The Exotic V6

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It will shortly be the mark of an “exotic” car if it has a V6 engine. As it is, there are just a couple of new cars that still come standard with them – the Toyota Avalon and the Dodge Charger are two of them – and both come standard with sticker prices well over $30,000.

Even at the $50k price point, a six cylinder engine is becoming optional – if it’s available at all. The 2023 Lexus RX350 – a mid-sized crossover SUV that has always come standard with a V6 since is it first came out back in the late 1990s – will come standard with nothing larger than a four cylinder engine beginning next year. The “350” in its name no longer designating the 3.5 liter V6 you used to get for the $50k you spent.

Instead, the ’23 will come standard with a 2.4 liter four.

No change in nomenclature (or price) to reflect this diminishment.

Similarly, the Mercedes E350 – which no longer comes standard with the 3.5 liter V6 it used to come standard with (hence “350”). Now it comes standard with a 2.0 liter four.

So also the BMW 530i.

You can still get a six in both. But it’ll cost you about $60k. That’s generally what you’ll have to spend to get what used to be considered the least you’d get in a car that cost $30,000. Or even a lot less than that. Six cylinder engines were commonly standard in family cars – and commonly available as options. The Toyota RAV4 used to offer a V6. One of many such that did.

Four cylinder engines were formerly found only in economy cars and very small cars such as sports cars.

But that was in the Before Times. About a decade ago, if anyone remembers.

It might be worth asking – why? – as regards this unhappy transition.

What is the benefit – to the person buying the vehicle – of getting less for more? Horsepower is down, even with the addition of turbochargers to make up for the loss of size and cylinders. For example, the current Honda Accord’s strongest available engine is a . . . 2.0 liter four that makes 252 horsepower – vs. the 270 horsepower V6 that used to be available in the Accord just a few years ago.

The 2.0 liter fours that come standard in the Benz E and BMW 5 also only make 250-ish horsepower, far less than the sixes they used to come standard with.

Is it gas mileage, then?

No – it isn’t.

Consider the 2023 Lexus RX350 – which comes standard with a 275 horsepower turbo’d four rather than the 295 horsepower V6 it came standard with last year (2022). The four cylinder-powered ’23 RX – which is a mid-sized vehicle that weighs in excess of 4,400 lbs., by the way – rates 22 miles-per-gallon in city driving and 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The previous (2022) RX with the V6 rates 20 city, 27 on the highway.

So, in exchange for the loss of 20 horsepower (and the prestige of driving a $50k vehicle that has more than just a four under its hood) the buyer of the ’23 RX350 enjoys a fuel economy upsurge of . . . 2 miles-per-gallon, something akin to the “red wave” that turned out to be a receding tide.

So, why would Lexus – and Mercedes and BMW and pretty much every other maker of $50k-plus vehicles – replace size (and price and power) appropriate sixes in their vehicles with less potent and only slightly more fuel efficient fours?

And they’re only that on paper. Out in the real world, the turbo fours end up using as much or even more gas than the sixes they replaced because they have to work harder to properly accelerate the vehicle; the only way you’ll see the advertised 2 MPG gain is if you drive as if there’s a baby’s head underneath the accelerator and you were trying not to crush its fontanel.

So – again – why?

It’s because of gasses, you see. This business of remanding the “emissions” of carbon dioxide – that dread gas we’re told will cause the “climate” to “change” if the percentage of it in the Earth’s atmosphere goes up from 0.04 percent to 0.04 plus a fraction of that more percent – from the tailpipe of cars to the smokestacks of utility plants.

Hey, look! A squirrel! 

Those who look are not supposed to see that the gasses not being “emitted” at the tailpipe are being “emitted” – in greater volume – at some other place, so as to power cars without engines at all.

Electric cars.

And are expected to believe this “works” – insofar as preventing the “changing” of the “climate,” in the same way they were expected to believe that “masks” work.

And they do, alright. Just not in the way people believe.

Note that the manufacturers of these de-engined vehicles are embarrassed by this under-the-hood-diminishment. Lexus has not re-named the ’23 RX350 the RX240 (“240” to reflect the size – 2.4 liters – of the four it now comes standard with) just as Mercedes and BMW continue to use the nomenclature of the Before Time – e.g., E350 and 530i – to refer to current models that really ought to be designated E200 and 520i, in the interested of editorial accuracy.

But that might call too much attention to what people are no longer getting for their $50k-plus and so they don’t. The old nomenclature carries on, perhaps in the hope it will recall memories of what $50k-plus used to buy.

Indeed, what $30k used to buy.

It’s a measure of what you don’t get for your money these days.

. . .

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Al Capone had an armored Cadillac with a V-16 engine.

    Probably got 7 miles per gallon, maybe.

    Have to halve the number of cylinders to increase the gas mileage. Halve them again and have not nearly as much.

    You can’t drive a railroad spike with a tack hammer.

    Seagram’s set up shop distilling grain mash into alcohol in Weyburn, Saskatchewan during prohibition. To avoid detection, they moved the operation to Brandon in Manitoba, later on to Winnipeg, then to Montreal. After Alcohol Prohibition ended, Seagram’s moved to New York City, where prohibition was tacitly ignored.

    It didn’t take rocket surgery to know that prohibition wasn’t working because everybody and his mother was imbibing.

    If you go back to newspapers covering the stories of Senate hearings/debate discussing alcohol and prohibition, it would be front page headline news. There were ‘wet’ senators and there were ‘dry’ senators. Can’t control what people want to do or don’t want to do. It ain’t gonna work.

    I read a story of a church being burned to the ground in an eastern seaboard state because a few snitches that had some moonshiners brought to justice were members of the congregation. Also read a story of people visiting a doctor to receive a prescription for medicinal alcohol.

    In the comfortable summer months, you couldn’t take drive in the northern section of my home state during Prohibition. Bootleggers would seize your car and leave you stranded, or US gov law enforcement would stop you to search your car for contraband alcohol.

    Finally, President Roosevelt, declaring an end to Prohibition, said, “Let’s have a beer.”

    The big bad useless gov came to its senses and did something worthwhile.

    Dot Gov can do it again.

    Can’t bullshit their way through this shit, Fauci is guilty, Walensky is guilty, Wen is guilty, Biden is guilty. Most of all, Klaus is guilty. Gates is just plain ignorant and should have a frontal lobotomy.

    Forcing, coercing, anyone to do something against their will, will bother their conscience, will feel wronged, is pure evil, immoral behavior, a blatant imposition of will.

    They can all go fuck themselves.

    You can lead a bull to the whatchamacallit, but you can’t make him stampede.

  2. Eric,

    I remember when Buicks not only came with V6es; they were WELL KNOWN for them! The 231, and later 3800, V6 was Buick’s signature engine. They were such a good engine that aircraft homebuilders would occasionally use Buick V6es to power their airplanes. In an airplane, you can’t afford to have a breakdown, because you can’t just pull over to the side of the road. The Buick V6 was such a good engine that guys used them in their airplanes.

    I was thinking: could this push to de-engine these expensive luxury cars be one of the tools TPTB use to “nudge” these car buyers to buy EVs? Think about it. These cars not only cost the same, if not more, than a Tesla Model 3; the Model 3 will have far better performance than these de-engined luxury cars. If someone is paying $50K for a car, they want performance, right? Well, what better way to steer them to EVs than to make the ICEVs undesirable?

    • Right on Mark, one of my favorite engines. It kept getting improved over time as well. I owned many of them. My fav was the supercharged version which was the L67 which even got better later in it’s life as well.

    • Hi Mark,

      In re: “I was thinking: could this push to de-engine these expensive luxury cars be one of the tools TPTB use to “nudge” these car buyers to buy EVs?”

      We think alike!

      Yes, absolutely. Why buy an under-powered/underwhelming four cylinder “luxury” car when you can buy a luxury EeeeeeeVeeeee that is much more powerful?

      • …except that you have to plug the damned thing in, right, to get anywhere? Oh, and can only travel a fraction of the miles as the “dirty”, “yucky” gas guzzling luxury vehicle? Give me the “under whelming” performance vehicle any day. At least when it has been sitting outside at -40 below, I know the damned thing will start (“Winterized in these parts, of course) and will not crap out on me in the middle of nowhere because (God forbid) I might want a warm cabin while I drive, too! TPTB are going to have to force some of us into these EEEEEVEEEE’s, cause hell is going to freeze over first before I willing buy one of these POS….

  3. I could be wrong about this, but the Toyota Corolla Hybrid seems to have gone the opposite direction for 2023 in horsepower. If memory serves, for 2022 some trim levels had a 121-HP four-cylinder. For 2023 they all put out 138.

    • Dan, one of my favorites is when Kramer gives a homeless guy some food in Tupperware. When Kramer goes back to get his container, the guy refuses to let him have it because “you gave it to me.”
      Kramer: “With Tupperware, you just assume!”

  4. I drive a three banger. With UK petrol prices it’s a blessing. 50 mpg, albeit imperial gallons are more than US. A full tank lasts 3 weeks or 500+ miles. I’m happy!

  5. Eric,

    That visceral and macabre metaphor about crushing the infant’s skull underneath the gas pedal… Your powers of expression never cease to captivate.

    Also, I have praise for my 6-cylinder Ford Ranger:

    We’re on Thanksgiving vacation in Colorado. On the drive up here, the alternator failed. It probably had been flagging for some time. So, I limped it over to a parts store and was able to change it out in less than 10 minutes. Try THAT with a 2010 or newer car!

  6. Hi Eric,

    Why dwell on the four cylinder present, soon to be past? You know what’s next. So why not be ahead of the curve, and get your followers howling and raging and foaming at the mouth about it right now?

    The three banger!!

    • My stepson is about to inherit a Geo Metro from his grandma, and he’s stoked. With gas prices where they are, I’d be too! But, like that Chevette Eric has pictured there, that Geo yielded results! Sad, with all of the modern technology, the new vehicles are getting WORSE gas mileage, no doubt after being crammed to the gills with such “tech”.

  7. You want a six-cylinder engine in your new car? Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t have one.

    Eventually, it’ll be zero cylinders, you be peddling a bike, better than Fred Flintstone’s rock-wheeled timber-framed foot mobile.

    We, they super wealthy really smart elite, are tired of providing for 8,000,000,000 lost souls on a lonely planet, the ennui prevails.

    Somebody has to do something, Klaus Schwab is blunt about it, you deserve nothing and you might as well be happy about it because that is what is going to be. Tough luck, you’ll be lucky to get a cup of coffee.

    Hey, Klaus, speak for yourself, you ignorant Nazi pig. You’re FOS.

    What else are going to deny people who you don’t want to see you live that much longer? What’ll it be? Water? Shelter?

    You want good clothes? No way, you can wear sack cloth and ashes, you filthy swine. Sack cloth and ashes will fit Klaus just fine.

    Always somebody more than willing to deny everybody everything, just can’t have any of it.

    New York City has a population of 19,000,000 city dwellers.
    There is no way that NYC can have enough room to park 19,000,000 cars on Long Island.

    A car 12 feet long and five feet wide of occupied space is 60 square feet. 60 times 19,000,000 equals, doing the math, 40 square miles of land needed to park 19,000,000 cars.

    Manhattan is 22.8 square miles. No room for people after you park 19,000,000 cars. Conclusion, not everybody in NYC owns a vehicle.

    Acres of unsold new cars can be parked someplace else. Just order a new one after the one you have exceeds its expiration date, i.e. something goes seriously wrong.

    The total number of oil and gas wells in Texas exceeds 1.2 million. The number of oil and gas wells in California is 472,000.

    The Texas Rail Road Commission has all information on oil production. There are approximately 187,000 oil wells in Texas, they’re hauling the stuff all of the time.

    The number of oil wells in North Dakota is more than 17,000 and counting. The daily oil production is more than 1.1 million barrels per day. The increase in oil production is ten times more than in 2007.

    Peak Oil zealots only believe in oil depletion, they are in denial. If oil production increases, more doom, oil will be gone much sooner. New oil forms at all times, the nature of the beast. The sea bottom in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking natural gas night and day, can’t be stopped.

    If production decreases, like during the pandemic, down to 91,000,000 bpd back then when Trump was not in charge and then the New Dark Age began during Biden’s first Dark Winter, by all means, it is further proof of peak oil.

    Peak Oilers will not accept any other zeitgeist, oil statistics that bear the real story are rejected, only the gloom and doom is acceptable, fits the narrative. Peak Oilers have been around since oil was produced for commercial value.

    Colonel Drake drilling at a rate of three feet per day finally hit pay dirt. Took a Roberts Torpedo and a bunch of water to fill the casing so the charge detonated at 60 feet down the hole, voila, oil flow.

    The oil is gonna be all gone and we’ll all die right away. You’ll eat bugs then. All bunkum and bosh, if you really want to know.

    The Oil Drum projected the Bakken Boom to end soon, the maximum daily production output would not exceed 300,000 bpd and then zoom down from there soon afterwards.

    All wrong because they do not understand the nature how crude oil is formed, the building blocks are there, heat and pressure on the kerogen then in turn becomes petroleum.

    You need carbon and hydrogen, has to be there. No changing the nature of the elements, they form molecules and compounds. As long as the earth remains in existence, oil is not finite, it will always be there. You can say it won’t be, but you don’t know that.

    You want acetic acid, you need carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Those are the rules.

    Depending upon how old a petroleum deposit is, accumulated units, there is either a lot of natural gas or not much natural gas, the crude that is dark green and denser is from a mature field. I have seen samples of both. One in 1963, the other around 2009. A lighter oil is still very good oil, just more volatile, an immature formation. Jet fuel oil.

    Search and Discover dot com is the oil place, search Leigh Price, a petro-chemist that made breakthrough research on how oil does form.

    Historical Oil Production in North Dakota

    Titusville went bust, doesn’t mean it all will.

    Canada supplies 50 percent of oil imports including natural gas.

    Praise petroleum, not condemn it. Whales thank the extinct species for saving their lives. If they have nothing, they won’t be happy.

    It’s a funny old ride.

    Still have some tomatoes from the garden, you have to grow as much as you can. It was a very good year for tomatoes. Can’t help that.

  8. you can thank the leftist/communist politicians for ruining your cars….

    they just sign into law any legislation/laws that the wef writes and sends them…for huge bribes….lol

    The WEF’s Programs for Infiltration: The Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers & New Champions

    the connection between the WEF and the creation of the Club of Rome:

    “Sir Alexander King and the computer model made famous in the 1972 Limits to Growth imposed a new schism between humanity’s desire to develop vs nature’s supposed desire to rest in mathematical equilibrium.

    This neo-Malthusian computer model was used to justify the culling of the unfit and overpopulated useless eaters and was subsequently incorporated into the third official World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting at Davos,

    The goal is a track and trace society where all transactions are logged, every person has a digital ID that can be tracked, and social malcontents are locked out of society via social credit scores and cbdc soon.

    the Metaverse has the potential to be a digital dystopia designed to lock the public in a technocratic nightmare.

    https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/wefs-programs-for-infiltration/

    • conservatives need to create more special interest groups to create legislation/laws to support conservative values…that they can get politicians to sign ….

      these politicians will sign anything for enough cash…..the wef has lots of cash…..

  9. “No one needs more than 640K” – Bill Gates.

    The problem is engineers have been tasked with creating a product that will fill 90% of the market’s need. You don’t need more than a 250 HP engine 90% of the time, so that’s what you get. Those few times you need more? Well, maybe you can rent something from U-Haul. No impulse trips, no taking advantage of a random opportunity. Just plan out your entire life, just like the adminstrator does.

    Better hope everyone and everything goes along with the plan…

  10. “The four cylinder-powered ’23 RX – which is a mid-sized vehicle that weighs in excess of 4,400 lbs., by the way – rates 22 miles-per-gallon in city driving and 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The previous (2022) RX with the V6 rates 20 city, 27 on the highway”.

    A 10 % improved fuel economy in city driving probably is significant to many customers.

    “And they’re only that on paper. Out in the real world, the turbo fours end up using as much or even more gas than the sixes they replaced because they have to work harder to properly accelerate the vehicle; the only way you’ll see the advertised 2 MPG gain is if you drive as if there’s a baby’s head underneath the accelerator”.

    This is a claim that still needs scientific confirmation.

    • no it doesn’t Jone. These smaller displacement, blown engines are designed to ‘pass the test’, period. Running no boost during the mpg testing. In the real world, they do worse. Just look up the famous debate about the Ford F150 w/blown V6’s standard, and the huge amount of unhappy customers who thought they were getting better mpg vehicles. My guess is most of it’s been censored though.

      • I wouldn’t know, since I have never seen any proper scientific proof either way. My personal experience with 6 cylinder engines and equally strong turbocharged 4 cylinder engines, is that the latter consume slightly less fuel under normal driving conditions.

    • Hi Jone,

      If you’re able to spend $50k-plus on a car, is a slight increase in fuel economy especially relevant?

      Also, I can assure you – because I know (and I know because I test drive new vehicles) that these turbo’d fours do not deliver on their touted mileage figures unless you drive the vehicles they’re in like the proverbial little old lady. Not the one from Pasadena, either!

      These little engines are insufficiently powerful – unless they’re on boost. And when they’re on boost, they use more gas.

  11. Just a question…how many executives within these auto companies who are going along with this mandate are fully jabbed? I bet all of them. I bet any who argue a different course are purged (un-jabbed).

    Us un-jabbed pure bloods may end up like what the Cubans did after Castro…find/innovate any way possible to keep our old cars on the road. Maybe even harnessing up a single horse to pull a car like what Germany did during the wars.
    This is war.

  12. My definition of an exotic six would be an inline six, which benefits from inherent balance.

    Toyota Supra and BMW’s Z4 still have them. Not many others, though. Chrysler supposedly is rolling out a twin-turbo 3-liter straight six in some of its products.

    Automakers are like prisoners of war, digging their own graves with picks and shovels before being briskly dispatched by their brutal captor, the US fedgov.

  13. Eric, on a separate note, not sure if its happening there as well – but I follow a number of car brokers. now about 2 years ago they were running around finding you ANY car for which they charge a premium. Today, every day I get messages that they have cars (many high end luxury ones) for immediate delivery, at a discount…. maybe its time to buy something….

    • Hi Nasir,

      Yup. The overheated market is cooling- rapidly. This could easily be foreseen as the result of a significant decrease in the buying power of money – what is styled “inflation” – in tandem with rising interest rates on loans. There is a hard deck limit on what people can finance. And I think we’ve hit it.

      • Hi Eric

        Those at the bottom have been tapped out ever since 2008. This time round inflation is much higher than Western governments are admitting (thanks to changing how inflation is calculated back in the 1980s).

        in the UK the latest inflation data is %11.5 but in reality fuel, electricity, food, rents and mortgages are way higher than %11.5.

        So that means the middle class are now becoming tapped out.

        the ShadowStats alternate inflation estimate, is 17.0%, had the CPI-W calculations not been redefined following the CPI Inflation and COLA spikes of 1980/ 1981.

        All going to plan as in the WEF gets to own and run the entire West…..this is happening because politicians just approve any new laws/legislation that the wef sends them….lol

        https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2022-11-21/warning-most-disturbing-thing-ive-seen-years

      • I’m no economist, but if you have no debt, then does it matter?
        I am thinking that interest rates going up, help people with no debt? Especially if you have savings/investments vs debt?
        Obviously, inflation kills the savings, so there’s that, but I guess it’s a double wammy for those with debt.

        • Hi Chris,

          It seems to me that higher interest rates will lower prices – for those who can afford to pay them. The problem is even if prices for houses and vehicles go down, not many can afford to just buy them (without financing). So, they have the prospect of usurious interest on the loan.

          There are upsides, though – if you’re not buying, For example, if housing prices (and new builds) in your area go down, so property taxes should, too. Or at least, it’ll be harder for the SOBs to increase them.

  14. Eric – The even more unfortunate thing is that a large chunk of new car buyers (or leasers) out there today wont even know or care how many cylinders there are under there, or even what the cylinder does!! Most are just buying these luxury cars to basically keep up with the jones’ s

  15. In the old days the argument could at least be made that a four cylinder saved on gas over a six or eight. But as you point out, the few MPG difference is like a red wave thats nothing more than a receding tide.

    I’ve grown convinced that if tomorrow morning they, whoever they are, came out and proclaimed we should all be driving foot powered cars, like in the Flinstone’s, a goodly part (maybe 10-20%) of the population would cheer. They would queue up to pay their money and place their order. All so they could show everyone the exceptionalism of their character.

  16. It’s been going on my entire 47 year adult life. Pay more, get less.
    The pitiful part about the CO2 reduction plans are that they don’t work, other than to impoverish us so we can’t afford to generate any, except by breathing, which we are still allowed, so far anyway.
    Save a couple of miles per gallon, and then your over taxed 4 cylinder blows up, and you spend more than the fuels savings saved you.
    They did solve the problem of supplying enough grid capacity to transition from ICVs to EVs. They aren’t going to bother with it. They aren’t happy you have air conditioning, much less drive your own car. Not because of any environmental impact, but it’s as good an excuse as any. The fact is, the Psychopaths In Charge hate you, and want you dead, especially if you have a functioning brain.

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