinder in-line engine at that time. The basis of the concept was the new EA 827 power source. This four-cylinder 'in-line' was used by the entire VW Group in the '70' years, including the Audi 80 and Audi 100. The 2.1 liter five-cylinder variant derived from this produced 100 kW / 136 hp. A modern injection system increased efficiency and power. The delivery of the Audi 100 5E started in March 1977.

The top model based on the second generation of the Audi 100 - the 200 from the early 1980s - was equipped with the five-cylinder Turbo engine. Image: Audi
The top model based on the second generation of the Audi 100 - the 200 from the early 1980s - was equipped with the five-cylinder Turbo engine. Image: Audi

Diesel five-cylinder and new top model

Already in 1978 Audi presented the first diesel version: an atmospheric diesel with a capacity of two liters and a capacity of 51 kW / 70 hp. A year later, the first turbo blown five-cylinder petrol engine debuted. With 125 kW / 170 hp and 265 Newtonmeter in torque, he was at the basis of the new top model, the Audi 200 5T. The five-cylinder petrol engine in the Audi 'Ur-quattro' from 1980 had even more to offer. With turbocharging, an intercooler and permanent four-wheel drive, he offered a powerful technological package. In the basic trim, it was good for 147 kW / 200 hp.



TDI and further development of the five-cylinder

In 1989, Audi once again drew a milestone in car history at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt am Main: the Audi 100 TDI. It was the first production car with a direct-injected five-cylinder turbo diesel and fully electronic control. The power source generated 88 kW / 120 hp from a capacity of 2,5 liters. Audi also continued to refine its series of five-cylinder petrol engines. In 1994, the Audi RS 2 debuted with a capacity of 232 kW / 315 hp. As Avant with the power of a sports car, he created a new car class.

One of the models that a five-cylinder engine from Audi found its way into: the Sport Quattro. Image: Audi
One of the models that a five-cylinder engine from Audi found its way into: the Sport Quattro. Image: Audi

Downfall and rise

In 1994 the five-cylinder system disappeared when the Audi A4 (B5) saw the light. They were gradually replaced in the mid-'90 by the new V6 units. The last five-cylinder, the 2.5 TDI in the Audi A6 and the 2.3 Turbo in the Audi S6, disappeared from the scene in 1997. There was, however, a comeback in 2009, in the Audi TT RS and in combination with turbo technology and direct petrol injection.

'From Zero to 100' exhibition

The very first Audi with five-cylinder engine can be admired. Interested parties can currently go to the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm for this. The classic exhibition 'From zero to 100' provides various examples with which Audi looks back on an eventful history of its successful model. One of the first five-cylinder TDIs from an Audi 100 from 1989 can also be viewed there. The exhibition runs until November 6 2016.

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3 Comments

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  1. I have had an Audi 100cc with a 5 cylinder 2.2 liter engine. Great car that floated over the road. The engine was very fast and super reliable. Great regret for the sale of this progressive car.

  2. I have had an Audi 100cc with a 2.2 liter engine. Great car that floated over the road. The engine was very fast and super reliable. Great regret for the sale of this progressive car.

  3. It is a pity that those five cylinders have disappeared. I think it has been the best engine that Audi has produced. Many times more durable and reliable than the current TFSI series, a product for which Audi had to be ashamed.

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