Here's to the V-6, the engine world’s unsung workhorse


The V-6 doesn’t get a lot of love. Existing between the balanced, power-dense V-8 and the lightweight, fuel-efficient four-cylinder, this engine layout is widely used yet rarely celebrated. Marmon was one of the first companies to develop the V-6 layout in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until the Lancia Aurelia in the 1950s that the technology became available on a widespread scale.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/20/top-5-v-6-engines

Loved the 2.7 twin turbo V6 in my 2002 Audi A6. Lots of torque and smooth power. Just a fantastic engine for driving. I miss driving that car. If I’d had the 6 speed manual instead of the Tiptronic, I’d have probably kept it. Regrets.

1 Like

I drove a 90 Ford Taurus SHO for 335,000 miles. That included one engine replacement. I have not driven the others, but Yamaha did an unbelievable job on that motor. A big negative was that valves had to be adjusted every 60,000 miles. There was not a Ford dealer in the nation that knew what an SHO was at the time, and the service areas had even less of a clue. I found a tuner and ultimately brought mine up from 220 stock hp to slightly over 300. Horsepower costs money, and I certainly spent way too much. It should certainly be an honorable mention though.


I have two V6 Buick engines that are brand new-Never installed in a vehicle. They are for sale. My father worked for GM and he acquired them , but never used them. Please contact me if interested.

1 Like

I concur with the V-6 in the Taurus SHO from 1989-1995. It may not have made the list because it was a Yamaha built motor placed inside a Ford Taurus. I fell in love with the motor after buying the Taurus for a comfortable bigger family car. The motor surprised me as the harder I push the more it responded. If you have not seen one of these motors please google it. Its one of the most coolest looking engines produced.

The motor has been used in sand rails for years as it loves to rev above 4K RPM with a redline of 7300rpm.


My 1950 Chevy pickup ( my daily driver ) has a 1991 GM 4.3 V6 backed with a 5 speed transmission. It will do 80 in 3rd gear, has hauled every load I’ve needed it to, and gets 20 mpg.


Just for the sound alone the Honda/Acura first generation NSX motor has got to go on this list.


The GMC V6 came in several sizes, from 305, 332?, 351, 379, 401, and 478. There were also Magnum versions of some of the engines. The firing order travels from back to front. There was also a V12 which used 4 of the V6 heads!
Too bad the “Cologne” V6 of Ford’s didn’t make this list. It had displacements from 1800cc to 4.0L, and started production in 1965. Instead of being a truncated V8, these engines were derived from the 1962 V4 Taunus engine. They produced from about 80hp to over 300hp.


@eastsierra395 - The “twin-six” twelve that was formed using the big-block six is just an insane engine to me. I love that it got built though!

1 Like

I like all of these choices but I’ll add my favorite: Mazda’s 2.5L V-6 in the 1994 MX-6. A lovely, curvy car and a revvy engine that made beautiful noises.


Just bought my wife a 2018 Ford Edge Sport with a twin Turbo V6 engine rated at 315 HP.
Accelerates to 85-90 easily on the local freeways. A few days ago she beat another woman in a C6 Corvette from a stoplight.
This is a great engine and it’s nice to see it packaged in a smaller SUV.


Busso baby !


I still have, and love my 2001 A6 2.7T, and that’s because I did get the 6 speed with it in 2001, along with factory sport tuned suspension, in Ming Blue w vanilla interior and sport seats. The '01 had full leather seats, door panels and still looks cherry new. Uncommon to have a 6spd with the bigger sedan but what a great combination. I’ve put over 300,000Kms (186K miles) on it, have replaced turbos once due to leaks, but otherwise very reliable. Has factory Nav, 60Gb Phatnoise hard drive connected to the factory Bose upgraded system. Perfect winter car (love driving manual in winter) so would like to keep it a bit longer!


An article about the I-6 being the unsung workhorse would have been more appropriate, in my opinion.


Another honorable mention - still driving my 90 T-bird SC with the 3.8 supercharged V-6. Only rated around 200hp (conservative) from the factory it accelerates quickly and has a nice tone when cruising around 1500 rpms.


I am enjoying the new V6 engines. 3.5 ecoboost in my F-150 is great!
And 335hp from the Camaro V6 while still getting decent mpg is pretty stunning I think.


The Mitsubishi 3.0 was a work horse but not in the cars mentioned. It was in the Chrysler line of single overhead cam motors where it powered their cars to billions of miles.


Inline-6 engines are pretty well liked by the car community. V6 engines, on the other hand, are somewhat less popular, leading many enthusiasts to dismiss the breed altogether - hence why we label them “unsung workhorses.”

We did write about our favorite inline-6 engines, too! Here’s a link to that story

Thanks for reading!

1 Like

Agree with an earlier post, that the Busso V6 is probably the best sounding of all time. Cannot believe it wasn’t mentioned. Also the woman who beat the other woman driving a C6?! Obviously the woman in the Vette either didn’t realize she was being raced, or she just didn’t know how to drive it. I know the Edge with the twin turbo is quick for an CUV, but not that quick!


You missed what I think was one of the most significant and ubiquitous V-6s the 60° 2.8 Ford that went in the Capri as well as many other Fords. In the Capri it made the car a contender.