Audi's TFSI Supercharged V-6 Wins 5th Best Engine Award

Automotive

Published on November 15th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Audi’s TFSI Supercharged V-6 Wins 5th Best Engine Award

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It’s hard to believe this 3.0L engine with no major changes or upgrades since its introduction in 2010 has just taken its fifth straight Ward’s 10 Best Engines trophy for 2014.

“No rivals have come along that can match the 3.0L’s silkiness, its lively tip-in, its daily drivability, its gratifying torque at every engine speed,” they say. “In other words, it’s still a benchmark.” Comments on their 2014 evaluation score sheets included: “One of the best high-performance V-6s ever,” “the best engine I’ve ever encountered,” and simply, “amazing!”

As tested in a ’14 S5 3.0 TFSI Quattro coupe, it delivers an impressive 333 horses at 5,500 rpm, 441 Nm of torque between 2,900 and 4,500 rpm and (according to Audi) impressive 4.9-sec. 0-60 mph acceleration.

The old V-8 it replaced for 2010 was less quick (typically 5-plus sec. 0-60 mph) and a lot less fuel efficient, so this supercharged 6-banger was a win-win on both fronts.

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While a turbocharger uses hot exhaust gas to spin a turbine that pumps more air into an engine, allowing it to burn more fuel and boost performance, a supercharger uses an engine-driven compressor. Generally more compact and less complex than a turbocharger, it provides instantaneous response but has the efficiency disadvantage of spinning at all engine speeds.

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Based on an older 3.2L naturally aspirated V-6, this engine was substantially re-engineered to handle much higher output while increasing its efficiency.  Enhancements include a pressure- and volumetric flow-controlled oil pump, a reduced-friction chain drive and lower-friction piston rings.

Beyond strong acceleration and refinement, its primary design objective was to be versatile enough for use in nearly any Audi model. After testing twin-turbocharger and supercharged versions, Audi engineers decided on the latter for its better launch performance and compactness. Working with supplier Eaton engineers, they wedged it neatly into the 90-degree V of the cylinder banks.

Beyond compactness, it also requires few changes for different applications. It can operate happily with both manual and automatic transmissions, as well as with Audi Quattro all-wheel drive, and handle high towing loads in the Q7. And it does all this while meeting both U.S. ULEV2 and European EU5 emissions standards.

Surprisingly, it was planned as a small-volume engine for high-performance compact S4s and S5s. Now it is Audi’s only V-6 available in midrange A6s and A7s, the flagship A8 sedan and Q5, SQ5 and Q7 CUVs. It’s also used throughout the VW Group for hybrid versions of VW’s Touareg and Porsche’s Cayenne and Panamera.

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