The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 July 2004

Wow, I coulda had a V6

Bruce's thinking on engine choices:

I wanted a car with something better than a four because I assumed that it would hold up better. I tend to think that fours are pushed too hard by highway and stop and go driving.

Bruce drives something (he's not saying what) with a six-cylinder.

Longevity, of course, is the result of many factors, but there's not much doubt that a four works harder than a six when asked to perform the same tasks. My own car has a small undersquare four, the long stroke intended to produce some additional torque, and at its 6500-rpm redline, the mean piston speed is 3929 ft/min. The V6 offered as the up-option is allowed to rev to 7000 rpm, and its shorter stroke results in a mean piston speed of 3170 ft/min. In this benchmark, at least, the V6 is having to strain itself about twenty percent less — and given the gearing on these cars, it's probably doing 25 mph faster. (No, I didn't do the math; Julian Bradbury did.)

Still, there weren't too many times during the past couple of weeks when I really wished I'd spent the extra two grand for the V6, even with the A/C running.

Posted at 7:30 AM to Driver's Seat


Four cyclinders have been fine with me for years. I still like driving my wife's 6 cyl., but find the few times I use the extra power is when I could just as easily do without it. The exception is towing more than a couple thousand pounds.

Also, do you realize the deals you can get on a four-cylinder/ manual transmission pickup truck in Oklahoma? I sell 'em at about 100,000 miles anyway, so have never had a problem with engine life.

Folks who haven't driven a 4 cyl. for a while would likely be surprised at the improvements made in the newer engines.

Posted by: Mike at 11:57 AM on 20 July 2004

I have a six cylinder audi that I love. My other car has a V8. I have never owned a four cylinder car, but I wouldn't be afraid to buy one. There are some really neat ones out there.

Posted by: Ethan at 3:34 PM on 20 July 2004

Some of them made by Audi or its parent VW, in fact.

With front-wheel drive, there's one additional factor: the additional mass of a six adds to the already nose-heavy weight distribution, which tends to increase understeer, which can be a major annoyance in FWD cars.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:52 PM on 20 July 2004

actually... I drive an eight, beautiful engine.

Posted by: bruce at 8:31 PM on 20 July 2004