ACK! No more W12 engine for Audi’s big sedan?! Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Since the range topping 8 series is getting a redesign in 2010 and set to debut in the 2011 model year, Audi will discontinue the model only for one year.
Audi also announced that they will no longer be using the VW-sourced VR6 motor any further. Dating back to the early 90s, the VR6 engine is a 3.2-liter unit capable of producing up to 250 horsepower. Most recently the VR6 was used in the A3 and TT model ranges. According to Edmunds, Audi decided to drop the motor because it doesn’t fit with the company’s move toward more advanced direct-injection motors,
The W12, which sold only 100 units in 2008 is a very impressive piece to be sure, but also is very complex. I’ve only seen two S8s with the W12, and one was in a showroom. My impression was that it was that it was a hugely impressive car, with imposing performance, but that W12 engine (three banks of four cylinders), with it’s nightmarish intake and exhaust tracts, combined with the all wheel drive would make the thing terrifying to service if something went wrong. Sure, people who drop over 100K on a car (that’s what the sticker said) usually don’t work on their cars or worry about such prosaic concerns as maintenance, but it gave me pause.
Then I thought to myself, ‘Man, blasting across the country in one of these sure sounds like a whole lot of fun,’ and I decided the risk of the W12 mated to the AWD system would probably be worth it.
Photo from Flickr user Wyemji