“Spoiled” doesn’t even begin to describe where gearheads sit for new engines at this moment. Look at what is around you: if you have the cash and desire, you can go to Dodge and buy a car with a V8 that is pushing over seven hundred horsepower that isn’t going to punish you for the decision. In fact, the car will be comfortable and optioned out to the nines…or you can wait, because it’s about to be trumped by something so psychotic that the model name’s biblical references allude to you attending confession after you haze off the wheels. If that’s too much for you, step down to the available six-cylinders. The Camaro’s V6 model packs 335 horsepower and is more than enough to make you miss just about everything regarding a V8. Still too much? OK, how about Ford, whose 2.3L turbo-four cranks out 350 horsepower in a compact car. And if that is still past your comfort level, look to Ford once again, where you can get a 120 horsepower three-cylinder. You want to know how far we’ve come since the dark days of Malaise? A 120-horsepower three-banger is more powerful than the V8 engine option in a 1980 Mustang. We are living in the world of good horsepower. The engines run cleaner than ever before. We can drop cylinders if need be, turbocharging and supercharging aren’t witchcraft items anymore, and tuning is tightly controlled by computers that can actually handle the workload. But there is a problem: governmental fuel regulations. While the 54.5 MPG target fuel mileage was abandoned by CAFE last year, not expecting lawmakers and environmental groups to continue to push for tighter restrictions is unrealistic.
So where do you go? If you’re FCA, you go off your meds with both middle fingers in the air and see how long you can last…or do you? Currently, there is a rumor sneaking out of Auburn Hills that says there is a study being done on the feasibility of a modern-day inline six. For Mopar freaks, there is a lot to live up to…Chrysler has done straight-sixes well, from the 4.0L Jeep six, to the nearly indestructible Slant series, and even the Australian Hemi-6 line. And they aren’t the only ones who figured out how to make inliners work wonders: GM, Ford and Ford Australia, Jaguar, BMW, and others are well known for their inline sixes. Smooth, torquey, and solid, an inline-six used to be a common and feasible option for most manufacturers. Currently, BMW is the only one actively producing a straight-six, with Ford Australia shutting down Barra production last September.
So we ask you, informed readers: could you see a market for a modern-day six-in-a-row from the manufacturers? And if so, what would you like to see them put into? Would you like to see Ford re-start Barra production for the upcoming Ranger pickup? Maybe a modern-day Slant Six for the next-generation Ram Tradesman? Let us know below!