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Torque-Rich Engines

Comments from Huw Powell and others:
> Over the weekend, rented a 1998 F*rd (how's that for an asterisked
>four letter word? Ducking, nomex on!) one ton van with a 4.2 liter V-6
>engine and 4 speed slushbox. Drove it 800 miles. Makes 200 hp out of
>256 inches, not turbo, either. Man! Talk about a strong engine!

>Wait, that's twice the size of my engine and less than twice the hp. 
>Not impressed.  I think what you were digging was the torque -it just
>pulls and pulls and pulls . . .  

Relatively large-displacement, high torque engines often feel strong
under normal street conditions even if their horsepower-per-cubic-inch
(or cubic centimeter) rating is nothing to write home about.  Such
engines traditionally are associated with Detroit Iron, but Europe has its
share of blown Bentleys, M-B and BMW V-12s, etc., plus, on a more
realistic level, latest generation diesels.  Such engines might be a
worthy addition to Audi's option list.  Audi evidently agrees, since it
offers enthusiast-friendly diesels to some of its European customers. 
But maybe, and if so regrettably, not in conjunction with the Quattro
drivetrain.  Does anyone know? 

The story of the 4.2 liter Ford van reminds me that every once in a while
I encounter an otherwise unremarkable car, maybe a rental, that runs
inexplicably and exceptionally well.  I always enjoy the experience but
try not to generalize from it unless I've driven other examples.  

Stone Mountain, GA
'85 4KSQ
'89 F250 4x4 diesel
'95 Z28