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Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 14:13:13 -0800
From: Andy Radin <>
Subject: Re: Saab 9-3 or a BMW 328i

Tim Baker wrote: > Are you suggesting that the cyliners in a 4 cylinder engine glide > easier than those in a V8? > If this is truely the case, than why do all Formula 1 cars use V10 and > V12 engines? Especially given the fact that they turn 15-18000rpms as > a matter of normal use. It's generally a mistake to compare purpose-built racing engines to production engines. The expected lifetime of a racing engine is *one* weekend, cost is no object, and almost all are built to exploit loopholes in very extensive rulebooks. The real reason they use V10/12s is that you need high RPMs for lots of power, which requires small lightweight pistons. Lots of cylinders gets you back up to large displacements. Friction is a totally different issue in these engines, as the builders can spend tens of thousands of dollars honing cylinders, bearings, etc, not to mention using pneumatic valves, etc. > >3 can be put in smaller compartment to have a better handling car. > > What was I thinking? Gee, I guess thats why Ferrari, Lotus, > Lamborghini, Porsche 911, Corvette, Viper, NSX, Bugatti, Camaro, > Firebird, Mustang, BMW 540i, Mercedes Benz C430, Lexus, Infinity, F1, > CART, IRL, INDY Lites, and just about every other high performance, > good handling car out there uses a 4 cylinder powerplant. Oh wait, > none of these use a 4 cylinder powerplant. Duh. Well, my Infiniti has a four cylinder, as do the rest of the G20s. Plenty of Loti have had four cyls. Not to mention the British Touring Car Championship racecars, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1 through 5, Subaru WRX and STI 22B. Don't forget it's the power-to-weight ratio that determines acceleration, not simply power. Anyway, if we're going to stick to production engines, then in *general*, yes four cylinder engines will have less internal friction than an same-displacement eight- or six-cyl., but a lower redline.

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