For oh so many years, the V6 was simply the not-V8. It was a lesser. “V6 I never bought,” as Gucci bragged back in 2008. But the layout is having its moment in the sun these days, powering everything from F1 cars to an increasing count of supercars. Let’s hear how they sound.
Conveniently for the sake of this discussion, the Goodwood Festival of Speed ran quite recently, and featured a number of interesting V6 cars of interesting sound. First was the first of a run of custom Porsche 930s with de-tuned 1980s TAG-Porsche F1 engines, those being 1.5-liter V6 turbos. It’s remarkably quiet:
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the classic Lancia Stratos, which ran the Dino V6 from Ferrari, with more intake noise than a jet on takeoff:
Also of interest is the new Ford GT Mark II, which runs a twin-turbo 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6, a truck engine rebuilt and boosted within an inch of its life. I wouldn’t exactly call it... sonorous, but it’s interesting:
More interesting still is the engine in Ken Block’s HooniTruck. It’s the same engine as is in the Ford GT, but with more boost and more howling. It sounds like a buzzsaw ripping your house in half. No, it sounds like aliens arriving to Earth with a giant buzzsaw and ripping your town in half:
On a similar vein is the Lotus Evora GT4, which is what happens when you take a fairly ordinary road car V6 (this one being a Toyota design like you’d find in a Camry), and tuned to hell. This one is naturally-aspirated, not turbocharged:
Another V6 worth listening to is the one in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. This is another Ferrari design, just in that it’s like three-quarters of a Ferrari V8. Again we’re looking at a twin-turbo design, but this time it’s for the road, so you don’t get lots of wailing induction sound. You get popping and banging exhaust sound. Again, it’s worth listening to. Maybe not worth having as your phone ringtone, but that’s fine:
Finally, let’s listen to what’s got to be the most highly-strung engine here, a Mercedes W08 F1 car, a single-turbo hybrid V6, this time of a cavernous 1.6 liters. It manages to combine the wail of early engines with the crackles of newer ones. I only wish it was louder.
Then, more people might hear it and appreciate it for the weird, wonderful thing it is.