How powerful are 8-cylinder engines

Cars with 6-cylinder engines are becoming increasingly rare

Engines with six combustion chambers give vehicles from the upper mid-range upwards smoothness, superior power delivery and a silky sound when driving. But more and more premium manufacturers are relying on small-volume but powerful in-line 4-cylinder engines - even in the Mercedes S-Class.

There are larger engines in the upper middle class.

Photo: MAGNA STEYR AG & Co KG

Vehicles with 4-cylinder engines are standard today. If you want to afford something more comfortable, you can sit in a 6-, 8- or 12-cylinder. This formula must now be questioned. In the upper middle class there was until recently a wide range of engines with six combustion chambers such as the 520 BMW with 2.2 l displacement or the Mercedes E 230 with 2.5 l or the E 280 with 3.0 l machine.

6-cylinder is only available in the top equipment for large engines

In the new models of the upper middle class, Audi A 6, 5 Series BMW and Mercedes E-Class, there are six cylinders only with large engines in the top equipment. That means z. For BMW customers, for example, they have to resort to a 335i with 225 kW or 530i with 200 kW and a displacement of around 3.0 l. Mercedes is now also installing an economical 4-cylinder diesel in the prestigious S-Class.

“Downsizing” is the catchphrase for the manufacture of low-volume engines that are on par with larger machines in terms of driving performance, but consume less fuel, especially in city traffic. You can read in the relevant online portals that this development not only makes customers happy. There the environmentally friendly technology is discussed controversially.

Rainer Golloch, author of the VDI book "Downsizing in Combustion Engines" (Springer 2005), points out to VDI nachrichten that on the one hand the image of passenger cars plays a major role and that certain advantages of the larger engines cannot be disputed. “The silky engine running of a 6-, 8- or even 12-cylinder cannot be compared with a 4-cylinder.” However, according to Golloch, today's turbocharged engines have, in some cases, noticeably better elasticity than larger-volume naturally aspirated engines. The torque as an engine parameter makes a significant contribution to a tangible driving experience and is classified as important by the drivers. "The characteristics of the power delivery are perceived as very pleasant in modern, supercharged engines."

There is also a trend towards smaller, energy-saving motors in the luxury class

In addition, fuel consumption will play an increasingly important role in the future. "This is exactly where small, supercharged engines show their advantages, so that the trend in the luxury class of automobiles is clearly going in the direction of smaller engines."

As long as measures to reduce noise and vibration are noticeably implemented for the customer, they will not hesitate long to order a small drive. Of course, 8 and 12-cylinder engines would always find their fans - in niches.

Golloch does not share the fear of some consumers that small, powerful internal combustion engines could have a shorter life expectancy: “Of course, the specific demands of a small, supercharged engine are higher than that of a large-volume naturally aspirated engine, but the materials, production technologies and simulation methods are used to ensure security during the development phase always better. ”In addition, it has always been an issue in engine construction that specific performance increases. Downsizing has therefore always existed. "The associated challenges could also be solved."

In the meantime, BMW is rubbing its vocabulary and emphasizing the advantages of the new generation of engines: "In this context, we are talking about technological upgrading rather than downsizing," B. Herbert Diess, Board Member for Development at BMW AG. The manufacturer is responding to customer requests for more torque, more power and less consumption.

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