What do Audi Engine Codes Mean?

When it comes to crisp performance, cutting-edge technology and luxurious interiors, there’s only a handful of manufacturers that can compete with the pioneering creativity of German giant Audi.  

Globally renowned for their progressive innovation, Audi made the decision to change the way they labelled their power outputs in the summer of 2018. 

Out went the conventional badge that displayed the car’s engine size - such as 2.0 for a 2.0 litre vehicle - and in came a new two-digit badging system to demonstrate the car’s engine power.

To the naked eye, the new badging system looks more like an algebraic equation than a power indicator, and the new format was controversial and confusing when it was first launched on the Audi A8.     

We’re going to break down exactly what the Audi engine codes mean - we’ve even made a helpful power output table so you can see which is the least and most powerful Audi engine.

Pre-Audi A8

Before the release of the Audi A8, cars in Audi’s vehicle lineup (with the exception of the likes of the Audi TT Coupe) were identified by a single letter, followed by a number to represent both the class and type of the vehicle. So, you’ve got the Audi A1, Audi A5, Audi Q8, and so on - you get the picture.

Alongside the name of the model, your Audi vehicle pre-2018 would be followed by either TFSI (petrol), or TDI (diesel)  as well as the engine size designation. 

For example an Audi A3 with a 1.6 litre petrol engine would have been badged A3 1.6 TFSI, while an Audi Q7 with a 2 litre diesel engine would have displayed Q7 2.0 TDI.

Post-Audi A8

From the Summer of 2018, all Audi models shifted to a new badging format for reasons we still can’t wrap our heads around. We trust there must be method in the madness!

So, what’s new? Following the release of the A8, Audi have now added two numbers to the back of every car to replace the engine size. These numbers have been added alongside the current model type (A1) as well as the engine type (TFSI) and will depend on car’s the power output.

The numbers range from 25 to 70 and increase in multiples of 5 until they reach 60 where it subsequently jumps to 70. These new numbers categorise Audi vehicles based on their horsepower figures. 

Each of the numbers will be placed alongside TFSI, TDI, or E-tron badges depending on the vehicle’s transmission output.

Confused? We don’t blame you. Once you take a look at our table below, it’ll all start to become a lot clearer. Let’s break it down. 

The number ‘25’ will be displayed on the rear of all models whose engines produce less than 107hp, while the number ‘45’ will represent all Audi vehicles with a power output between 230hp and 250hp. Topping the range will be Audi’s performance cars that are badged with a number ‘70’, to signify that they produce over 545hp. 

In practice this means that a 155hp Audi A6 2.5 TDI will now be badged an A6 35 TDI, while a 123bhp Audi A4 2.0 TFSI will be an A4 30 TFSI. 

Of course, there will also be relevant quattro-all wheel drive and S-Line badging where appropriate. 

audi enigne code 50 tdi quattro

Audi Badging Format 

To make things a little less confusing, we’ve designed a simple table to visualise how the Audi badging system works.

audi badging system

Hang on a minute, why are there gaps between the horsepower categories? 

As you may have noticed, there’s a few inconsistencies within Audi’s badging system that has caused a fair bit of confusion. The gaps between the badge numbers have also resulted in some of Audi’s current range being left in ’limbo’ between two different groups. 

For example, the Q7 e-tron hybrid has 258hp which leaves it dangling between badge numbers ‘45’ and ‘50’. Similarly, a 1.4-litre Audi A1 that produces 140hp is bang smack in the middle between badges ‘30’ and ‘35’. 

Audi are expected to adapt their badges to rectify the gaps in their power output range at some point in the near future, but why did they have to introduce these power badges in the first place?

Why does Audi use power badges?

Audi claims that their decision to introduce power badges came as a result of advanced engine technology. This became particularly relevant when Audi started producing turbocharged engines that could exert a lot more power than you’d expect for their size. 

In fact, many manufacturers - including Audi - offer the same sized engine in different power outputs depending on the level of performance the buyer wants.

The introduction of turbocharged engines meant that a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine could be as powerful as a 2.0-litre engine without increasing fuel consumption too much. This reinforced Audi’s philosophy that engine size was becoming less beneficial for buyers and no longer a good way to judge the power status of a car. 

Audi explains that the number system is also designed to better identify and compare the performance of electrified cars against their petrol and diesel counterparts.

The two-digit number will make it easier for buyers who are looking to understand the range of their fully-electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid vehicles.

Have there been any changes to the engines themselves?

Although it seem that altering the engine codes would indicate that the engines had been overhauled entirely, it is only the badges that have been changed.

If the new badges aren’t to your taste, or you prefer the minimalist look, Audi offers a ‘delete badge’ option when you're placing your order.

Conclusion

Audi has never been one to hide away from progressive innovation, and their new engine codes are certainly tailored towards future automation. 

Despite this, the new badging system has come under some criticism for being a confusing system and for the gaps between groups.

Nevertheless, Audi have expressed that their new system is geared towards making performance comparisons between electrified and ICE engines easier for buyers - which is a pretty good idea given the recent increase of EV sales