Some swirling of strong speculation have surrounded the Audi R8’s downsizing to reach more buyers via a less expensive entry level model that would fill the shoes left by the recently retired V8-powered model (all R8’s are now powered by the same naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine).
The move would reportedly surround a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine that would also be used to replace the 4.2-litre V8 in the current RS4 and would also find its way into other performance-oriented Audis such as the upcoming RS5 and the RS Q5.
That engine, as reported by Autocar UK, has already made its debut under fellow VW Group subsidiary Porsche in their new Panamera. The 2.9-litre V6 petrol is the result of a collaboration between the two premium German marques to create a modular engine family known internally as KoVoMo.
The engines that will result from this effort will surely be used for various vehicles within the Group but predominantly is engineered for use in Porsche and Audi’s more high powered cars. It will replace most, if not all, applications found previously for the naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 FSI from Audi.
Pressure from stricter emissions regulation and key markets such as China’s road tax are charged proportional to a car’s engine capacity also no doubt contributed to its development and plans for deployment.
In the engine’s debut vehicle, the Panamera 4S, the new 2.9-litre produces 323kW while operating under a somewhat low boost pressure of 0.4 bar. Supposedly the engine is designed to handle much higher stresses and is capable of producing in excess of 373kW quite easily, supporting the suggested output for an entry-level Audi R8 and RS4, the latter’s most recent incarnation produces 331kW from the high-revving atmospheric V8.
A V6 force-inducted engine in the region of 3.0-litres isn’t anything new for either Porsche or Audi (such as in the older Panamera, Cayenne, Macan or the Audi S4, S5) but in addition to being more efficient and capable of higher outputs, the new 2.9-litre unit is differentiated further by a tight integration with its pair of turbochargers whereas the older engine uses a single twin-scroll unit.
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