10 Coolest Cars With Unusual Engine Setups

With the current state of the automotive industry, we are slowly starting to move away from conventional engines. While this may not work in everyone’s favor, and there are many reasons why a focus on electrification might not be as beneficial, that is simply the reality we live in right now. Internal combustion engines have become truly fantastic pieces of engineering, and over time Over the past 100 years or so we’ve seen a huge variety, throughout the 2000s and pretty much every decade as well .

Eventually, most automakers settled for what would be called conventional engine configurations. A number of in-line or V-shaped cylinders, perhaps with a turbocharger or two, or even a supercharger attached to them. Eventually electric motors attached themselves to them as well. However, we’ve also seen some pretty unusual engine setups, and more often than not they appear in very cool cars.

ten Audi RS3-I5

While not really as unconventional as something like, say, a turbine, an inline five-cylinder engine is a pretty unusual setup. Most automakers have never used such a powertrain in their cars, and those that have are rare. The only application of an I5 in today’s automotive market is the latest Audi RS3, which we love.

RELATED: 10 Amazing Features We Love About The 2022 Audi RS3

We don’t know exactly how Audi managed while still complying with emissions regulations, but we’re glad they did. The RS3’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo, offered in both saloon and saloon versions, develops an incredible 395bhp. With AWD, a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission and drift mode, it can scare some real sports cars.

9 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion – W8

If there was anything the VW Group liked to do in the early 2000s, it was making ridiculous engine configurations. Absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps the crown jewel of VW’s weird engine era is their W8, which only made an appearance in one model, the Passat W8 4Motion.

Prior to the design of the Phaeton, the Passat W8 was Volkswagen’s flagship sedan and was intended to compete with luxury brands. The W8 engine obviously had eight cylinders, but they were laid out at a much narrower angle, resulting in a unique sound and personality. It also resulted in catastrophic maintenance and reliability, meaning no one wanted it.

8 Mazda RX-8 – Rotary

Although Mazda wasn’t the first to use a rotary engine in a production car, let alone invent one, it was the automaker that popularized the use of the rotary engine in a variety of applications. automobiles. Most notable is the sports car segment, which for Mazda would be the RX range. To this day, all of Mazda’s RX cars remain the best-known applications of the Wankel.

Instead of traditional pistons arranged in a V or in-line arrangement, the RX-8 used two triangular rotors stacked on top of each other. As the rotors turned, they carried out the internal combustion process. It wasn’t very torquey, but the driving experience was fun and hilarious due to the fun of the revs. Despite what many people may tell you, the RX-8 wasn’t a bad car at all, but proper regular maintenance is definitely a requirement. However, we still prefer the FD RX-7.

7 Volvo XC90 – transverse V8

With Volvo’s shift to premium segments in the 2000s, their XC90 SUV got off to a flying start. For a first attempt at a luxury SUV, they did a fantastic job, as the XC90 is a fantastic family car, and it cemented Volvo’s place among luxury cars. However, for a little while the XC90 lacked something that all of its rivals had; a V8.

RELATED: Midsize Luxury SUV: Why the 2022 Volvo XC90 is the Best Option for Family Trips

Due to the transverse engine layout of the XC90, this seemed impossible at first. In Volvo’s relentless quest to be a serious contender, they worked with Yamaha to design a transversely mountable V8. While this was common practice in North America and at General Motors, Europe had never seen anything like it before. It wasn’t a huge seller, but it’s certainly a unique piece of Volvo history.

6 Ferrari Testarossa – Flat-V12

In many ways, it’s the quintessential Ferrari. The mid-engined Testarossa is one of the most iconic supercars of all time, and particularly of the 1980s, as is the Lamborghini Countach. Much like the Countach, the Testarossa was an iconic mistake. In all the talk and stereotypes about Miami and illegal drugs, some people may have overlooked its unusual engine setup.

Like most flagship Ferraris, the Testarossa uses a 12-cylinder engine, but it’s not laid out in a V. It’s laid out in a flat configuration, but not like in a Subaru or Porsche. The Testarossa’s engine is often referred to as a flat-12, it would actually be more correct to call it a V12. Yes, the Testarossa’s 12 cylinders are horizontally opposed, but it’s still not a boxer engine, it’s actually a 180-degree V12. The difference between the two lies in the crankpins. The Ferrari has a setup where each set of opposing pistons shares a crank pin, whereas a boxer engine uses an individual crank pin arrangement. It certainly had a unique sound though.


5 Fiat 500-I2

While most retro car revivals have rarely worked out, Fiat struck gold with the revival of the 500 in 2007. It was truly a 500 for the modern world, with perfectly executed retro styling and all the things that made the original great. If you were in Europe, and especially in Italy, it even included cheap maintenance.

A few years into the 500’s life, which still lasts, Fiat introduced an unusual powertrain; an 800cc straight-twin. Although it looks like a motorcycle powertrain, it totally worked in the 500 because it was surprisingly fast, made a fun little noise, and was relatively decent on gas mileage.


4 Morgan 3-Wheeler – V-Twin

Speaking of engines that are common mostly on motorcycles, the previous Morgan 3 Wheeler had one as well. While the latest car is powered by a much more conventional Ford I3, the 2012 model used something you might find on a motorcycle; a V-twin.

The 3-Wheeler’s 2.0-liter V-twin engine came from S&S, a company known for its motorcycle engines, and it was about as old school as it gets. However, the mere fact that he used a motorcycle engine didn’t make him any less lively; 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and 115 mph. On three wheels.

3 Cizeta V16T – V16

There is definitely an interesting story behind this one. The Cizeta V16T is the brainchild of engineer Claudio Zampolli and music producer Giorgio Moroder. The company was started by a group of former Lamborghini employees, which is clear from its appearance.

It’s also perhaps the only car in existence to have two sets of pop-up headlights stacked on top of each other, which is one of its most distinctive features, just in case the 16 V6 engine, 0 liters was not distinctive enough. . A total of 14 examples were built between 1991 and 2003.

2 Volkswagen Jetta/Bora-V5

Once again, we’re back to VW’s confusing experimental powertrains. An inline-five is already pretty rare, but VW also tested a V5 in the late 90s and early 2000s. It only appeared in a handful of VW Group models, including the Mk4 Golf and the associated Jetta/Bora.

The V5 (VR5) was basically a VR6 with one of the cylinders stuck. The cylinders shared a single head and the angle was 15 degrees, much like the VR6. This resulted in a pretty unique sound and lots of weird car brownie dots. These engines are difficult to maintain due to their rarity and unusualness, but VW aficionados would say it was worth the effort.

1 Porsche 917 – (Another kind of) Flat 12

Famously enough, Porsche bet the whole company on this legendary Le Mans-winning race car. The odds were in Porsche’s favour, and the 917 outstripped victory in 1970 and 1971, bringing the automaker its first-ever championship victory.

RELATED: This Is Why The Porsche 917 Is A Sports Car Legend

The flat-12 engine that was a major contributor to the 917’s victory was not a typical flat-12. The crankshaft was mounted at 180 degrees, allowing the engine to be more compact, all in the name of making the 917 so small. , and therefore as light as possible.


Europe and Canada want to ban internal combustion engines such as Gordon Murray's V12

Car engine layouts: V-shaped vs. in-line vs. flat

Read more


About the Author

Comments are closed.