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An ode to the last Audi that boasts a non-boosted engine

The 5.2-litre V10 lump in the Audi R8 is one of the last naturally aspirated engines in the motoring industry.

The linear surge reacting to the precise amount of pressure you apply with your right foot, unfettered by the introduction of intermediary devices. The siren call as the engine revs all the way to an 8,700rpm redline that force-fed engines can only dream of. That angry hissing, roaring sound that sends shivers down your spine as you shift through gears, punctuated only by the babble of the waste gate as you back off the accelerator.

The 5.2-litre V10 lump in the Audi R8 is the real McCoy, one of the last naturally aspirated engines in the industry. As it is, it remains as your only option from the “Big Three” German automotive companies – Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.

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The next mile

Every generation of motorheads will experience a sea change in the automotive industry. With the advent of the starter motor, your great-grandpa might have been glad to stop winding up the crankshaft by hand to start the car. Your grandparents probably marvelled when luxuries like side windows, windshield wipers and turn signals became standard equipment, while their children would have appreciated air-conditioning, automatic gearboxes and the built-in cassette deck in their new Ford Cortina.

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The advancements of this era have brought along many more technological wonders, but the naturally aspired engine is one thing that we will surely miss. Fuel economy concerns have forced manufacturers to downsize their engine offerings. To make up for the power deficit, carmakers resort to forcing more air into the engine using turbochargers or superchargers.

That extra layer takes away the pure joy of a proper naturally aspirated engine. Audi’s magnificent V10 will unlikely survive another production cycle in the march towards ever stricter EU emissions regulations. It is an emotional connection that will forever be lost. That alone makes driving this car something you must have on your bucket list.

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