With looming CAFE regulations requiring automakers to reach
a 35.5 mpg fleet average in the coming years, automakers have no choice but to
develop new, more fuel efficient engines for their vehicles. Thankfully for
manufacturers, consumers seem to be more than willing to flock to fuel efficient
As we've reported
previously here on DailyTech, the
use of V6 engines in cars is likely
to dwindle as the quest for greater fuel efficiency gets underway. And according
to Ward's Auto, the take-rate for
four-cylinder engines in today's cars is steadily on the rise.
In 2008, just 51.5 percent of cars sold in the U.S. came
equipped with a four-cylinder engine. In 2009, that figure jumped dramatically
to 61.9 percent. The tally rose again in 2010 to 64.5 percent reports Ward's Auto.
V8 engines represented just 20.8 percent of the overall U.S. light vehicle market.
While enthusiasts may crave the power and torque of a naturally
aspirated V6 or inline-6 engine, many U.S. consumers appear to be content with
the advances made in four-cylinder engine technology (direct injection, turbochargers, etc.). BMW recently announced
that it will be bringing a turbocharged
four-cylinder engine to the U.S. market that generates more horsepower and
torque than its naturally aspirated inline-6 counterpart while at the same time
delivering greater fuel economy. Those are numbers you can't really argue with.
Likewise, Hyundai has been pushing its Sonata
Turbo (2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, 274hp) that generates more horsepower
and torque than its V6 counterparts (Accord, Camry, Malibu, Fusion, etc.) and
better fuel economy in the city and on the highway.
On the domestic front, the Buick
Regal is only available with four-cylinder engines (naturally aspirated,
turbocharged, and hybrid) and the next generation Chevrolet Malibu is widely
expected to only
be available with four-cylinder engines.
Four cylinder engines will always remain a staple of the subcompact
classes, and it appears that the midsize class is quickly moving to push
six cylinder engines out of commission. That leaves larger full size, luxury,
and sports cars to soldier on with six-cylinder (and beyond) engines.