Who needs a V8? While the bent-eight remains an iconic engine, and one with a long, illustrious history in Australia, the current performance landscape is dominated by six-cylinders.
From supercar makers like Ferrari down to mainstream brands like Ford, it seems V6 engines are the right balance between power and efficiency. That’s especially true for some of those on our list that add an electric motor for a hybrid boost.
While there’s many more than five to choose from, here are our pick of the best ‘Super Sixes’ on sale today.
Ferrari 296 GTB
Enzo Ferrari was famous for his love of V12 engines and they remain a staple of the brand’s line-up in the 812 GTS and several Icona Series models. But the brand’s newest model doesn’t have a V12 or even a V8, but instead is the first V6-powered Ferrari production car since the iconic Dino.
But it’s no ordinary six, it’s an all-new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that’s paired with an electric motor to make a V8-beating 610kW of power and 740Nm of torque. On its own the V6 makes 487kW, which is plenty of grunt in its own right.
While the V12 and V8 engines are still used in several models, Ferrari clearly sees the combination of six-cylinders and electrification as its future.
Ford Ranger Raptor
There were several rumours that Ford would install a V8 into its all-new Ranger Raptor, given Australia’s love of the engine and the underwhelming response to its 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel. Instead, the blue oval has opted for a V6, which probably isn’t surprising after all as the Ford GT and latest F-150 Raptor both run turbocharged V6 these days, so the company is clearly moving beyond the V8.
The particular engine for the upcoming Ranger Raptor is a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol unit that punches out 292kW and 583Nm. That’s more torque than the 5.0-litre V8 in the Mustang GT (which makes 556Nm), which should ensure the new super ute is suitably quick.
The rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren has spilled off the Formula 1 track and onto the road, with the British brand also revealing an all-new, V6 hybrid supercar – the Artura.
Slotting between the 570S and 720S, the Artura is built on the brand’s new-generation platform and gets its first all-new engine since its revival last decade. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that has powered every new model since the 12C has been replaced by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes 430kW and 585Nm.
But that’s not all, McLaren backs it up with a 70kW electric motor that takes total output for the Artura to 500kW and 720Nm. With that much grunt, the Artura will run 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds and takes just 8.3 seconds to get to 200km/h.
The MC20 is Maserati’s first genuine sports car since the Ferrari Enzo-based MC12 finished production in 2005. That car was powered by a 6.0-litre V12 that made 463kW and 652Nm, but the all-new MC20 has a newly-developed 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo that makes 463kW and 730Nm.
That’s a clear demonstration of the leaps forward in engine technology over the past decade, with these smaller, six-cylinder engines benefiting from advancements in turbocharging and other efficiency improvements.
The new engine, dubbed ‘Nettuno’, will power a range of other Maserati models as the brand once again tries to reinvent itself. You’ll see the engine in the new Grecale SUV as well as the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio models in the coming years.
As the saying goes, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, and that’s very much the case for the 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine found in the RS5. It’s part of a joint-development program between Audi and Porsche, now that both brands fall under the control of Volkswagen Group.
This new V6 replaces a V8 in the RS5 but makes more power – 331kW/600Nm – thanks to its centrally-mounted turbochargers and other modern tech.
The RS5 isn’t the only model that uses this engine, with it also under the bonnet of the Porsche Macan, Cayenne and Panamera.