Audi Denies R8 Going Turbo
Back on July 15th we reported that the 2016 Audi R8 would "inevitably" be turbocharged. I’m sure the news was a bit expected, considering Audi throws a turbo at most vehicles in its lineup. Now, it looks like Audi has had a change of heart. During the international launch of the new R8 last week, our sources learned that the R8 will not be getting a turbocharged engine anytime in the near future. For now, Audi will stick with two naturally aspirated variants of the 5.2-liter V-10.
The initial idea of going with a turbocharged engine was long debated by the powers that be. There are advantages to going with a turbocharged engine. You can get the same power out of a smaller engine, and that smaller engine produces fewer emissions than its larger counterpart. On the other hand, things like throttle response and acceleration at lower engine speeds are negatively affected. Jurgen Konigstedt — the head of design for Audi’s V-6, V-8 and V-10 engines — says the 5.2-liter, V-10 provides more than enough power while naturally aspirated, so it doesn’t need a turbo at this point. Not to mention that while smaller, turbocharged engines are more efficient at lower speeds, under prolonged load and higher speeds, forced induction actually takes away from fuel economy. So for now, the R8 will continue to live next to the current 2014 Audi RS5, as the only other non-turbocharged vehicle in Audi’s lineup.
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Why it matters
At this point, I agree with Audi and those in charge of designing the R8. Even from an emotional standpoint, there is something about a naturally aspirated engine that I tend to favor. Maybe it is the sound and the ready-to-go response, or maybe it is the sheer, unadulterated power from a bigger engine that gets me. For general-purpose daily drivers like the Audi A3 and S4, small turbocharged engines make sense. However, when it comes to performance, I would rather leave the turbo lag and blow-off whistling for the grocery getters and rice burners.
Don’t take my opinion to seriously though – I just might have a change of heart in the near future. That electric turbocharger that Audi has been using in its experimental 2014 Audi RS5 TDI Concept looks like it might be a game-changer – I mean it does eliminate turbo lag altogether. What do you think? Should Audi turbocharge the R8 or did they do right by keeping it Au Naturel? Would it change your opinion if Audi could eliminate turbo lag?
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