Somehow throughout the history of autos the five-cylinder engine has not been the engine of choice for many cars. Even though offering five cylinders over four can be a huge benefit for those cars that can use a little more power but don’t need to move to a V6 or even a straight six to fill the bill. Unfortunately because this engine has not been popular enough on the market for many years there may be a time in the future when there are no more fives at all. With that thought in mind, let’s look at the fives that we still have to celebrate:
Audi Quattro – This is the original car from Audi that eventually became the name of its AWD system. This car helped bring some of the power and fun of the track to our streets and offered plenty of fun from an engine that growled like a V10 but gave some fuel efficiency for longer fun.
Ford Focus RS – Not found in the Focus RS of today, the second generation offers a five-cylinder engine that was fun in the European area. This was unfortunately a version of the car that did not make it over here to become the car that we could all admire and enjoy, but this car certainly was fun.
Land Rover Defender – One of the most popular Land Rovers ever the Defender offered the Td5 diesel engine which was a five- cylinder offering that started in 1998. This was put in place because it was able to pass emissions where the older diesel could not.
Audi RS3 – In order to offer a throwback sound and an interesting bit if trivia and twist this car has the same firing order as the Audi Quattro which is 1-2-4-5-3 in order to take on the sound of the Rally cars that were so much fun to listen to and drive around the track.
Acura Vigor – Because the five-cylinder engine is small it can be mounted in various places and this car had it mounted to the rear of the engine compartment giving the car close to a 50/50 weight distribution making the Vigor a balanced car to drive which made it a lot easier and more exciting.
Audi TT RS – Continuing with the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine has the TT set up with the right components to show us what a sports car with this engine can really do. This may be the one way the five will survive.
Mercedes W123 – This new Mercedes that showed up in 1976 offered a small frame and stature and was powered by a 3.0-liter five-cylinder diesel engine. This car was extremely popular for the added power from the inclusion of one more cylinder.
Volvo 850 R – In either sedan or wagon form this Volvo was sold all over the globe and many are still running today. This car enjoyed the added power of the fifth cylinder and gave us a fun car to drive in sedan form and sensible on with all the awesome safety.
Audi RS 2 – When you look at it you see a simple wagon, not one that has 315 horsepower and some great grip on the road, but that is what you get when you add an extra cylinder to the engine. This sneaky car was great for the family or for just enjoying the ride.
With only a few exceptions the five-cylinder engine has disappeared, but can these few continue to show us that in a world where more is always better the five is better than four system only makes perfect sense. It appears Audi is going to be the leader in keeping the five-cylinder engine around, let’s see if they can pull it off.