Audi is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its five-cylinder engine, which debuted in the Audi 100 of 1976.
The five-cylinder engine, like three-cylinder powerplants, beats to the sound of its own drum and Audi’s 2.1 litre 1976 effort produced a respectable 100kW.
Since then, the ‘five’ has gone on to power numerous Audi production models and motorsport programs, and the engine lives on to this day in the TT RS in the form of a 294kW/480Nm 2.5 litre petrol-powered unit.
The engine has continued to modernise over the years, with such additions as fuel injection, four-valve technology, turbocharging, improved emissions and even a switch to diesel-power – which followed shortly after the petrol version in 1978.
Audi says its fiver has achieved “cult status”, helped by its motorsport successes and that characteristic sound mentioned above.
By 1983, the five-cylinder engine was spraying the champagne (if it only could) to celebrate its maiden World Rally Championship with a little help from Finn driver Hannu Mikkola and all-wheel-drive.
Audi celebrated its rally success in the same year with the Sport Quattro, which at 225kW was the most powerful German-built road car at the time.
The Sport Quattro also saw a new high for Audi’s Group B rally program with a turbocharged five-cylinder engine debuting in 1984 and producing 331kW straight out of the box.
Since then, Audi has used the five-cylinder engine in various states of petrol and diesel tune to power such models as the 1989 100 TDI, 1994 RS 2, Audi A6 and S6 along with the RS Q3, RS 3 Sportback and the TT RS.
And it’s the 2.5 litre TFSI TT RS that has helped earn Audi’s ’five’ the International Engine Of The Year award in its class for the last seven years running.
Happy birthday to Audi’s five-cylinder engine.