What's the Best Six-Cylinder Engine?

V8s are fun, and four-cylinders are practical, but what about our Goldilocks layout?

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We, as car enthusiasts, generally tend to love V8 engines. The power, the torque, the sound — by our deeds we honor him. But, as practical and reasonable people, most of us actually drive four-cylinders. Even with a turbo sitting pretty in that engine bay, halving your number of cylinders will boost your fuel economy and drastically cut tailpipe emissions.

But between these paragons of power or practicality, there’s another option. An erudite, patrician choice for engines, one that’s often underrated by American buyers. Today, we’re talking six-cylinder engines — and we’re crowning a champion from among their ranks.

B58 Engine Dyno 1000+ Horsepower - Sounds like a 2JZ!?

Last week, I had the pleasure of (briefly) driving Acura’s NSX Type S. As the final sendoff to the second-generation NSX, you’d expect it to be an incredible machine, and the experience of that mid-mounted V6 doesn’t disappoint. The snarl and bark of its exhaust, the whoosh of forced induction, and the electric assist that helps pin you back in your seat — it’s a high watermark for what six-cylinder engines can be.


But, unfortunately for our purposes, it isn’t just a V6. That engine is inseparable from its electric helpers, meaning I can’t outright say that it’s The Best Six Cylinder Engine. So, instead, I’ll have to turn to old faithful — the BMW B58.

No, not the Nissan RB26 or Toyota 2JZ. Those are both legendary engines in their own right, but they’re getting long in the tooth — and difficult to find secondhand for swaps. No, BMW’s B58 is their worthy successor: an all-purpose corporate six that just so happens to hold four-digit horsepower.

That’s my pick for the best six-cylinder engine, but what’s yours? Leave your answers in the comments, and we’ll collect our favorites tomorrow.