• Manufacturers no longer produce five-cylinder engines anymore.
• Audi, Ford and VW have their own examples.
• Three and four-cylinder engines are now the most popular.
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.
Who would have thought that some of the meanest performance cars with significant displacement power would be powered by puny 2.0-litre engines slapped with a turbo one day?
It seems almost unreal that engines produced these days are smaller but yet produce ludicrous amounts of power. One has to credit the evolution of technology and engineering over the last ten years alone.
The high fives
Three, four and six-cylinder configurations are the most common, bar the Italian exotics of course, but the introduction of the 'five potter' was once a preferred method of producing power in several performance cars in South Africa.
Can you think of more locally available five-cylinder engines to add to the list? Or, do you perhaps own one and would like it to be featured on Wheels24? Please email us here or use the comments section below.
Besides having an additional piston, the increase in displacement that was available meant more room to make power while also emitting a distinctive engine tone due to its firing order. Some petrolheads even referred to it as a 'wanna-be V6'.
Once upon a time the likes of Honda, Mercedes-Benz and even Fiat also had a five-cylinder engine in their line-up.
It had apparent positive characteristics from a performance point of view with it being more potent than a four-cylinder and lighter than a six-cylinder. Automakers hit a snag with production costs and also took into account the popularity of inline and V6 engines.
The emergence of electric vehicles worldwide means that somewhere in the future combustion engines will be made obsolete, let alone 5-cylinder ones.
Manufacturers might not produce five-cylinder engines anymore, except for Audi. However, these examples are somewhat famous and are still doing the rounds in the SA used car market.
2010 Audi TT RS
Like Volkswagen has with the more powerful R range, so does Audi with its high-performance RS models.
Audi decided to give the RS version of the TT coupe more grunt by chucking a turbocharged 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine under the bonnet. The end result was an impressive 250kW and 450Nm.
It also featured a 'Sport' mode and when activated, engages an exhaust mounted butterfly valve to give the engine a deeper tone under high acceleration. The current RS 3 and TT RS still retains a five-cylinder engine in its ranges.
2006 Ford Focus ST/RS
Sadly, the Ford Focus or its performance versions might not be available in South Africa anymore, but petrolheads can still enjoy a rare find of the second and third-generations available in the local used car market.
Besides going the usual turbo inline-four route, the VW Mk5 Golf GTI and Opel Astra OPC were following at the time; Ford opted for a more powerful, Volvo-based turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that made 166kW in the RS.
The very same engine, albeit a modified version, is used in the RS and puts out 227kW.
2005 Volkswagen Jetta V5
The Jetta might not have been known for its speed, but in the early 2000s Volkswagen passed the baton from the VR6 over to the fourth-generation V5.
Its boxy design didn't pique many people's interest, but the 1.8T, R and V5 versions made it an enticing proposition.
Under the bonnet was a naturally-aspirated 2.3-litre, five-cylinder engine that pushed out 125kW, although it did weigh around 1 288kg, so it was no slouch in a straight line.
2012 Audi RS3
Another performance car from Ingolstadt makes its way onto the list, and this time it's the RS version of the popular A3 hatchback.
Like the TT RS, it also employed a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, again with the same 250kW and the famed Quattro four-wheel-drive system.
2005 Volvo S60
Yes, Volvo also had its own five-cylinder diesel engines used in earlier versions of the S60, V70, XC70, and XC90.
These engines had power outputs of 92, 120 and 136kW with Chief Programme Engineer Jörgen Svensson saying: "The driver will perceive it as a lively petrol engine, only more powerful and more environmentally efficient."