In Reply to: inline 6 engine? posted by M on November 26, 1999 at 01:09:47:
: so ... what's the difference between an "inline 6" and a V6 engine?
Hail the inline 6, but it's an endangered species. There are very few manufacturers still in the game, despite the inherent goodness of the design. Front-wheel drive is the culprit -- the I6 is just not easy to use in a transverse configuration, although the Volvo S80 manages it somehow.
It's true that a standard 90-degree V6 will vibrate more due to mass-inbalance issues; a 60-degree configuration alleviates this somewhat, but also makes for a "taller" engine that is hard to cram under the low sloping hoods (bonnets) you see in most cars these days.
Some V6's (and I4's) use a counter-rotating balance shaft to alleviate the mass-inbalance issues and provide better NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) characteristics.
BMW's strict adherence to RWD (and thus, longitudinal mounting), as well as an enduring design preference for a long hoodline makes the I6 practical, and the inherent smoothness of the I6 configuration makes it an ideal choice for medium-displacement engines.