The Audi R8's 5.2L V10 Is An Engineering Masterpiece

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Delivering supercar thrills for over a decade.

The Audi R8's available V10 is one of the last, lingering members of the old guard of performance engines - a big, naturally aspirated, high-cylinder-count engine in a world increasingly averse to big, naturally aspirated engines. But even in any other time or context, Audi's V10 would be an extraordinary powerplant, with a unique firing order, an elevated redline, and a high volume-specific output for a production NA engine.

The mill has been around since 2009, if you can believe it, initially serving as the top-spec powerplant in the first-generation Audi R8 before infiltrating Lamborghini's lineup, first in the Gallardo, and later in the Huracan.

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Audi
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Audi

As you can imagine, the bar to clear in order to end up in a production Lamborghini model has been set pretty high. Audi's 5.2L FSI V10 lives up to the public's elevated expectations with features like dry-sump lubrication - a racing-inspired system that minimizes the risk of oil starvation under high cornering forces - and a screaming, 8,700 rpm redline.

At that speed, Audi says, each piston travels a total of 88.3 feet every second, and outpaces the pistons found in today's Formula One engines.

Dry sump lubrication also has the added benefit of making Audi's 5.2L V10 more vertically compact, allowing it to be mounted lower in the car for a more favorable center-of-gravity.

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Sideline Sports Photography via Audi
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Audi
Audi

What's perhaps most telling about the Audi R8's 5.2L FSI V10 and its remarkable engineering is its history of performance and reliability in road racing. The dry sump oiling system is identical between the road-going production car and Audi's R8 LMS GT3 race car, proving it's been developed to handle even the extreme lateral loads routinely seen in motorsport. Its Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) system was developed for and honed by Audi's Le Mans endurance race cars.

The total package is so robust, Audi says, that the engine enjoys one of the longest recommended service intervals in the racing world. Servicing is recommended every 10,000 km (about 6,200 miles), with a complete rebuild every 20,000 km. That rebuild interval is so long that an R8 LMS could drive the 24 Hours of Daytona four and a half times before needing a rebuild.

The Audi 5.2 FSI V10 is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind performance engine. And while Audi and countless manufacturers are, smartly, pivoting to focus increasingly on electric propulsion, we nevertheless hope it sticks around for years to come.

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