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Old 02-23-2015, 05:35 PM   #1
Rhumb
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Why the straight-six engine is making a comeback

The accountants want fewer cylinders. The engineers want smooth engines. The compromise? A good straight six. Let us explain.

Interesting article from R&T, even if they get a touch loose with some details, the basic gist is right on. I'd much rather have a smaller I6 than a bigger I4 for the NVH qualities alone. Loved the little 2.3l I6 in my '79 323i (kind of the M3 of its day). Maybe the classic BMW 3 series layout of an I6 in a longitudinal RWD chassis makes more practical and economical sense for the future than one might think.

I'd imagine an I6 might even be amenable to cylinder deactivation if one needs to eke out that last .1mpg whereas I'd think an already hoary four banger -- with all cylinders firing -- would be downright unbearable with just two jugs clomping away.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:38 PM   #2
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Every manufacturer is going with a turbo 4 or turbo 3 for a very good reason. Even with a six cylinder engine, you still have to feed gas to and haul the weight of six cylinders. Running a six on cylinder deactivation gets you a 3 cylinder. So add a turbo, chop off the last three cylinders and you have a motor that's smaller, lighter, and more efficient. Modern day active engine mounts can deal with the NVH and BMW doesn't play real engine notes anymore anyway so who GAF about sound.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
Every manufacturer is going with a turbo 4 or turbo 3 for a very good reason. Even with a six cylinder engine, you still have to feed gas to and haul the weight of six cylinders. Running a six on cylinder deactivation gets you a 3 cylinder. So add a turbo, chop off the last three cylinders and you have a motor that's smaller, lighter, and more efficient. Modern day active engine mounts can deal with the NVH and BMW doesn't play real engine notes anymore anyway so who GAF about sound.
Good argument for a .5 liter 150 psi turbo one-banger embedded in marshmallows with a 5 gigawatt stereo playing make-believe Ferrari V12 sounds as it joylessly jutters away.

While an I6 cruising on 3 holes would have more pronounced, less overlapping torque pulses, it would still retain the perfect mechanical balance of an I6 and when driven in anger, the other three soldiers would immediately step in for that creamy power deliver and music for driver and bystanders to enjoy.

Maybe I'm an old-school mechanical purist, but I see balance shafts, pillowy engine mounts and Milli-Vanilli'esque engine sound tracks as masking inferior design aspects made more to please the accountant and bureaucrat than a car enthusiast.

Last edited by Rhumb; 02-23-2015 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:19 PM   #4
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Good argument for a .5 liter 150 psi turbo one-banger embedded in marshmallows with a 5 gigawatt stereo playing make-believe Ferrari V12 sounds as it joylessly jutters away.

While an I6 cruising on 3 holes would have more pronounced, less overlapping torque pulses, it would still retain the perfect mechanical balance of an I6 and when driven in anger, the other three soldiers would immediately step in for that creamy power deliver and music for driver and bystanders to enjoy.

Maybe I'm an old-school mechanical purist, but I see balance shafts, pillowy engine mounts and Milli-Vanilli'esque engine sound tracks as masking inferior design aspects made more to please the accountant and bureaucrat than a car enthusiast.
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:54 PM   #5
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Given you've refuted exactly 0% if my point, I'll take it you agree 100%...

Anyway, I think a small to mid size I6 to be the perfect overall motor layout - hopefully BMW never does away with theirs.
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:58 PM   #6
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E46 M3 last good bmw has lackbof turbos
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:02 PM   #7
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Straight six at redline sounds like god's own plan.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:39 PM   #8
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6.3 v8 or go home brah
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:39 PM   #9
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straight six at redline sounds like god's own plan.
+1
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:40 PM   #10
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:44 PM   #11
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Mercedes is rumored to be bringing back the I6 into their lineup. The built some of the best ones in the business back in the 80's and 90's so I'm looking forward to seeing how a modern I6 from them will perform.

It's not complicated as far as model placement is concerned:

-Base: I4 Turbo

-Mid: I6 Turbo

-Flagship: V8 Turbo
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:03 PM   #12
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There is no way the I6 will make a comeback in the grand scheme of the auto industry. Most automobiles employ transverse layouts, where an I6 makes no sense to fit within the confines of the engine compartment sideways.

The only hope for the I6 is a luxury brand where they want to replace the V8 and they have a big car that can fit a long straight 6. So, at best, BMW may continue the I6 while Merc/Audi may follow suite out of competition. Lexus is Toyota-sourced, so they will stick with a V8 shared with truck lines or a turbo V6 that can still fit in a Camry (which an I6 can't). Everyone else won't care to make specialty engine like an I6. They will stick with whatever V6 they have lying around. And I bet Audi wouldn't even follow suit. They would continue a VR6, which packages better and could fit transversely.

The I6 is going to stay about where it is today - a specialty engine. I can only hope BMW decides to keep it around.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:38 PM   #13
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Love the S54 paired with catless headers at 8k RPM

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Old 02-23-2015, 08:49 PM   #14
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that fantastic note

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Old 02-23-2015, 09:05 PM   #15
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Love the S54 paired with catless headers at 8k RPM

Fawking bad ass
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:53 PM   #16
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Love the S54 paired with catless headers at 8k RPM

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Old 02-23-2015, 11:32 PM   #17
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Why does the new M3 sound like shlt compared to the E46 M3?
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The e46 M3 is by far the most boring and worst M3 that BMW has made to date.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:49 PM   #18
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Why does the new M3 sound like shlt compared to the E46 M3?
Same reason F1 sounds like sh1t now.

TURBOS
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Last edited by RossGuy; 02-23-2015 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rhumb View Post
Good argument for a .5 liter 150 psi turbo one-banger embedded in marshmallows with a 5 gigawatt stereo playing make-believe Ferrari V12 sounds as it joylessly jutters away.

While an I6 cruising on 3 holes would have more pronounced, less overlapping torque pulses, it would still retain the perfect mechanical balance of an I6 and when driven in anger, the other three soldiers would immediately step in for that creamy power deliver and music for driver and bystanders to enjoy.

Maybe I'm an old-school mechanical purist, but I see balance shafts, pillowy engine mounts and Milli-Vanilli'esque engine sound tracks as masking inferior design aspects made more to please the accountant and bureaucrat than a car enthusiast.


I never said I didn't line the straight six just that it's not going to make a comeback. The straight six is a LONG engine in terms of overall block length, which makes it hard to fit in many cars. It's heavier than an equally powerful turbo 4 and gets worse fuel economy. Please explain why this engine will be making a comeback for any large volume model?

Modern BMWs (which I know you guys think are the cars that god drives) all pipe in fake engine sounds. Sh1t, there's currently a modern BMW with an inline 3 cylinder turbo.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:59 AM   #20
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Good argument for a .5 liter 150 psi turbo one-banger embedded in marshmallows with a 5 gigawatt stereo playing make-believe Ferrari V12 sounds as it joylessly jutters away.
yes please
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