It appears Cadillac was on to something back in 1979, when it introduced its ill-fated 8/6/4 motor, which deactivated cylinders as needed to improve fuel economy. (Too often, however, it deactivated all of them).
But these days, according to Ward's AutoWorld, cylinder deactivation has come of age, with several of its 10 Best Engines for 2005 sporting some version of the technology. Also represented on the list are gasoline-electric hybridization and advanced diesel technology. Not represented is the 5.7-liter diesel V8 that powered my friend's dad's 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88.
The Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2005: (Engine and tested vehicle)
· Audi AG FSI 3.2L DOHC V-6 (Audi A6)
· Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8 (Audi S4)
· DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8 (Chrysler 300C)
· DaimlerChrysler AG Mercedes-Benz 3.2L DOHC I-6 CDI Turbodiesel (Mercedes E320 CDI)
· Ford Motor Co. 4.6L SOHC V-8 (Ford Mustang GT)
· General Motors Corp. Vortec 4.2L DOHC I-6 (Chevrolet TrailBlazer)
· Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 3L SOHC V-6 IMA Hybrid (Honda Accord Hybrid)
· Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Acura 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Acura RL)
· Mazda Motor Corp. 1.3L Renesis rotary (Mazda RX-8)
· Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35 Coupe)
Ward's AutoWorld Announces 10 Best Engines Awards for 2005 [The Auto Channel]
Happy 50th Birthday, Chevrolet Small-Block V8 [internal]