Of course, Audi has a long history of using turbocharged five-cylinders in racing with the Group B Quattro rally car, so if any automaker could develop such insane power from that setup, it would be Audi.
You might think the best application of that engine would be in a future TT-RS, but rumors are circulating that suggest the VW Group would put a five-cylinder turbo into the R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan. The justification for such a move would be based on Chinese tax laws, which could limit the automakers’ sales in China unless a more efficient powertrain was used in their halo cars. Both the Lamborghini Huracan and Audi R8 V10 use a naturally-aspirated 5.2 liter V10 that wouldn’t cut it.
Without a more efficient engine that could match the outright power from a V10, the VW Group would be out of luck, but the TT Clubsport’s turbo five cylinder doesn’t struggle for power. In fact, the turbocharged motor makes 60 hp more than the peak output in the 2016 R8 V10.
The goal is to utilize an engine with less than 4.0 liters of displacement so VW Group can slot into a lower annual consumption tax bracket. Just how significant is the difference? Vehicles with 4.0 liter engines and above pay a 40 percent tax, but those with 2.0 liter engines pay just nine percent. On the linear scale, the 2.5 liter turbocharged engine would still be far less taxed than the current 5.2 liter V10.
While nothing has been confirmed by the VW Group, Lamborghini President Stephan Winkelmann has stated that a smaller-displacement, forced induction motor would be a huge asset for sales in China.
Moral of the story: get out there and soak up that V10 joy, because it may not be available much longer.