VIDEO: This four-cylinder Audi R8 hill climb car is awesome

It’s impossible to read about the Audi R8 and not read some exclamatory remark about its engine. That’s because the engine in question is an astonishing 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 that makes a glorious, spine-tingling noise. So why on Earth would someone take that engine out and replace it with a turbocharged four-cylinder? Hill climb, that’s why.

To qualify for a specific hill climb class, this Audi R8 has had its engine removed and replaced with a bespoke turbocharged four-cylinder engine that, despite not sounding as epic as the car’s original V10, sounds delicious in its own way.

A company called Dialynx Performance is who developed this hill climb Audi R8 and what they’ve done with the engine is really quite interesting. So rather than just slap in a four-cylinder with a turbocharger and dial the boost up to a million (which they ended up doing anyway), they gave it a bespoke four-cylinder engine. So they took the engine block from a VW Group 1.8 liter ALT four-cylinder engine and paired it with the cylinder head of a 16-valve Mk3 VW GTI 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine. Then, they fitted a massive Garrett turbocharger that makes a whopping 30PSI.

According to Dialynx Performance, this Frankenstein engine makes 650 hp, more than even the brand-new Audi R8 V10 Plus. And it sounds like pure motorsport. While it doesn’t the the spine-tingling shriek of the V10, it’s the rough, coarse, rip-snorting noise of a pure motorsport engine that isn’t designed to sound pretty but it sounds awesome.

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We don’t know much else about the build (transmission, drivetrain, weight?) but it looks to be a ton of fun. Now we sort of want to see more R8’s have their engines stripped out and given cool, smaller engines. A 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder Audi R8, anyone? Someone make it happen.

CategoriesEditorial R8
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.