audi drops plans for its 420-hp four-cylinder engine – DOC689441
When Audi debuted the 2014 Audi TT Quattro Sport Concept, there was something very interesting lurking under the hood. To be more specific, it was the EA888 engine that was rated at 420 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine was developed by Friedrich Eichler, which you may recall as the man behind the Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter. At the time of the TT Quattro Sport Concept’s debut, it was said that the 420-horsepower EA888 could be turned into a production engine quickly, but all that has changed and Audi has dropped plans for the EA888 altogether.
The EA888 was said to be directly compatible with VW’s MQB platform, and could easily be dropped into any model that was underpinned by that architecture. But, since then, Audi’s five-cylinder engine has been heavily refined, which is part of the reason Audi has dropped the EA888. The new TT-RS, which sports Audi’s new five-cylinder with an all-alloy block and magnesium oil pan, can deliver 400 ponies and 354 pound-feet. The new TT-RS can also hit the 62-mph sprint in 3.7-seconds, a figure identical to that of the Audi TT Quattro Sport Concept.
When you add in the extra costs associated with building the EA888 – things like the custom-built aluminum pistons with cooling channels, high-strength cast-alloy crankcase, and an ultra-high-strength crankshaft – producing the EA888 could turn out to be quite expensive. With the five-cylinder toting similar power output, and the TT-RS hitting identical performance figures with it, it’s almost a no-brainer as to why Audi would put a halt to the EA888. On top of that, there’s the new 2.9-liter V-6 found in the Porsche Panamera that will trickle down to the RS4 and RS6 in the near future. It delivers 440 ponies and 405 pound-feet in the entry-level Panamera S, which is also relatively close to that of the EA888 concept engine.
In the end, a 400-horsepower four-banger makes a good conversation piece, but with VW trying to pull itself together post Dieselgate, it’s just not worth it for VAG to put its resources into finalizing and producing the EA888 concept engine.
Why it matters
I’ve been one who has sung a lot of praise for automakers when it comes to squeezing insane amounts of power out of little four-cylinder engines. Go back 20 years ago, and the idea of a 400-horsepower four-banger seemed outlandish at best. But, in a world of turbocharging, and consistently growing technology, it’s become more realistic than ever. While I hate to see the EA888 get shelved, it’s not like there aren’t other powerful four-cylinders out there. Just look at the 2016 Ford Focus RS with its, 350 horsepower or the upcoming RS500 that we’ve seen testing recent that will produce even more. And then there’s the Mercedes-AMG CLA45, and its 2.0-liter four-banger that delivers 375 horsepower.
With that said, VAG is making the right move here and focusing on engines it already has in production. Who knows, maybe the EA888 will come back off the shelf once VW cleans up the rubble from its latest scandal. Until then, at least it has the 2.5-liter five-cylinder and the 2.9-liter V-6, which are both great engines.
Gallery Audi TT Quattro Sport Concept
Gallery Audi TT-RS