Audi S5 Sheds Two Cylinders in Midcycle Refresh

Goodbye, V-8 grunt; hello, V-6 whine.

As part of a midcycle refresh for its A5 coupe and convertible range, Audi announced Wednesday that the high-performance S5 model would lose its normally aspirated 354-horsepower V-8 in a trade for the brand’s 333-horsepower supercharged V-6, similar to the one used in the S4 sedan. The 6, Audi says, is about 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the outgoing 8.

The 2012 RS5, however, is expected to retain a 4.2-liter V-8 when it goes on sale in North America next year.

The 2013 models, which are to be shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September, feature new grilles, front fascias and headlamp designs, and a shift from hydraulic steering to electric power. The basic A5 coupe will carry on with the workhorse VW Group turbocharged 2-liter in-line 4 that makes 211 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque. Subtle cosmetic tweaks include new steering wheel designs, a new selector for automatic transmissions and a revised finish for the instrument panel and center console.

No word on a diesel A5 for the American market, although four diesels will be available in the A5 range in Europe. Pricing for the revised coupe and convertible should be announced closer to the cars’ debut.

Audi began gearing up for the Frankfurt show, its de facto homecoming, in June, with the announcement of a $14.3 million display. The centerpiece is to be a 400-meter test track, around which select Audi vehicles may be driven by prospective customers.

Last week, Audi’s promotional machine brought a pricing announcement for the brand’s high-performance TT RS, which is expected to go on sale in the United States later this summer.