What you need to know about cars with V engines
The modern internal combustion engine is nearing its 150th birthday, and in that great period, we have seen many engine configurations come and go. The construction of engines has drastically improved, and with it, we have enjoyed increased efficiency and power. The list of engine configurations is a long one and includes the inline engine and the boxer, or flat engine, but one of the best known and best-loved solutions to stacking a bunch of cylinders remains the V-type engine. V-engine cars have captured the hearts and minds of many over the decades, especially V12- and V10-engined cars. Vehicles fitted with this type of motor are known for producing smooth and reliable power, and it remains a popular powertrain choice in many well-loved cars across the US. In this piece, we'll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the V-engine and how this type of motor actually works.
Understanding the structure of this specific type of engine is key to answering the core question, how does a V engine work? So let's take a look at what it actually is. V motors place their pistons in a "V" shape, hence the name; such engines usually place the pistons in a range between 60 degrees and 90 degrees. The V-shaped engine orientation is commonly presented in at least a V4 format, although V2 engines can be found in motorcycles. Odd numbers are also welcome, with the most common being the V5 motor.
V engines are adored for their low-end torque and smoothness of operation, and the V12 engine, for example, not only delivers good horsepower figures but offers perfect primary and secondary balance. While the pistons in a V-engine usually sit between 60 degrees and 90 degrees, some engines, such as Ferrari V12 units, use a V-angle of 180 degrees, while the Volkswagen VR6 engine uses as little as 10 degrees and a single cylinder head for both banks of pistons.
In a V-engine car, two cylinders from opposing banks usually share a crankpin, but articulated connecting rods and individual crankpins have also been used with success. Possibly the most significant selling point of V engines is their compact nature when compared to inline engines, and the sweet sound they give off - have you ever heard a V10 sports car at full tilt? Heaven for the true gearhead.
As with any other motor, the V-engine has its pros and cons. While engines like the V8 have proven their reliability, there are some negative factors to consider:
V8 engines have come such a long way that there is an abundance of reliable and economical vehicles with V8 hearts for sale. Not only do V8 engines offer great reliability and power, but most American-built V8 engines are cheap to service, and performance upgrades are widely available, particularly for pony cars like the Mustang GT. There are also a few performance SUVs with V8s, including the Dodge Durango SRT and BMW X6 M.
Inline engines have been preferred over the decades for their smooth operation, simple engineering requirements, and, at least in four-cylinder configuration, space-saving characteristics. V-engines might be wider but can fit more punch (more cylinders) in the same length as an inline motor. V-type engines also usually sound a lot better.
The General Motors LS-based small-block V8 engine is widely available, cheap to run and upgrade, and can be fitted to virtually anything with four wheels. Do it.