The straight-six engines or inline-six engines often abbreviated as I6 or L6 is an internal combustion engine with cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase with all the pistons driving a common crankshaft straight engine. The bank of cylinders may be oriented at any angles and where the bank is inclined away from the vertical angle the engine is sometimes called a slant six. Although this is also a Chrysler-specific design. The simplest of engine layouts that possess both the primary and secondary mechanical engine balance, resulting in vibration smooth with fewer cylinders.
The German automaker, as well as the rest of the industry, has a long love affair with the straight-six, an engine design revered for its bottom-end torque and smooth operation. Over the decades, however, the lust for the power and rumble of a V-8 and the more compact packaging afforded by a V-6 caused most automakers to toss the inline six-pot aside. BMW stuck with the configuration, creating gems like its N54 and N55 as well as its 3.0-liter turbocharged B58 which is still in production today. Now that it’s back at Benz we decided to celebrate by choosing the greatest straight-six engines of all time. Some of our favorites didn’t make the final cut (and we’re ready for your votes in the comments), but we managed to create a list thick with mechanical mastery from America, Germany, Britain, and Japan.