With the entire car industry bogged down with supply chain issues and rising gas prices, manufacturers are realizing that they can no longer rely on V8 engines for power as they did in the past. Luckily, thanks to advancements in automotive technology, a six-cylinder car can actually outdo a V8 outdo at times, and these smaller powerplants are becoming increasingly popular in sports cars and even supercars. The fact is, many of these cars are lighter and thus able to both accelerate and handle better than their V8 counterparts, despite the V8 still being the global symbol of power and performance.
To prove the kind of power modern V6 engines are capable of, here’s a list of the most powerful V6 cars ever made, most of which will hardly find a match even with two extra cylinders.
10 1994 Jaguar XJ220: 542HP
No, this is not a misprint: a V6 car from the 1990s is capable of outdoing scores of V8s on the market. The XJ220 got a backlash when Jaguar decided at the last minute to drop the planned V12 for a V6.
It’s still mind-boggling that a 3.5-liter V6 from the early ’90s blasted 542 hp and 473 lb-ft of torque with a five-speed automatic transmission for a top speed of 212 mph. Sadly, that kind of performance made it too expensive to sell well, but nearly three decades later, the XJ220 is still one of Jaguar’s greatest works.
9 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid: 552 HP
This car’s hybrid power plant combination makes it more potent than the sum of its parts. The Panamera 4S Hybrid boasts a 2.9-liter V6, which may sound low as the base gets 325 hp while the E-Hybrid gains 443 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. But toss in the electric motor, and you get 552 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
That actually outdoes the 2020 V8 options the Panamera offered, and the zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds is a good speed for the large frame. The fact that a “family car” boasts numbers like that is terrific and makes this hybrid great fun on the highways.
8th 2021 Acura NSX: 573HP
As of 2022, The Acura NSX has officially ceased production. We’ll remember it as the supercar that never quite got the love it deserved, often being compared to its legendary predecessor and criticized for not being as quick as competitors, low cargo space, and subpar interior quality.
However, it’s still one of the most powerful V6 cars ever made. It boasts a terrific 3.5-liter V6 paired with three electric motors and a nine-speed automatic transmission for a 0-60 in just over three seconds and 573 hp and 476 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels.
7 2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO – 600 HP
The thing about the Nissan GT-R NISMO is that if the company ever got around to upgrading it, it could be one of the most stunning machines out there. It’s held back by a design that hasn’t changed in over a decade and its overdue for a makeover.
Still, a base GT-R can get about 565 hp from the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6, but the NISMO can get about 600, meaning 0-60 in three seconds and nearly 500 lb-ft of torque. It’s still a fun ride despite showing its age, so if Nissan were to give it a remake, the GT-R NISMO would be ranking even higher in power.
6 2022 Acura NSX Type S: 600HP
It’s a shame low sales and production issues mean the Honda NSX is ending after this year. To honor it, Honda (Acura) made a limited edition Type S variant for 2022 produced in only 300 units. Apart from a cool paint job, it gets a lot of extra ponies. We’re talking 600 hp and 500 lb-ft coming from the same 3.5-liter V6 found in the base model.
The NSX is truly going out with a bang. Its power is further elevated by great handling, although it’s still not as speedy as some of its western competition that comes with more cylinders under the hood.
5 2022 Maserati MC20: 621HP
The Maserati MC20 seems like a mix of various supercars. It’s got the same kind of 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 derived from the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio V6 with elements of the Ferrari F154 V8 found in the F8 Tributo. Likewise, the exterior draws from MC12, The Alfa Romeo MC, and even some Mercedes-Benz offerings.
The company boasts of it being the “first of its kind” with cutting-edge hybrid tech and lightweight as well. That allows it to push out 621 hp and gives the car a 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.
4 2022 Porsche 911 Turbo S: 640 HP
The Turbo S may be a bit too stiff and track-focused for some drivers, not to mention its astronomical price, but it’s an incredible piece of engineering. The newest model of the 911 Turbo S is also one of the most powerful flat-six engines you can find on the market. You need the Turbo S option to get the most of the 3.7-liter V6 (the regular model gets 572) and tests can send it from zero to 60 in just over two seconds.
It handles like a dream and can stop on a dime with some good interior tech to boot. It costs a pretty penny, though, but the 911 Turbo S is one of the best Porsches to show how the company makes a V6 feel like a more powerful engine.
3 2021 Ford GT: 647HP
The GT has long been one of Ford’s most powerful models, and the newest version continues that trend. What surprised many enthusiasts when the revamped Ford GT arrived in 2017 was the fact that all this power came from a V6. It’s the same type of engine found in Ford’s pickups, just given a few modifications to match a sports car. Ford has made it harder to buy as an exclusive purchase to show just how fancy it is.
The 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 can produce 660 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission then sends all that power to the rear wheels. Thus, while not just anyone can own a GT, those who do are in for a wild ride.
2 2022 McLaren Artura: 671HP
Finally making its debut in Miami and at the Monaco Grand Prix, the McLaren Artura is set to be the company’s newest Sports Series entry with a great push to replace the 570S. It’s been buzzed about for years thanks to the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor combining to produce over 670 hp and 531-lb-ft of torque.
Matched with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, this modern supercar boasts incredible handling. While it’s still taking a bit to reach most consumers, the Artura is already showing a lot of promise as a popular supercar.
1 Ferrari 296 GTB: 819 HP
You wouldn’t be wrong to expect something big from Ferrari, but the 296 GTB is stunning even by the brand’s sky-high standards. The engine is unlike Ferrari’s usual fare, not just because it’s a V6 but also because it’s a plug-in hybrid with multiple drive options. However, the turbocharged 3.0-liter can get 654 hp on its own.
Combine it with the electric motor and that’s pushing 819 hp at 8000 rpm with 545 lb-ft of torque. That means zero to 60 mph in just under three seconds. The car proves that Ferrari’s decision to produce smaller and more efficient engines doesn’t mean the brand will sacrifice any of the power and performance of their cars are so well known for.
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