Just a few months ago it seemed like the straight-six engine was all but dead. Abandoned by the Germans and Japanese for stuff like, well, a V6 engine. Jaguar and Mercedes are saving the straight-six this year, so now is a perfect time to go over the all of the differences between six-cylinder engines.
I've personally owned a straight-six packaged nicely in a E46 BMW 325ci, which I greatly miss all of the time. I have sweaty dreams about it. But is a V6 a better engine? The fine folks over at CarThrottle have made this easy with a handy video and some very nifty animations.
The benefits of a straight-six is its simplicity by design, typically easier access for general maintenance, and THAT BALANCE. Every straight-six car review ever seemingly has the driver measuring the engine balance with their butt, proclaiming how &smooth; the engine idles and the uniform revving. Yea, that's the good stuff.
Packaging is a big issue with the straight-six, though. It's just kind of hard to fit in cars, can throw off the center of gravity, is nearly impossible for front-wheel-drive setups, and loses some rigidity over other engine options due to being a little stretched out and skinny.
V6 engines litter the lot of current supercars, including the Nissan GT-R and new Acura NSX. It's more compact, making it easier to snuggle in some turbocharging, works better for front-wheel-drive applications, and makes it easier to fill a vehicle lineup with the same basic engine layout. Copy/Paste.
But V6 engines do have a more complicated design, needing balancing shafts, more components, and their application across entire lineups and in front wheel drive cars also arguably makes car companies get a little boring.
So who you got? Toyota Supra and BMW M3 or Honda NSX and GT-R?