Two years ago Audi introduced a special version of the Audi R8 called the R8 Decennium edition. The Decennium R8 pays an homage to the then 10-year old best Audi engine of all time, and one of the best engines in the entirety of the automotive industry, the iconic 5.2L naturally aspired V10.
However, the R8 is not actually the only Audi model powered with a V10 as this honor also goes to 2006/2008 Audi S6/6S and the 2006 S8. All three of these are now commonly considered as the two craziest Audi sedans because they share their engines with the Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan.
The 5.2L Audi/Lamborghini V10 is still being offered in the R8 and the Huracan and many people deem it to be the most legendary sports car engine of all time. There are no cars these days that come with a V10 from the factory beside the R8 and the Huracan.
The automotive industry is moving away from large naturally aspirated engines so it’s highly plausible that we are never going to see a brand-new car sport a V10, both in forced induction or naturally aspirated form.
Audi R8 – A true Audi supercar
Back in 2006 Audi shocked the world with the drop-dead gorgeous Audi R8. The R8 was initially offered with either the 4.2L V8 or the 5.2L V10. Later R8 models dropped the 4.2L which means that the only engine available with the R8 is the V10.
The first generation of the V10 R8 offers 525hp and 391lb-ft of torque. This enables the first-gen V10 R8 to reach 60mph from a standstill in under 4 seconds. Audi later facelifted the R8 in 2011 and the 5.2L got a power boost up to 552hp and 400lb-ft of torque. The most powerful first-gen Audi R8 is the 2015 R8 Competition with its 570hp 5.2L V10 and a 0-60mph time of 3.2 seconds.
The second generation of the R8 was introduced in 2015 and is now nearing the end of its lifetime. The 5.2L V10 in the second-gen R8 is rater at a minimum of 532hp while the most powerful V10 R8 offers 602hp. The R8 is likely going to go down in history as one of the best supercars of all time as it balances usability and performance admirably.
The first-gen R8 is also one of the best-looking cars ever and is likely going to be a classic one day, especially the V10 manual versions.
2006 Audi S6/RS6 – A mid-size sedan with a Lamborghini Gallardo engine
Back in the mid-to-late 2000s, the world was a completely different place when compared to today. BMW offered the M5 with a V10 and Audi offered the S6/RS6 with a Lamborghini engine. During these times no one was all that fussed about family cars having Lamborghini engines because the environmental conscious era began a few years after that.
The 2006 Audi S6 offers a slightly detuned and slightly more sophisticated version of the Gallardo V10 as it offers “only” 435hp and 398lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic and Audi’s industry-standard Quattro all-wheel drive.
The 2008 Audi RS6 was and still is the craziest Audi RS6 of all time because it offers the same 5.2L V10 but with 571hp and 479lb-ft of torque. Many experts state that Audi even pondered on the idea of making a 650hp RS6 back in 2008, and this was later discovered because a small ECU tune is able to push the power of the RS6 up to 650hp.
These two Audi sedans are now iconic as they represent an era in which automotive enthusiasts were able to mix a Lamborghini V10 with a family car.
2006 Audi A8 – Full-size luxury limousine with a Lamborghini engine
The 2006 Audi S8 also uses a variant of the 5.2L Lamborghini V10, but the version found in the S8 was slightly detuned compared to the one in the RS6. The 2006 S8 offers 450hp and 398lb-ft of torque. This engine is more or less identical to the one found in the 2006 S6.
This is the first and only time that a full-size luxury sedan used an engine that is bigger than 8-cylinders. All succeeding S8 models use 8-cylinder engines and the latest Audi S8 offers a 4.0L turbocharged V8 with 563hp.
All in all, the 5.2L S8 is an iconic car, yet it can be had for a relatively affordable price these days. However, it is not the most popular car out there as it costs a lot of money to maintain just like the S6 and the RS6 from that era.
What is the difference between the Lamborghini V10 and the Audi V10?
The very first Lamborghini Gallardo was introduced for the 2003 model year and it used a 5.0L V10 with about 493hp. Lamborghini later updated the engine to 5.2L and this is the same engine found in the S6/RS6 and the S8 from that era.
Besides the obvious power differences, the V10 found in the Lamborghini is a lot more aggressive and is not as refined as the one found in Audi sedans. Audi tried to make the V10 more fitting for everyday driving purposes which meant that the engine had to be quieter and not as aggressive.
Why did Audi use a V10 for a family sedan?
From today’s perspective, it seems ludicrous that a family sedan comes with a naturally aspired 5.2L V10 Lamborghini engine, but the early 2000s were a completely different era as fuel prices and overall environmental tendencies were very different.
They did that because they were able to and because the M5 from that era also uses a naturally aspirated V10. Back in the day, it seemed ridiculous for a performance car to offer a 4-cylinder engine, yet nowadays that is more or less the norm.
Is the Audi V10 gone forever?
The Audi V10 is likely gone and there are no indications that it is ever going to come back. This is because current emissions, efficiency, and sound regulations simply don’t allow such engines. The V10 in the R8 is a dinosaur to some, while for us car enthusiasts it represents the golden age of performance cars.
Audi recently said that the new R8 is going to be a fully electric supercar which makes perfect sense considering the automotive industry is slowly moving away from large engines in general.