Six packed - why I prefer sixes to V8s

By: Andy Enright, Unique Cars magazine

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We're a nation of V8 lovers, but not everyone agrees that's the pinnacle of automotive powerplants. Here young Mr Enright throws down the challenge - why he thinks six is best.

Six packed - why I prefer sixes to V8s
The Charger was living proof a six could do the job.

I love a good V8 engine. Heck, I love a bad V8 engine, but since working at Unique Cars, something has been niggling at me and now it’s confession time. I prefer sixes. When discussing bucket list cars for a forthcoming feature, I realised that all the cars that had resonated most with me – of which I’d include the BMW M1, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0, the Lancia Stratos, the Alfa Romeo SZ and an utterly berserker 450kW Falcon XR6T were all six-pot lumps. True, there wasn’t a lot of commonality between them other than the cylinder count, but was there something more to this?

To that end, I sought the advice of Dave Morley, who merely snorted that V8s were truck engines and looked around the office. Uncle Phil’s just bought a Boxster, designer Ange drives an XR6T, editor Guy rocked up in his BMW 633 CSi today and our online diva Mary Lee’s daily smoker is an Alfa 159 3.2-litre. Six pots the lot of 'em. Morley can talk all day long about primary couple balance and third-order imbalances, but he knows his stuff. A good straight six is hard to beat.

And that’s part of the reason I’d nominate a normally-aspirated straight-six as my favourite layout, with honourable mention going to two normally-aspirated straight-sixes bolted together in the form of a V12. The list of great sixes is long. There will be many of you who love the sound of an E49 Charger at flat chat. My favourite might just be the 3.2-litre six under the bonnet of the BMW M3 CSL. Standing trackside and witnessing John Bowe redline a CSL at Haunted Hills was to hear one of the great engine notes. It took me back to attending the development of this car at the Nurburgring, where we could hear the cars coming from kilometres away, that wild metallic buzzsaw sound echoing through the forest.

So what say you? Six or eight? We’re running a special issue on each in the not too distant future and need your nominations as to what you’d include. The Charger is a gimme. So’s something with a blown Barra. Or if you want to make a case for a glorious bent eight, we’d be keen to hear that too.

Over to you.

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