Best Inline Six Engines


Back in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show, an event filled with a humdrum mix of cookie cutter crossovers and electrified SUVs, Mercedes-Benz blasted a big hole in the boring with the announcement it will once again offer an inline six-cylinder engine in the United States. An all-new turbocharged 3.0-liter, which will spit out a combined 362 horsepower and 364 lb-ft of torque with the help of an electric motor, will power the redesigned 2019 CLS sedan.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/01/02/best-inline-six-engines


Enjoyed the article and surprised myself with how many on the list I’m familiar with… from the Chev. 235 (also notable from its predecessors due to a full pressure oil system and hydraulic lifters) to Chrysler slant-six, to the 2jz and RBdett.


@jwiley Thanks, we’ll correct the story. I’ll let Scott know as well.


I will admit I am a big fan of the 235ci Chevrolet. Having watched what one of those endured at the hands of my family when I was too young to drive, they are really a great engine. Even if it is anecdotal on my part, the consensus seems to agree.


Hey, you got to drive one this summer that was attached to a 1948 Chevy pickup!

I’m also a big fan of the clever names they came up with for this engine: “Thriftmaster”, “Blue Flame”. Props to GM’s marketing team.



My vote’s for the Stovebolt. One of my favorite AMT models too. To your point Brett, GM’s marketing team knew how to do it!


One notable six that was not mention would be AMC’s 232 cu in (3.8 L) “Torque Command” inline six. With seven main bearings it was a pretty reliable and dependable engine. While is was not known for burning any rubber it provided reliable transportation for little old ladies in their Rambler Americans and Gremlins.


You may not have heard of the 6Cyl Chrysler Hemi engine produced over here in Aus. I would definately place it in one of the best 6 Cyl motors around. On the face of it it is very conventional, straight six, 2 valves per cylinder, pushrods, non crossflow head. The standard version of the 265 cubes produced 203 hp (151 kW) @ 4600 rpm and 262 lb⋅ft (355 N⋅m) of torque @ 2800 rpm.
The top of the line performance engine in the E49 Chargers produced 302 hp (225 kW) @ 5600 rpm and 320 lb⋅ft (434 N⋅m) of torque @ 4400 rpm. The increased power is due mainly to a more aggressive camshaft, better valve springs, Triple 45mm DCOE Weber Sidedraught carburetors, tuned-length exhaust headers and a higher compression ratio of 10.0:1.


Jeep 4 liter – if the vehicles they went into were even close i quality to that engine -


I was surprised not to see the Hudson 308 “Hornet” engine. The NASCAR records of the early 50s speak for themselves.


I owned an early nineties model Ford F-150 that had a 300 cubic inch, straight-6. It was my first new automobile. It had a 5-speed manual transmission and it was very reliable. AFAIK that engine was around for a good while and had a very good reputation. My wife (now ex-wife) and I owned a Jeep Cherokee that came with the 4.0 liter engine you mentioned. It was a great car. Both of those straight 6’s were very reliable and never gave us any troubles at all.


This article is a joke, if its truly “the best inline six engines”. Two incredible straight six engines made in large numbers were not even mentioned, yet you mention some obscure Toyota Yamaha straight six. The first engine you missed, was the 4.9L (300 cubic inch) Ford straight six. That engine was in many Ford F150’s and Econoline vans for many years, and it started life as a lower displacement engine before it was a 300. Super reliable, very torque, very capable 6 cylinder. I had one in a 1988 former Napa auto delivery truck, bought it with 300,000 miles, and it ran like a top with great oil pressure. The second engine I REALLY cant believe you missed, is the 4.0L Inline 6 from Australia, in the Ford Falcon XR6. I’ve actually had lots of seat time in this car, and its deceptively fast. They just stopped producing this car and this engine in 2017 in Australia. Very sad ending to a incredible car, and engine. The output from this engine is 362 hp / 394 ft-lbs of torque. Do you homework and maybe revise the article to include these…


I enjoyed the article. Opinions are, apparently, like mnazarek. Everybody has one.


I’m fully shocked the Cummins 12-Valve isn’t on this list… sure, it’s truck engine, but it’s a million mile engine nonetheless!


Years ago, I used to deliver for Federal Express. I was new to the station, and the new guy always got the oldest equipment. The van I was given was a 3/4 ton Ford Econoline van that had the straight 6 in it, 300 cubic inches. That van had 411, 000 miles on it when I got it, and I ran it probably another 40,000. It was dead reliable, and ran very well for something that had to start 40 or 50 times a day. I’m sure it had been through its share of starters, but it didn’t use much oil and never missed a beat. I did ask our mechanic about it, and that was indeed the original engine that came in that van.


I cannot believe you missed the Barra. Look it up and readjust your list. 4.0l DOHC factory with uo to 370kw. Poor form.


Yep, definitely sounds like the best six cylinder engine hardly anyone in the U.S. has heard of. And, I think, previously mentioned above if you’d have read the other posts. Poor form.