Buried at the bottom of a lengthy press release was a subtle note saying “Starting with 2019 MY, rated horsepower will be derived from a single, global kilowatt (kW) metric, confirmed by an SAE horsepower test.”
That doesn’t seem too important, but it means Audi is finally going to report legitimate performance specifications. For those of you who haven’t been doing horsepower conversions for over a decade, let us explain.
In Germany, the A4 2.0 TFSI is rated at 252 PS (185 kW / 248 hp). This is perfectly fine, but Audi of America has been artificially inflating its performance numbers for years by simply treating metric horsepower as conventional horsepower. However, they’re totally separate things and properly doing the conversion means the engine produces 248 hp (185 kW / 252 PS). That too is perfectly fine, but Audi of America has been saying it produces 252 hp (187 kW / 255 PS) when it doesn’t.
While drivers wouldn’t notice the 4 hp (3 kW / 4 PS) difference, it’s unethical, deceptive and illegal to advertise a number that isn’t true. It’d be the equivalent of asking Audi to accept $194,400 CAD ($147,133 USD) for an R8 V10 Plus, even though the car has a base price of $194,400 USD ($256,851 CAD) – which, of course, it would never do…
In a more practical sense, it’s confusing to buyers who probably have no idea about the differences between horsepower ratings. If a shopper was looking at two different cars and one listed an output of 400 hp, it’d look better than a rival with 398 hp. However, if that 400 figure referred to metric horsepower, it’d be less powerful than the model with 398 bhp.
A number of German automakers have been doing this for years, but there’s been a gradual shift towards honestly lately. It’s almost like a major German automaker got caught lying to the Americans about something – again…
Regardless, Audi has revised its horsepower ratings for 2019 and there are some pretty noticeable drops. That 292 hp TTS? It’s now rated at 288 hp. The S5 is even more telling, as the rating falls from 354 hp to 349 hp.
So what happened to the ‘missing’ horsepower? Nothing, the cars never had them to begin with. Audi even alluded to this fact by saying “All driving and performance characteristics, such as fuel economy and 0-60 times, remain the same as prior model year” despite the drop in horsepower ratings.
Without further ado, here’s a refreshingly honest look at how powerful Audi’s lineup really is.