Cars you forgot had five-cylinder engines

Line 'em up: Four rings but a five-pot engine in Audi's RS 3.
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Line 'em up: Four rings but a five-pot engine in Audi's RS 3.

Audi is rather well-known for its five-cylinder engines, having squeezed out some truly special five-pot cars over the last 40 years. But it isn't the only manufacturer to have dabbled in this configuration: Volvo and Ford have also done some rather good ones as well.

But there are many others - some that may surprise. Here we take a look at five cars that you probably forgot had five-cylinder engines.

Land Rover Defender

Defender's five survived the takeover of Land Rover by BMW.
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Defender's five survived the takeover of Land Rover by BMW.

While Rover first looked to develop a five-cylinder engine back in 1966 for the P6, it proved too costly and unreliable, so the company ditched it. But that wasn't the end for a Rover five.

Much later, in the mid-1990s, Rover Group had started work on new family of diesel engines in four, five and six-cylinder variations, all developed by Land Rover. The takeover of Land Rover by BMW put an end to the development (BMW had perfectly good engines already), but the TD5 did make it into production. It was used in the Discovery and Defender between 1998 and 2007.

Mercedes-Benz W123

W123 five cemented Mercedes-Benz's indestructible reputation. Did not contain actual cement.
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W123 five cemented Mercedes-Benz's indestructible reputation. Did not contain actual cement.

While Audi is the German manufacturer most closely associated with five-cylinder engines, Mercedes-Benz has had a go at it as well.

Between 1976 and 1985 the W123 300D, 300CD and 300TD models all packed the OM617 3.0-litre inline five-cylinder diesel in both naturally aspirated (59kW) and turbocharged (92kW) forms. The OM617 engine is widely regarded as one of the most reliable engines ever built, with many examples reaching more than 1,000,000km without being rebuilt. It's given credit for Mercedes-Benz's increase in popularity in North America in the 1980s.

Honda Vigor

Honda Vigor didn't actually have much. You know, vigour. But it did have a five-cylinder engine.
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Honda Vigor didn't actually have much. You know, vigour. But it did have a five-cylinder engine.

Honda briefly toyed with a five-cylinder engine between 1989 and 1998 with the G-series, a slanted inline petrol five.

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Available in 114kW/118kW 2.0-litre (G20A) and 140kW 2.5-litre (G25A) forms, the engine is actually probably one of the more common inline fives on New Zealand roads today thanks to its use in the Vigor/Inspire and Rafaga/Ascot, both of which are popular Japanese used imports here. Much like Audi, Honda used the five-cylinder unit in a longitudinal/FWD layout, putting it in a rather select group that includes Subaru and Audi, as well as the Lancia Fulvia, Saab 99 and Oldsmobile Toronado.

Alfa Romeo 159

Alfa was a bit, well. casual with its five. Wouldn't surprise us if the engineers simply forgot a cylinder.
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Alfa was a bit, well. casual with its five. Wouldn't surprise us if the engineers simply forgot a cylinder.

Stunningly beautiful and magnificently flawed, the Alfa Romeo 159 was available in FWD and AWD form, with a range of engines that went from a fiery little 1.75-litre petrol turbo four up to a silky-smooth 3.2-litre V6.

There were also a number of diesel engines, including a 147kW 2.4-litre five-cylinder version of the Fiat JTD engine. In typical Italian fashion it was designed to be used in a range of Fiat, Lancia, Alfa and GM vehicles, but proved to be too tall and long for a lot of vehicles. It did appear in the 159's predecessor, the 156, as well as the Spider, Brera and 166. Oh, and the Fiat Marea and Croma, along with the Lancia Kappa, Lybra and Thesis.

Hummer H3

Most interesting thing about the Hummer H3 was its five-pot engine. Interesting, but not powerful. Not even close.
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Most interesting thing about the Hummer H3 was its five-pot engine. Interesting, but not powerful. Not even close.

The last, offensive nail in the coffin for the misguided and mishandled Hummer brand, the H3 was a "small" Hummer based on the US-market Chevrolet Colorado. It shared that vehicle's 160kW 3.5-litre (later enlarged to 3.7 litres with 180kW) inline five-cylinder petrol engine, hooked up to a four-speed automatic transmission.

And, yes, 180kW in a 2200kg car was as pointless and noisy as you might imagine, with the accelerator pedal basically being a volume control for the engine - push it down and things got louder, but not really any faster.

To top it off it was offensively thirsty as well, with the claim of a Combined 16 litres per 100km being almost laughably unachievable in the real world.

 - Stuff

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