Offering the best of all worlds where sports cars are concerned, the six-cylinder powerplant is capable of producing power and torque rivaling V-8 engines, while imposing less weight and complexity. Further, a six-cylinder engine typically returns better fuel economy than its V8 counterpart.
Another distinctive aspect of the six-cylinder engine is the broad variety of configurations in which it can be employed. Whether inline (all six cylinders arrayed in a straight row in the engine block), a V-6 (two sets of three cylinders on opposite sides of the block arrayed in a 90 degree or less V formation), or the flat (horizontally-opposed) configuration in which the six cylinders essentially lie on their sides three opposite each other in the engine block.
Aided, in no small manner by the recent advances in computer control cam timing and fuel injection systems, the six-cylinder engines on our list of the best six-cylinder sports cars routinely produce between 300 and 620 horsepower.
That they can do this while maintaining the relatively light weight that makes sports cars so much fun is a definite plus. Oh, and did we mention the gloriously mellifluous exhaust note of a nicely-tuned six? The next time you see a Nissan 370Z going down the street, pay attention to the way it sounds, you’ll be mesmerized.
What follows is our list of the Best Six-Cylinder Sports Cars for 2012.