How many types of engines are there

What different car engines are there?

Engine cylinder configurations

Once it was said that the more cylinders a car had, the higher its performance - but that is no longer true. The development of powerful fuel injection systems and turbochargers enables vehicles with fewer cylinders to compete with larger engines. Here we take a look at the common engine cylinder configurations and what type of cars they are most likely to be found on.


Two-cylinder engines are very rare because they offer little power and capacity. However, some manufacturers are now using turbochargers to make small, environmentally friendly two-cylinder engines. The Fiat TwinAir is a great example of this and can be found in cars like the Fiat 500 TwinAir as well as the Fiat Panda Aria.


Three-cylinder engines are used in small cars, although the introduction of turbochargers has resulted in them being found on larger family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus. Three-cylinder engines produce a distinctive gurgling sound and are known for their shaky vibrations, which are due to the odd number of cylinders and which affect the balance of the engine.


Four cylinder engines are the most common configuration and are used on most small and mid-range vehicles. They are almost always arranged in a row. Four cylinders offer good engine performance and can be built very powerful by installing a turbocharger.


Five-cylinder engines are very rare and have a similar feeling of vibration to three-cylinder engines. Volvo is a manufacturer that regularly uses five cylinder engines as the vibration effect is offset by the comfort and sophistication of the vehicle.


Six-cylinder engines can be found in high-performance and sports cars and are usually arranged as V or in-line engines. Six cylinder engines used to be considered less powerful, but now they are used in some of the most powerful cars in the world thanks to the turbocharger.

Eight + cylinder

Cars with eight or more cylinders usually fall into the supercar group because of their enormous capacity and power. They are usually built in a V formation and are therefore referred to as V8, V10, or V12. Until recently, the V12 was the largest engine available, but that changed with the arrival of the super-fast 16-cylinder Bugatti Veyron.

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