Audi’s 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine is probably its most beloved powerplant. Sure, the 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 that screams from in between the Audi R8’s axles is a glorious thing. However, it costs over $100,000 to drive one and, in reality, that engine has Lamborghini roots. The turbo five-pot that powers the likes of the Audi TT RS and RS3 is the stuff of legends and a proper four-ringed icon. And Audi would like to keep it that way.
As it turns out, there’s a rumor that Volkswagen wanted to borrow the RS3’s five-cylinder for the next-gen Volkswagen Golf R. That woulda been something’, huh? Well, it’s not going to be anything, as Audi squashed the idea.
According to this report, Audi was unhappy with the idea of its star engine being used in a less-expensive, less highly regarded brand. The folks on the board at Audi felt that the VW Golf R using its turbo-five would hurt its image. While Audi allows other brands to use the engine, those brands are all ultra-low-volume, high-dollar performance machines. So they’re rare and interesting, thus increasing Audi’s brand image. But VW? Hard no.
To be honest, as an American enthusiast, this is disappointing news. If Audi let Volkswagen use the engine, not only would it offer enthusiasts a cheaper way to get it but it would also, essentially, give the US market an RS3 Sportback. In reality, a five-cylinder-powered VW Golf R would just be a cheaper RS3, as they’re going to be based on the same chassis. And since the US market is likely to get the Golf R, we would be getting that winning combination of engine and body style. Just with a ‘VW’ badge.
We understand why Audi might not want to play nice and share with VW but it’s a bit disappointing for fans. A Golf R with a turbo-five would have been awesome.