The Audi saga of five-cylinder engines hearkens back to 1976 when the Audi 100 (C2 generation) received a modified version of the VW Group’s EA 827 engine concept.
The Ingolstadt brand is marking the 40th anniversary of the introduction of their very first five-cylinder engine, order which was introduced on the second-generation Audi 100 back in 1976. The engine appeared because Audi wanted the new model to move further upmarket and opted for a five- or a six-cylinder inline engine for the shift. But weight distribution issues and space limitations made the company go for the five-cylinder configuration – a fuel-injected engine with a displacement of 2.1 liters packing 136 horsepower (110 kilowatts) at 5,700 rpm and a maximum torque of 136 pound-feet (185 Newton-meters) at 4,200 rpm. There was also a carburetor version starting from April 1978 with a 1.9-liter displacement and a lower output of 115 hp (85 kW) at 5,400 rpm and 113 lb-ft (154 Nm) at 3,700 rpm.
Back in 1978 the company also introduced a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter diesel for the 100 (C2), delivering 70 hp (51 kW) and 90 lb-ft (123 Nm). The engine started using a turbocharger in 1984 to produce 87 hp (64 kW) and 126 lb-ft (172 Nm). The five-cylinder gasoline engine also started using a turbo since 1979 so the Audi 200 5T claimed 170 hp (125 kW) and 195 lb-ft (265 Nm) of torque. Engineers continued to play with the engine and after using an intercooler they achieved 200 hp (147 kW) and 210 lb-ft (285 Nm) in the iconic quattro model showcased at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show.