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Inline 6

Try driving down a slippery downhill road with front wheel drive. You don’t have to push in that condition to “feel the difference.”

And most people don’t realize that if you are in an emergency situation (with front wheel drive) where you start to fishtail, that the proper reaction is to apply power, not to lift off the throttle.

Granted, you shouldn’t be in these situations under normal driving. But if you’re in an emergency situation, the correct response may be opposite to the intuitivw one.

afi, you seem to be hung up on that balance thing, I do not believe they are better balanced than most V6s.

It all boils down to what you are willing to pay for…

BMW has (and will continue) to make some of the best in-line sixes for years. My 1998 328i has the best and smoothest engine of any of the 25+ cars I have owned. It also delivers a very respectable 33 MPG on the highway going 85 MPH.


I’ve heard the the I-6 is the simplest “inherently balanced” engine, and I believe it.

I’ve always wondered hwy the I-4 wasn’t balanced. I mean, there’s the same amt. of mass going up vs. going down, plus it’s symmetrical from the center of the engine (meaning weight isn’t shifting “from side to side”), and there’s a power stroke every 180deg. of crankshaft rotation.

Reading on the subject suggests that the pistons accelerate “more abruptly” going up vs. going down? If so, I’m assuming it has something to do with the angle made by the crankshaft and connceting rod, and that it’s essentially “a trigonometry thing.” True?

Lexus sold a 3 liter straight six in several cars up until recently. It’s a lovely, smooth thing.

The 2008 GM Atlas 4.2L I6 produces 285 hp and 276 ft*lbs or torque.

Yes, that Lexus I6 in the SC300/GS300 started out (in earlier form) in the Cressida/Supra. Great engine.

“an example of a nostalgia engine going far past those numbers”


The BMW has multi-valve, overhead cam and no doubt a combustion chamber shaped with computer aided design. Same level of sophistication in the intake and exhaust plumbing.

Today the engine designers have the freedom to make admirable engines in any of the popular configurations. It’s just a matter of cubic inches and square dollars.

They have perfect primary and secondary balance.

60 degree V6’s are very well balanced these days and don’t get the uneven wear that they used to, but the I6 is perfect.

Only problem with the straight is the length of the crankshaft $$$$

Oh I thought you meant a straight 6 would never hit 250hp +


I’m somewhat bemused at all the “engineers” fawning over the I-6, simply due to the “balance” of the engine.

The downside is that you have the longest possible crankshaft for the configuration. In addition to the problem of packaging, when either the 1 or 6 cylinder fires, that extra-long crank produces a huge “moment arm” for the crank and associated bearings to endure, that would not be so severe in a V-6.

Perhaps the optimal engineering solution is just go with the V-6 and correct for balance? I mean, if sufficient engineering acumen can make a (modestly) reliable engine out of the engineering obscenity that is the 45-deg V twin, a V-6 ought to be a piece of cake!

It’s interesting to note that where space is not an issue, inline motors (diesels esp.) are the choice… for 4 through 12 cylinders.

Didn’t know that-does that apply to snow also?-Kevin

Suzuki Verona had a I-6-Kevin (PS Fwd too)

Caddyman, you are right.

well I don’t know if this is relevant, but over the road tractors used to use Detroit diesel engines that were 2 cycle V6s and V8s. I don’t know if any are around today.

I have an I-6 in my '04 Jeep Wrangler, one of the last US vehicles to have one. Chrysler went to a V-6 in 2006. It’s a great engine for a Jeep, lots of low end torque.

“I wouldn’t mind driving something large enough to use that engine.”

How many miles would it take to stop? Do you thing that supertankers use one or two of these behemoths?

“FORD taught the Japanese a great deal about manufacturing…”

And Mazda taught Ford a lot, too. Mazda and Ford used the same transmission design on similar cars, yet Mazda had significantly fewer warranty returns. Ford investigated, and discovered that it was a combination of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing and statistical process control. Ford kept up the good work and builds fine cars today. Unlike my 1973 Capri GT, 1987 Taurus, and 1996 Windstar. Actually, the Taurus was fine, except for the early rust on the passenger’s side door.