In the very recent past, six-cylinder midsize sedans were often the cars consumers acquired because the basic four-cylinder powerplants were insufficient devices. As fuel efficiency became more of a concern, as economic concerns prompted families to consider less costly purchases, and as larger four-cylinder engines became more refined and powerful, the six-cylinder option gradually became less necessary.
In 2014, upgrading from the four to the six means an increase from sufficient power to over-the-top acceleration.
The forest green 1969 Nova sat unwashed and unloved at the side of the modest house. I studied it from the side of the road with the eye of an experienced hunter and I recognized the signs. Shunted off to the side while two more modern cars sat in the driveway, it was obvious that the old Nova had already passed that threshold of usefulness and begun the descent into eventual abandonment. The grass beneath the car, just a cutting or two taller than the rest of the yard, told me how recently that had been – just a few weeks. There was a chance then, that the car had not sat long enough to totally degrade. Perhaps, I thought, there was still some value to be had.
Now that I’m scouring eBay Australia for crazy Detroit Down Under cars— maybe even as crazy as a 4-71-blown six-cylinder Torana— I’ve been dragged once again into the Whirlpool Of Arcane Internet Car Knowledge. You know how that goes: you go to look up the Australian Falcon on Wikipedia, a reference to the Valiant Charger leads you to the mother of all Chrysler-related online time-sucks, and then your whole day is used up. This time, Allpar sent me to Valiant.org, and that’s where I found the page on the Chrysler Hemi-Six engine. There you’ll find a description by a Chrysler engineer of how his Australian counterparts tested their new (American-designed) engine: (Read More…)
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?