Five Alive: All the Notable Cars We Know with Five-Cylinder Engines

Smaller and cheaper than a six, smoother and more powerful than a four. Or is it the performance of a four with the fuel economy of a six? The inline five-cylinder engine can be any of those things. Manufacturers from Acura to Volvo have experimented with this odd-numbered design—with varying degrees of success—since the 1974 Mercedes-Benz 240D. Although in recent years the five-cylinder’s popularity has been waning, thanks to more powerful and efficient fours, its compact design and warbling exhaust note have been part of a surprising variety of models. Let’s lift the hood on this unusual engine.Acura Vigor/2.5 TLFiat switched to high-pressure common-rail injection and electronic control for its JTD (uniJet Turbo Diesel) engines in 1997, and of them, the 2.4-liter five-cylinder was a standout. It appeared in the Alfa Romeo 156 and Fiat Marea sedans, initially making 150 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. By 2003, the JTD five added 10 more valves and a new Multijet system that injected diesel five times during each combustion cycle, instead of two, to make the engines run quieter and smoother. The Multijet five saw output climb to 175 horsepower and 284 lb-ft, and it appeared in models as different as the gorgeous Alfa Spider roadster and the wildly styled Lancia Thesis luxury sedan. By 2007, Alfa massaged the diesel five some more (to 207 horsepower and 295 lb-ft) in the compact 159 Ti sedan. The smaller Fiat Croma kept a less powerful version until 2010.Audi 100_200_5000Audi QuattroAudi RS2 AvantAudi TT RS, RS 3, RS Q3Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon/Hummer H3Fiat Bravo/Brava HGT/Marea/Coupe/Lancia Kappa/ThesisFord Focus ST/RS/RS500Ford Transit/Ranger/Mazda BT-50G270Land Rover Discovery Series II Td5/Defender Td5Mercedes-Benz 240D/300D/300SDMercedes-Benz/Freightliner/Dodge Sprinter; Mercedes-Benz 190D/25Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen EurovanWhile a V-5 never made it past a Honda racing motorcycle and GM’s stillborn Oldsmobile diesel, the VR5 was very real. In overseas markets, Volkswagen for 1997 deleted a cylinder from the VR6 (which is essentially an inline-six with its cylinders offset at a narrow 15-degree angle), and out came a 2.3-liter five. At 148 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque, the VR5 matched the VR6’s quiet and smooth-revving nature, but without nearly the amount of exhilaration, especially in the larger Passat. The VR5 lasted until 2005 when the 2.5-liter, a true inline-five, took over.Volvo V60

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