Seinfeld coined the term “shrinkage” on May 12, 1994 in reference to George Costanza’s little problem, but Larry David, the show’s storied creator probably never expected automakers to champion the idea, albeit in a mechanical sense.
Despite expectations, or a lack thereof, shrinkage is becoming the hot trend in new car engines. One segment where that preference is becoming particularly pronounced is the luxury market, where buyers revere cars with smooth, powerful engines that accelerate to speed with minimal jarring.
The present-day solution to that problem is forced-induction, something the 2013 Audi A8 3.0T takes advantage of by switching from last year’s 4.2-liter V8 to a 3.0-liter supercharged V6. Unfortunately, the transplant means a significant drop to 333 hp from the previous 372.
Audi had hoped the change would be justified in both the car’s lower cost, which slots it in near BMW’s 740i, but just like Costanza it seems the company is feeling exposed with something smaller than expected.
According to the EPA’s estimates, the 2013 A8 3.0T gets 18/28 mpg city/highway, which is the same as its V8-powered predecessor. All might not be lost, though, because the car might actually have better mileage than the EPA says thanks to its engine start/stop system which wasn’t available last year.