When enthusiasts think of great Audi engines, their minds likely first spring to motors like the turbocharged-five cylinders in the Audi Ur Quattro and Audi RS3, or the free-breathing V8 from the B7 Audi RS4 and first-gen Audi R8. However, Audi has actually made a few V10 engines in its day and they’ve all been stuffed in some pretty incredible cars. So let’s take a look at Audi the V10 engine-maker and some of awesome applications it’s used that iconic engine configuration in.
D3 Audi S8
Let’s start with the D3-generation Audi S8. The D3 S8 was the first Audi production production car to use a V10 engine and what an engine it was. The 5.2 liter V10 was naturally aspirated, meaning it used no forced induction, such as turbochargers or superchargers. It was a free-breathing V10 with around 444 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. Imagine such a high-revving exotic engine under the hood of a massive four-door luxury car? Incredible. That engine would later go on to power another car on this list.
C6 Audi S6
Along with its S8 sibling, the Audi S6 at the time also used the same 5.2 liter V10, though it was detuned to 430 horsepower. That small power drop was likely just to keep it underneath the S8, in terms of performance hierarchy, and it likely was just on paper anyway, as the Germans love to underrate their power figures. While it’s odd to see the free-breathing V10 in an S8, it’s even odder to see it in the far more affordable S6. Imagine buying a sedan that costs around $70,000 that packs a V10 engine? Madness. Brilliant madness.
C6 Audi RS6 Avant
In addition to the Audi S6, the C6-family had another V10-powered car but this one was slightly different. The full-on Audi RS6 Avant packed a Lamborghini Gallardo-derived 5.0 liter V10 but with two turbochargers strapped on, making a monstrous 571 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. It was an absolute animal and could have easily been tuned to 650 horsepower with just some software tweaks. Admittedly, it was wildly unreliable but who cares? It’s a twin-turbocharged, V10-power wagon…
Obviously, we save the best for last. The 5.2 liter V10 that was first introduced in the original Audi R8 and continues to power the R8 is an absolute masterpiece of an engine. When it first launched, it made 525 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to get from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the R-Tronic single-clutch automated manual gearbox. Though, the best part was that it could be paired with an open-gate manual transmission.
Now, in its most potent spec for the second-generation R8, the screaming V10 makes 602 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. With its dual-clutch gearbox, it can hit 60 mph in under three seconds and makes the most incredible noise. In terms of pure thrills, there’s no better Audi ever than the R8 V10.