Mercedes v Volkswagen: Four-cylinder warfare

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG engine

Mercedes-Benz has returned serve to Volkswagen in the increasingly public battle for four-cylinder supremacy.

Recent concepts from Volkswagen and Audi have shown the Volkswagen Group is looking to push beyond the 300kW (400hp) mark with a revised version of its familiar EA888 2.0 litre.

Jochen Martin Schmid, AMG Powertrain Development engineer, has boldly stated Mercedes will win this battle.

“We cannot, and will not, let them get ahead of us,” Schmid declared. “If that means the start of a new power war for four-cylinder cars, then it’s the start of a new power war for four-cylinder cars.”

Schmid gets specific, too, saying the 2.0 litre used in the A45 AMG has more development potential.

“Theirs is based on the EA888, right? That’s a pretty old engine now and ours is a completely new concept with room for development,” he said.

The cause of these power games can be traced back to Volkswagen’s recruitment of Friedrich Eichler, the man who oversaw the introduction of AMG’s first four-cylinder engine, used in the A45. With 265kW/450Nm it currently holds rank as the world’s most powerful production-based four-cylinder engine.

Despite Schmid’s dismissal of the EA888 engine, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Chief Technical Officer, is showing faith in his product.

“For production, we have to change the cylinder-head, because in the EA888 it has the exhaust manifold in the cylinder-head now,” Hackenberg explained when talking about the 309kW/450Nm TT quattro sport concept. “With this engine and its output, it produces too much heat in the head to keep it like that, so we have to change it.

“But, apart from swapping in some stronger parts, it can still be made within our production system.”

The net result of all this is the fact it’s looking like the A45 AMG Black Series, or whatever Mercedes has up its sleeve, will have to push beyond 310kW (415hp) if it’s going to win this war.

You know, it’s not all that long ago we used to salivate over the 309kW/430Nm 4.2 litre V8 in the B7 RS4. And soon we’ll be having that sort of power in a Golf-sized hatch. Keep fighting Mercedes and Volkswagen, keep fighting!

[Source: | Thanks to John for the tip]