Usually, engines are configured with an even set of cylinders but 40 years ago, Audi tried something different – a five-pot. And years later, Ingolstadt is still making them such has been its success.

It was way back in 1976 when Audi gave the world its first five-cylinder car – the second-generation Audi 100. The 2.1-litre motor, which was based on the Volkswagen Group’s EA 827 engine concept, made 136 horses and 185Nm of torque and was deigned to move the car more upmarket. The big saloon with a four-pot just wouldn’t do and it proved a wise decision with the model becoming a sales success. In 1979 came a turbocharged version under the bonnet of 200 5T making 170 horses and over the subsequent decades and with the introduction of newer technologies such as fuel injection and turbocharging, the current five-pot in the latest TT RS has around three times the power of the original.

The five-cylinder engine has won the International Engine of the Year award in its class every year since 2010, and to mark the 40th anniversary of the original, we look back at five of the most memorable models with a five-pot…

1976 Audi 100

This one has to be in our top five because it was the first one to get the five-cylinder engine! Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior, the 100 had 136 horses which was pretty good back then…

1980 Audi 200 5T

But just four years later, Audi had a five-pot with a whopping 170 horses. The reason for the massive jump in power? A turbo. The 200 5T looked more aggressive too what with the quad headlights…

1983 Audi Quattro Group B

This one sure made waves at the 1983 Corsica Rally – well it would with a 355 horsepower fiver upfront. It didn’t just win the event but with Finnish rally great Hannu Mikkola behind the wheel, it took the overall driver’s championship title too…

1994 Audi RS2

The body didn’t give you any hint whatsoever at what the motor was packing in terms of power. They called this the super-estate and with 310 horses, it was a good name…

2015 Audi RS3 Sportback

With a blown 2.5-litre five-pot under the muscular bonnet, this hot-hatch makes 367 horses and is so quick that we even compared it to a supercar…