Audi Abandons W12 Engine, New A8 Will Be Its Last Hurrah

Audi will continue offering a big W12 engine as an option on , but it also confirmed the current generation will serve as the motor’s swan song. Afterward, none of its models will boast 12 cylinders, at least for the foreseeable future.

While the matter is less pertinent for North America, as the largest powerplant currently available for the sedan stateside is the 4.0-liter TFSI, it’s always sad to see downsizing. But it doesn’t make much sense for Audi to stick with the -sourced 6.0-liter W12 when it isn’t a big money maker for the brand.

Prospects don’t look particularly good for Audi’s V10, either. As the brand presses deeper into electrification, engine size will take a backseat to kilowatt hours and hybridization. In fact, the R8 already has a  twin-turbocharged V6 in the works. That motor could end up be a replacement, rather than an option. 

According to , Audi R&D head Peter Mertens was the one to break the W12 news to journalists. “We will not have the 12-cylinder forever,” Mertens explained at the Geneva Auto Show. “There are customers who really want the 12-cylinder and they are happy with it and are going to get it. But this is going to be the last installation.”

He went on to suggest that other engines would probably be cut from Volkswagen Group’s lineup as the manufacturer’s focus shifts toward electric vehicles. He also noted that regulatory pressures are heavier than ever and ensuring compliance with the tough new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedures won’t be easy. “Think of every engine and transmission combination that has to be homologated. That’s a hell of a job we are doing.”

Understandable, but unpleasant just the same. However, Mertens doesn’t want auto enthusiasts to fret; he says Audi will continue producing performance vehicles. They’ll just be electrified with more emission-friendly engines.

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