4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - MATT RAUDONIKIS

RE­MEM­BER when all the best 4x4s had six-cylin­der en­gines? Mighty straight-sixes with oo­dles of grunt, be they diesel- or petrol-fu­elled – those were the days!

How­ever, the old six-pack has made way for high-tech turbo-fours that buzz out the mega-new­tons in spite of their lim­ited ca­pac­ity.

Volk­swa­gen is buck­ing the trend by in­tro­duc­ing the 3.0-litre V6 TDI en­gine to its Amarok range, and we’re sure it will put a smile on our faces when it gets here later this year. What’s more amus­ing is that it comes to the Amarok thanks to ev­er­tight­en­ing emis­sion reg­u­la­tions and VW’S emis­sions fig­ure-fudg­ing. Think about that for a mo­ment: When was the last time emis­sion reg­u­la­tions ever gave us a big­ger and bet­ter en­gine? For once they are work­ing in favour of a bet­ter-per­form­ing mill.

The only other non-four­cylin­der diesel en­gine in the one-tonne 4x4 ute class is Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylin­der, as used in the Ranger and Mazda BT-50, and there are al­ready hints Ford will be down­siz­ing this mill in the near fu­ture to meet emis­sions stan­dards. Chances are it will go to a four-pot, but Ford al­ready has in its ar­moury a sweet turbo-diesel V6 in ei­ther 2.7- or 3.0-litre ca­pac­ity, which would be so good in the Ranger and Ever­est. Yes, we’re talk­ing about the ‘Lion’ V6 diesel as used in the Ter­ri­tory and Land Rover ve­hi­cles, but un­for­tu­nately this en­gine is aging and is also on its way out. It sure would have been nice, though.

Land Rover is work­ing on in­line six-cylin­der diesel en­gines to re­place the Lion V6, so there’s a re­turn to form for that favoured lay­out. Land Rover has no links to Ford any­more, so we wouldn’t ex­pect the brands to be shar­ing en­gines again. How­ever, stranger things have hap­pened.

Mean­while BMW has never strayed from its sub­lime in­line sixes and still builds the best in the busi­ness, yet more of the Bavar­ian mod­els are turn­ing to high-per­for­mance fours that make as much power and torque as the sixes of just a few years ago. What a world we live in!


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