Positioned between economy four-cylinder units and powerful V8 engines, six-cylinder engines in V6, flat-six, or straight-six form are a common choice of many car manufacturers. We wanted to look at 20 sports cars with six pistons under the hood.
They aren’t just supercars or high-priced exotics, but also regular sports cars you see on the road and can purchase. These six-cylinder-powered automobiles are certainly quite the departure from a certain brand of V8-powered muscle cars. Check out the most interesting and beloved cars with six-cylinder engines below.
30. Ford GT
The original Ford GT40 made history in the â60s and early 2000s as one of the fastest cars of the period. However, recently Ford presented the superbly advanced but still basic Ford GT with modern technology and unbelievable performance.
The engine of the new GT is particularly interesting since it’s a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. It produces a whopping 656 HP. And that gives the car a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 216 mph.
You are excused if you don’t know about Venturi, a small French car company that was active in the ’90s. Using components from other car companies and producing their own bodies and chassis, Venturi produced several beautiful and fast cars. They raced a lot, leaving their mark in the history of obscure supercars with the magnificent 400 GT from the mid-90s.
Visually similar to Ferrari F40, the Venturi 400 GT also used a twin-turbocharged engine. But in the Venturi’s case, it was a 3.0-liter Peugeot V6 they pumped to produce 400 HP in street trim. However, in racing trim, it was capable of over 600 HP.
The Dino was a big step for Ferrari, even if it was the smallest model they ever made. They introduced it in the mid-60s as the 206 Dino, an entry-level model with a V6 engine. However, most sports car purists were outraged since this was the first sports car Ferrari offered without the big V12 engine.
When they presented the 246 Dino in 1968, sales picked up, making this little car responsible for the financial stability Ferrari needed. And all of this makes the Dino and its V6 important, and not just for Ferrari, but also for car history.
Honda made history in 1989 when they presented the first NSX. And better yet, Honda is still a hot item with the new NSX they specially tailored for the 21st century. Even 30 years later, the NSX is still a world-beating supercar powered by a V6 engine, but with a twist.
ew NSX has a hybrid drivetrain they paired with a V6. Also, it has a special intelligent all-wheel-drive system with a combined output of 573 HP from its 3.5-liter V6 and battery pack. And that is more than enough to keep the NSX among the fastest, most capable modern supercars.
The SHO, which stands for Super High Output, was a performance model in the Taurus lineup that featured a Yamaha-sourced 3.0-liter high revving V6 with 220 HP. Today, this doesn’t sound like a lot, but for 1989, it was a lofty figure. And the performance was outstanding with just 6.7 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.
This was the first truly modern American sedan that ditched the heavy ladder-type chassis and big engines. Instead, it went in a different direction with a sleek and aerodynamic body, new technology and front-wheel drive.
What do you get when you take a Ferrari V8 engine, chop two cylinders off and cover it with a gorgeous Alfa Romeo body? You get the infamous Giulia Quadrifoglio. This car is one of the fastest four-door sedans you can own thanks to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 510 HP on tap.
Although it is not an Alfa engine per se, it is still from a company historically connected to Alfa. And that is good enough.
Citroen wanted to enter the GT market in the early â70s, so they designed an elegant two-door coupe they named the SM. It had all the signature Citroen technology, but it didn’t have a proper engine. So, Citroen asked Maserati for help and the Italians delivered a 2.7-liter V6 engine.
It gave the SM a decent performance and some exclusivity; however, it lacked the reliability and dependability GT buyers wanted.
The U.S. car industry slowly accepted the V6 configuration. But Buick was the first company in the early ’60s with a V6 engine, which was basically a chopped-off V8. However, the Jeep Commando was the first successful model that used a V6.
It showed how this type of engine was more than enough to power this capable off-roader. Interestingly, under the hood was a 225 V6 Buick built and named the Dauntless V6.
Entering the car market in 1950, the Aurelia was revolutionary, and not only for its design and performance. The Aurelia had a narrow-angle V6 engine, and it was the first mass-produced V6 engine in the world. Produced as sedan, coupe or convertible, the Aurelia was an exclusive and expensive machine.
And better yet, it had an engine displacement ranging from 1.8-liters to 2.5-liters. The compact and light V6 unit was powerful and propelled Aurelia to respectable top speeds. The later series were even successful racing cars. When Lancia presented the Aurelia, the other car companies decided the V6 engine was worth consideration. So, it is safe to say the Aurelia started the trend.
This menacing sedan is virtually unknown in the U.S. Lotus introduced it in 1990 and discontinued it just two years later, in 1992. The Omega Lotus was Opel’s rear-wheel-drive luxury model. Lotus tuned it, adding a turbocharger to the powerful stock six-cylinder engine. The 3.6-liter six delivered 377 HP, massive by the standards of the day. It had a 0-to-60 mph time of just 5.2 seconds. The top speed was a record-breaking 177 mph. Lotus installed a body kit, spoiler and special details in England.
The car came in just one color, a dark green hue called “Imperial Green.” Unfortunately, production numbers were low. Consumers considered Opel and Vauxhall to be economy car manufacturers. The problem was that the Omega Lotus and Lotus Carlton were expensive cars costing close to a fully-optioned Jaguar XJ. Also, the recession of the early ’90s hit the market hard. In the end, Opel and Lotus made only 950 cars. They are valuable classics today, and their prices are slowly rising.
20. Alfa Romeo GTV6
The GTV6 is highly recommended. The Tipo 105’s successor was the coupe version of the Alfetta introduced in the late ’70s. It had advanced construction and suspension and featured several interesting details. It had a transaxle gearbox which vastly improved weight distribution and handling. Second, it had De Dion type rear axle which helped cornering.
With a 2.5-liter V6 engine in the front, the GTV6 delivered 160-170 HP and good performance by the standards of the day. Even today, GTV6 is known for its perfect driving dynamics, solid acceleration, and a soundtrack from the high-revving V6. Interestingly, this car was sold in the USA, even with an optional turbo kit by Callaway performance good for a whopping 233 HP.
You would have thought that all Mustangs should be V8-powered torque monsters capable of turning rear tires. For the most part, they are. But there are few cars that don’t have V8 power yet still post impressive acceleration times. One of those Mustangs is the 2012 V6 model.
The 4.0-liter V6 with 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque was the standard base engine for the 2012 model year. Its power output was almost identical to V8 models only a decade before, which only shows how technology moves forward rapidly. The 2012 V6 Mustang could accelerate to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.
One of the best cars in a long line of Z-named Nissan sports coupes was the 300 ZX produced from 1990 to 1996. Car enthusiasts respect the 300 ZX because it could rival much more expensive cars. The twin-turbo V6 engine pumped out 300 hp. The 300 ZX could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and top 150 mph.
Those results are still good today. Maintenance costs can be a little higher than competitors, but the 300 ZX is still a great choice. Not only is it fast, but it also has decent comfort. And let’s not forget the tuning potential of the turbo V6. Aftermarket components are plentiful for this model. So if you want your 300 ZX to be even faster and quicker, you can do that easily.
In October of 2000, the E46 M3 was introduced. It featured an all-new engine, drivetrain, and components. The car has since been regarded as one of the finest BMW M cars and a perfect driving machine. The E46 M3 was a big improvement over the E36 M3 from the ’90s.
It had a 343 HP straight six-cylinder engine, almost ideal weight distribution, a great chassis, six-speed manual transmission, and respectable performance. The E46 M3 soon won the hearts of car enthusiasts all over the world. It was a sales success and is one of the best secondhand performance cars you can buy today.
One of the craziest V6 installations ever performed on a production car is the Clio Sport V6. It’s basically a rally car for the street with a V6 engine mounted behind the driver in the interior of a small car.
The 3.0-liter V6 delivers 255 HP and sends power to the rear wheels. The driver sits just in front of the engine. Magazine testers described the whole package “ludicrous”.
Almost every 911 has a flat-six engine, including the 993 generation Carrera 4S. In 1993, Porsche introduced the next generation of 911 with internal chassis code 993. This was an improvement over the 964 in terms of design, materials, and equipment. Basic components, transmissions, and engines remained more or less the same.
The 993 generation turned out to be the last air-cooled generation of 911 and Porsche enthusiasts call it the last classic 911 model. It had several interesting models. But the Carrera 4S was one of the best driver’s versions. It featured Turbo chassis, suspension, and braking along with intelligent all-wheel drive paired with a 3.6-liter flat-six producing 285-300 HP.
The TR6 was a successor to the TR5 and US-only TR250. They all shared basic construction, dimensions, and design. The TR6 was introduced in 1968 and featured disc brakes, independent suspension, and a 2.5-liter straight-six engine with 145 HP. Thanks to its weight of just under 2200 lbs, the TR6 was agile.
It was among the fastest power roadsters on the market in the late ’60s. Production ended in 1976 after more than 90,000 were made. Today, the TR6 is a popular choice for classic roadster fans that want old-school looks and feel but with decent performance.
Introduced in 2016, the compact but immensely powerful Cadillac ATS-V was a cross between a sports coupe and muscle car. With this model, Cadillac attacked the likes of the Mercedes C Class and BMW 3 Series. Overall it was a modern executive sedan with recognizable styling and brutal power.
Under the hood is a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine with 464 HP and 445 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to launch the ATS-V from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and top the speed at an astonishing 189 mph.
Not quite a sports car since it was a pickup truck and not quite a muscle car since it had turbocharged V6. but nonetheless an immensely cool and desirable model. We don’t know who came up with the idea to take a Chevrolet S10 compact truck and turn it into Ferrari-killer. GM took an ordinary S10 body, installed a 4.3-liter V6 with a turbocharger, a special 4-speed automatic sourced from a Corvette and performance all-wheel drive.
The power figures don’t sound much these days. But the Syclone was able to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, which made it faster than contemporary Ferraris. The keys were lightweight, small dimensions, and lots of torque from its turbocharged engine.
With over 20 years since Porsche introduced this roadster, it’s safe to say the Boxster revolutionized the concept of the open-top car. It also stood the test of time as a future classic you can own today.
The Boxster has a mid-mounted flat-six engine, perfect balance, two trunks, and sublime handling. Since the base 2.5-liter delivers a healthy 200 HP it makes even the most affordable Boxsters agile and fast. That’s especially true if paired with the six-speed manual transmission.
The 3000 GT is another ’90s legend. With pop-up headlights, rear panorama glass, and a spoiler, the 3000 GT screams early ’90s car design. But there is much more about this car than contemporary nostalgia since this is one serious driving machine.
Under the hood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 300 hp which sends power to all four wheels over an intelligent AWD system. Maintenance is expensive since the car is a true technological tour de force, but fans believe it is well worth the trouble.
Hot Rod culture is one of key ingredients of the American automotive landscape. However, no company ever dared to present a factory-built Hot Rod until 1997 when Plymouth presented the Prowler. It was a retro-futuristic roadster with a V6 engine and fantastic looks.
Imagined as the follow-up to the Viper, the Prowler was a hit on the show circuit and Chrysler wanted to capitalize on that. But despite having initial success, the car proved to be a failure. It just wasn’t all that powerful and only had looks going for it.
The Alpine A610 was introduced in 1991 as a replacement for Alpine GTA and old A310 from the late ’70s. The fiberglass-bodied coupe featured several interesting features like a futuristic interior, rear-mounted turbocharged V6 engine from Renault, and vivid performance.
The 3.0-liter V6 produced 247 hp, enough to launch this lightweight coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds with close to 170 mph as its top speed.
The R35 Skyline GT-R is a car that doesn’t need a special introduction. One of the fastest, most capable, and best handling sports cars you can buy is globally famous.
The biggest part of its appeal is the engine. The Skyline has a signature turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 that delivers 570 HP or 600 in NISMO trim. In combination with intelligent all-wheel drive, the GT-R can achieve 60 mph in less than three seconds.
Back in 1967, Fiat introduced the Dino, a coupe and convertible that featured the Ferrari V6 engine straight from the 246 GT Dino. The coupe was designed by Bertone while the convertible was styled by Pininfarina. The two shared the mechanics, engine, and performance, but their designs were totally different.
The Fiat Dino Coupe was officially sold in America. If you are a budget-minded enthusiast, look for the Dino Coupe since it is more common and affordable than the convertible.
Honda planned this model for a long while. The basic idea was to introduce a sports car with the technology, performance, power, and design of a supercar. To say that Honda succeeded in that would be an understatement. The NSX was all-around brilliant. Basically, buyers got Ferrari performance and looks for supermarket prices along with Honda’s signature reliability and low maintenance costs.
The heart of the NSX was a 3.0-liter V6 with 274 hp and later, a 3.2-liter V6 with 290 hp. Since the car was light, its 0 to 60 mph time was five seconds and its top speed was over 170 mph. The introduction of the NSX stunned competitors and the car market. Nobody expected such a bold move from such a complete car. The NSX was not only capable but also extremely balanced thanks to its mid-engined layout and clever engineering.
This is one of the most iconic Japanese sports cars and has reached legendary status by appearing in many street racing movies, video games and music videos. But Supra’s popularity is not only based on media appearances. This is one serious machine, especially the Turbo version.
The base model was naturally aspirated. Despite being quick, the most sought-after model is the 3.0-liter straight six twin-turbo variant with 276 hp. We know 276 hp is not much, but the engine produced somewhat more than advertised and had fantastic tuning potential. Today, it’s hard to find a stock Supra, With just a few bolt-on power adders, a bigger turbo, and intake system, drivers can get all the way to 1000 hp on the rear wheels as a result.
The story of the XJ220 is a strange one. Conceived in the late ’80s as Jaguar’s first road-going supercar, it looked promising. The concept car and first prototypes had Jaguar’s V12 engine tuned to produce a high output. However, halfway into development, it was decided to install a new 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 542 hp. The design of the car was fantastic and emphasized its performance and speed.
When it was released, the XJ220 was the world’s fastest road-going model at an enormous price. Despite the hype when it was announced and wealthy customers waiting to buy this model, several delays in production and lack of the V12 affected the market. Eventually, less than 300 were built. The XJ220 was called that since it could top 220 mph. It was never officially sold in the USA. Now is the chance to bring one of these misunderstood beasts home.
Venturi is a small French car company that was active in the ’90s. Using components from other car companies and producing its own bodies and chassis, Venturi produced several beautiful, fast cars and left its mark in the history of obscure supercars with its magnificent 400 GT model from the mid-’90s.
Visually similar to Ferrari F40, the Venturi 400 GT also used a twin-turbocharged engine. But in Venturi’s case, it was a 3.0-liter Peugeot V6 pumped up to produce 400 hp in street trim. In racing trim, it was capable of over 600 hp.
Started by John Z. De Lorean in the late ’70s, De Lorean was briefly marketed as the next big thing in the sports car world. For a short time, it looked that America got a sports car brand that could rival Europe’s finest. De Lorean presented an interesting concept of a sports car with Gullwing doors, modern wedge-shaped design, a mid-mounted V6 engine, and stainless steel body.
However, production was late, and when the car was finally revealed it turned out to be slow, underpowered, and riddled with quality problems. Due to its prominent appearance in the Back to the Future movies and numerous music videos, the DMC 12 is still a popular car and one of the automotive symbols of the ’80s.