Audi USA Will Stop Inflating Performance Specs Starting With 2019MY Cars

Audi recently announced a handful of updates to its 2019 lineup, but one its biggest changes probably won’t get that much attention.

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.

  • Nordschleife

    Per your examples I see a max of 5 horsepower losses. Am I missing something?

    • Zandit75

      Agreed, for something that is supposed to be “Pretty noticeable” it’d be a whole lot easier if the US would just finally embrace the metric world of measurement and finally be done with all this confusion.

      • Mike anonymous

        Are you kidding. The US will never embrace the Metric system (although I’m not in the US now, that’s where I live). Do you know the CHAOS switch simple measurements would bring (there are entire business who’s core business ‘is’ the current system of metrics the US has now).

        It would have been easier to switch when everyone else did, but with each passing; day, month, year. The difficulty in switching may only become greater.

      • Mr. EP9

        Good luck with that.

    • donald seymour

      He needs an article to write.

  • eb110americana

    I wonder if this is a direct result of the particulate filters that many gas engines must now run in Europe to meet the latest emissions standards? For example, the Z4 will produce 335 hp domestically, but a full 382 hp here in the US. So they cannot simply quote the European output or reprint the same spec sheets.

    • dufonrafal .

      Did you actually read the article?

      • eb110americana

        Did you actually read my comment? Since the article only says THAT Audi is suddenly updating power output to the correct SAE numbers, and not WHY, that is what it was commenting on.

        • dufonrafal .

          Yes. But did you read the article? 🙂

          Everything is perfect explained.

          • eb110americana

            Okay. Please quote the article with sources indicating specifically WHY Audi changed their reported HP outputs now. Since you won’t find it, I expect another useless response.

          • dufonrafal .

            Start reading just below the R8 engine picture.

            (I quoted the text but my comment is waiting to be approved since it’s so long)

          • eb110americana

            Again, none of that is a reason. That is just describing an emissions violation on diesels and guessing that maybe, possibly the German’s are getting more honest.

          • dufonrafal .

            Come on! Are you blind?

          • eb110americana

            I’m going to leave it like this. I hope you appreciate the irony of accusing someone of not reading the article while you have executed such an epic reading fail no matter how many times it is spelled out for you. You don’t understand what I am talking about. You did not provide any evidence to support your claim. If you don’t understand, then stop acting like I missed some piece of information that isn’t actually there. Reply with a direct quote that answers my question, or I’m done. You don’t get it.

          • jfalckt

            Case closed!

          • dufonrafal .

            But basically, Europe and USA don’t use the same hp.

            Europe use the CEE hp and USA the bhp. They are not equal and Audi used to quote a 252 CEE hp car as 252 bhp instead of 248 bhp (for exemple).

            So it has nothing to do with particulate filter. The engine power output itself hasn’t change.

          • eb110americana

            Again, you are just describing WHAT again. If they always quoted Euro ratings, why change today? Dieselgate is a pretty big leap, and at best a guess.

          • dufonrafal .

            You understand that 252 hp = 248 bhp?

            Audi will just change the unit used to advertise power in NA.

            They used to advertised it in CEE hp and will now use bhp.

            The actual engine power is still the same in Europe and NA.

            Why now? I don’t know.

          • Kagan

            Because they want to be honest.

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    • Wilhelm

      In Germany Audi changed the nomenclatura – maybe this is the result for its market in the US?

      Audi will shift from advertising the cubiq capacity (ie. Q2 2.0 TDI) to motor capacity in kW (ie. Q2 30 TDI). Additionally, Audi changed the advertisement of the motor capacity to ranges: 81-96 kW = Audi 30, 169-185 kW = Audi 45, >400kW = Audi 70. The reason is that they want to make clear indications independent from the engine technology (combustor, electric) in the future.

      Does cars have to be advertise with HP in the US? (In Germany they have to be advertised in kW but they are allowed to additionally print the German PS) If so, maybe the change is based on conversion from kW-Ranges to US HP.

  • Julien Lachemoi

    But isn’t Audi -as most German manufacturers- always pessimist about their true HP (or BHP if you prefer) ? Most Audi are in fact more powerful than what they’re claiming.

    • DanSemering

      That;s true. Mine set on test bank add extra 10 HP….not sure if the testing bank was wrong or not

  • Chedly Baraket

    Per the conversion rate, 1PS = 0.986 HP so it will be a 1.4% difference in HP or 1.4HP loss for each 100PS. Will 1.4HP really make someone miss a thanksgiving dinner with the family? Lots of fuss for nothing!

    • ScottM

      Yes, honesty and accuracy are things hardly worth fussing over.

      • Chedly Baraket

        Take all cars to a power test, you’ll hardly match the advertised numbers. BTW Audi and VAG tend to under-estimate their engine power (in PS).

  • Marty

    Or just stop fiddling with arcane measurements made for steam engines. And stop focusing on ONE number.
    Power is measured in watt. If you want to compare engines, look at a graph.

  • dumblikeyou2


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