Engineering

By the numbers: Audi R8's V10 engine

Audi's V10 engine is a powerhouse.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi R8's V10 engine is a robust power plant that delivers the acceleration that super car enthusiasts crave. Here's a closer look at the engine by the numbers.

5.2

The engine has 5.2 liters of displacement. According to Wikipedia, "Engine displacement is the measure of the cylinder volume swept by all of the pistons of a piston engine, excluding the combustion chambers."

10

The engine has 10 cylinders in a v-shape layout. That's how it gets its "V10" designation. Traditionally, modern passenger cars have four, six, or eight cylinders.

15

All Audi R8s are built on an assembly line at Böllinger Höfe, near Neckarsulm, Germany. The line assembles approximately 15 R8s per day.

2020 Audi R8 engine V10

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

88.3

Each of the 10 cylinders has a piston. Each piston travels approximately 88.3 feet every second. Altogether, the pistons cover more than 600 miles in an hour. That's about as fast as a domestic commercial aircraft can fly and faster than the pistons in Formula One cars.

1 – 6 – 5 – 10 – 2 – 7 – 3 – 8 – 4 – 9

This is the firing sequence of the cylinders of the R8's engine. This is what gives the car, "a hissing tenor exhaust note that builds to a crescendo," according to Audi.

50

According to Audi, "The Audi R8 race cars share more than 50 percent of their parts content with the road-going models (60 percent comparing the GT4 to the road car), including their Audi Space Frames and V10 engines. The only structural difference between the road car and racecar is a mounting point on the frame for hydraulic lift struts to simplify pit stops."

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

90

The 5.2-liter V10 engine is situated in a 90-degree position. This means that its pistons are 90 degrees apart. The position traditionally results in good balance.

413

The U.S. spec of the engine delivers 413 pound-feet of torque at 6,700 rpm.

602

Pressing the R8 to its limit, in the U.S. version of the car, the engine will achieve a maximum 602 horsepower at 8,100 rpm.

6,213

In many of the R8 race car models, Audi recommends servicing the V10 every 10,000 km (6,213 miles) and completely rebuilding it every 20,000 km (12,427 miles).

33,000

More than 33,000 R8s have been sold throughout the world since going on sale in 2005.

1.97 million

The engine is assembled in Győr, Hungary, Audi's largest engine plant. In 2019, the plant produced approximately 1.97 million engines and electric motors. Those engines and motors found their way into vehicles around the world.

Audi R8 race car side by side

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

No. 1

Audi's R8 race cars have laid claim to five overall wins at the Nürburgring 24, four overall wins at Spa and class wins at Daytona, the Bathurst 12 Hours, Macau, and many other tracks across the globe. According to a release, "From its first race through April 2020, globally, racers in the R8 LMS GT3 have achieved 75 driver championships, 13 overall wins in 24-hour races and numerous other podium finishes."

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Ferrari Omologata is a one-off V12 superstar.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The Ferrari Omologata comes from a strong family tree filled with performance and Italian beauty. It's a one-off model that takes its DNA from seven decades of Ferrari GT tradition. The model has been crafted by a European client.

It's taken two years to complete the model since the presentation of the initial sketches. It's a model that took its inspiration from a variety of sources: racing heritage, sci-fi, and modern architecture.

A Ferrari 812 Superfast is the underlying package of the car, but the designers kept just the windscreen and headlights from the body. They set forth to create a model with smooth volume and undulating reflections. The car's front end is tapered and faced by a flattened oval grille. At the back, the car takes a more muscular stance, has deeply set taillights, and is finished off with a prominent spoiler.

Ferrari Omologata

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

Dressed in a triple layer of Ferrari's Rosso Magma paint and a racing livery the car combines track day prowess with daily drivability.

Inside, the car sports electric blue seats finished in a combination of leather and Jeans Aunde fabric with four-point racing harnesses. The rest of the interior is finished in black.

Unlike modern vehicles, the Omologata does not have a screen in the center of the vehicle, giving the model. a historic tinge. Metal parts on the dashboard and steering wheel are finished with the crackled paint effect associated with the great GT racers of the 1950s and 1960s as well as with Ferrari's engine cam covers. A hammered paint effect so often used in cars such as the 250 LM and 250 GTO finds its way on details such as the inner door handles and on the Ferrari F1 bridge.

The mid-engine car has a 6.5-liter V12 engine, harvested from the 812 Superfast. In that car is generates 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Ferrari isn't divulging the price of the Omologata.

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The Mazda MX-5 RF is one of the better-rounded sports coupes you can buy.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda loves to remind us that it makes the best-selling two-seater sports car in history. The company mentions this in just about every press release it issues on the Miata. It's even certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

With more than a million units sold over the past thirty years, the Miata — or MX-5 in the rest of the world — has been a reliable pick for folks looking for an authentic sports car experience at an affordable price. Lotus founder Colin Chapman said his theory on race car design was to "simplify, then add lightness". Mazda's engineers have remained more-or-less faithful to that idea over the years when it comes to the MX-5.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The fierce design and unique drivability of the MX-5 help make it a desirable commodity.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Small cars don't need a ton of power, and they're a joy to drive. The 2020 MX-5 sports a 181-horsepower, 151 lb-ft four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed manual (or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, but what you really want is the manual). My test unit this week — a luxury-focused MX-5 Grand Touring — came with a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks, front- and rear-stabilizer bars, and, of course, rear-wheel drive. It's not necessary to understand what all that stuff does to enjoy the car, though it's an impressive list of tech.

There's a running joke in car journalism that when someone asks which car they should buy, the answer is always "Miata" regardless of whether the buyer is a 70-year old retiree or a housewife with three kids. I don't know if that's strictly true, but the MX-5 will put a smile (and a sunburn) on your face regardless of who you are.

My fully-loaded manual transmission Grand Touring RF test unit priced out at a a whopping $35,345, but included a wide array of luxe features like automatic windshield wipers and high beams, leather everything inside the (tiny) cockpit, and a nine-speaker Bose stereo system that included speakers built-in to the headrests so you can hear your tunes even with the top down.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The hard top of the MX-5 RF gives the convertible a sleek look.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is new for 2020, though there's no good place to put your phone. Or a cup of coffee. Or a handbag or really anything else except for two humans. It's really tight in there. The cupholders are two bits of plastic that go behind your elbow on the center armrest, requiring a stretching maneuver that wouldn't be out of place in a yoga studio to retrieve your beverage. There's also a diminutive "glove box" behind the cupholders that's good for holding a tube of sunscreen, your car registration, and very little else.

The trunk isn't spacious but it'll swallow a rollaboard suitcase easily enough, and the RF's hardtop doesn't affect the trunk at all which is a big plus.

The ride is firm but pleasant, with a far smoother and more refined ride than the similarly sized Toyota 86. This is the car for people who think comfort is a feature, and are willing to trade a bit of time in the slalom or on the skid pad to not have their spine ruined.

The six-speed manual transmission is a delight, reminding me why it's fun to have a stick shift. Not many folks will use their MX-5 as a commuter car, so there are almost no downsides to the manual tranny. Gear changes are quick and easy, and the clutch is incredibly forgiving. Third gear is particularly wonderful, as is the rev-happy naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G engine that scores an EPA-estimated 26/34/29 city/highway/combined.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The interior of the MX-5 is well-designed, but cramped.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The exhaust isn't noisy, but it make a nice burble, particularly with the top down. And I do have to call out that top. The RF — or Retractable Fastback — is the MX-5 to buy. Not only is it stupidly good looking, but you get the best of both worlds: When the top is down, you get 93 million miles of blue sky. But when you put it back up, you're in a sports coupe that's almost quiet and refined.

The roof can open and close in just 13 seconds, though you do need to be stopped for it to operate. It looks especially good in Mazda's Polymetal Gray paint scheme.

2020 Mazda MX-5 RF The Mazda MX-5 RF has the same design attributes as the MX-5, just with a hard top.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

I love convertibles. I love the MX-5. I love the RF. I love 93 million miles of blue sky. And if you go take one for a test drive, I promise you'll love it too.

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