Detroit’s auto critics are a funny bunch. For decades they’ve been mocking the idea that Americans could ever love Europe’s small, underpowered, overpriced cars, as Detroit gorged itself on SUV profits. Now that Ford and GM have announced they’re bringing small cars like the Fiesta and Spark to the US, you’re starting to see the pendulum swing twice as hard in the opposite direction. “Yes, there will be a couple of mega-powerful V-8 asphalt eaters at the Detroit show, including the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and the 2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0,” writes Scott Burgess in a Detroit News piece entitled “V-6 engines begin long fade into history.” “But, it turns out, destiny has determined that the meek four-banger will inherit the earth.” Burgess’s theory follows Ford’s Ecoboost playbook fairly closely: thanks to direct injection and turbocharging, smaller engines can produce more power. And when you consider that electric hybrids can restore some of the lost poke of a large-displacement engine, the prediction seems all the more likely. Eventually. But just because the new Sonata and Regal aren’t being offered with a V6, doesn’t mean the six-banger is ready for automotive Valhalla just yet. Even Burgess admits that “it may take 10 years or even more.” When do you, TTAC’s Best and Brightest, reckon the six-cylinder option on cars like the Camry, Altima or Impala will fall by the wayside? When will we see the death of the six-cylinder popular sportscar alá the Nissan Z?
Oh, and Burgess? Can we please stop calling all six-cylinder engines “V-6” now? It confuses the civilians, and everyone’s sick of correcting people when they say their car has a “V-4” even though it’s clearly not a classic Ford Taunus (etc).
Thanks, The Management