The automobile has been around for well over a century. Since then, there have been some truly special road-car engines, the sort that can make your jaw drop. In reality, there are probably too many to count. But that didn’t stop Autocar from compiling a list of the very greatest road-car engines of them all and the 4.2 liter V8 from the B7-generation Audi RS4 makes the list.
When most enthusiasts think of engines like that, the greatest of all time, their minds typically race to brands like Ferrari or Lamborghini. However, there are more humble brands in the list than you might imagine. While Audi might not exactly be a humble brand, it’s certainly a much more normal brand that a lot of average customers can afford. So when an Audi makes the list of the very best road-car engines, the four-ringed brand should be proud.
The engine in question is a 4.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8 from the B7 Audi RS4 and it was, and still is, a masterpiece of an engine. Admittedly, it wasn’t only in the RS4. Different variants of that engine made their way into cars like the Audi R8, the B6 Audi RS4 (B7’s predecessor) and even the B6-generation Audi A6. But it’s most famous for being in the B7 Audi RS4 and feels extra special in it because of the RS4’s pedestrian roots.
It was also the base engine in the first-gen Audi R8, the car Iron Man drove back in 2008. However, it’s usually overlooked as the R8’s V10 came soon after. Though, some enthusiasts actually prefer the old-school V8.
That free-breathing V8 revved past 8,000 rpm and some of the most glorious noises doing it. It may not have been the most powerful of Audi Sport engines, especially compared to what we have today, but it was damn special. Still is, too.