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Re: 5 bangers galore

i have sampled the 5 bangers in both the volvo and the honda and
was not impressed with either.  i am also not a great fan of any
of the audi 5's except the exceptional 20 valve turbo.

the volvo's 5 does not boast of any remarkable feats.. they started
out with a porsche designed inline six and chopped a cylinder off so
that they could fit it transversely in the 850.  i find that engine
buzzy and coarse compared to a good 4 or a V6.  volvo doesn't brag
about it and rightfully so.  the turbocharging exercise is wonderful
in terms of rubber burning output, but it doesn't mask the engine's
humble ambitions or origins.

honda's reason for making a 5 was far more cynical.  recall that there
was a 6 cylinder acura as well as a 4.. so, to make a model fit in
between, fit it with a 5 cylinder engine.  there was absolutely no
engineering reason to do it because the vigor is a complete disaster
in terms of space efficiency and the inline 5 is rougher than their
earlier 4 or V6.  i don't know why the latest VTEC 4's have gotten so
coarse (in the accord EX), but then so has BMW's inline 6's with their
VANOS variable valve timing.  the vigor is an incredibly poorly
engineered car and it is an outrage that our good 'ol american press
rates it so highly.  they did not even see fit to perhaps put in a
slightly better set of dampers.. just the same old low grade crap that
they put in their cheapest cars.  cut corners in all areas where
the average joe blow is too dumb to notice,  mark it up nicely
and laugh all the way to the bank.

audi built the 5 during the 1970's oil crisis.. the argument at that
time was that the 5 was smoother than the 4's yet did not have the
thirst of a 6.. that may have been true then, but today's good 4
bangers (especially those with balance shafts) are much better than
most of audi's 5's.  the 20 valve turbo, reflects almost 20 years'
worth of continuous development and it feels it.  i think the
key to its new found smoothness is the dual mass flywheel.
i was shown some graphs showing its effect on vibration and it
seems to make a big difference.  anyway, if one *has* to buy
a car with 5 cylinder engine, the S4/S6 has by far the best

but one drive in a VW VR6 powered car will convince you how flawed
having only 5 cylinders is.  i drove the new passat recently and even
though the engine was really tight and the car heavily loaded with
people, that engine still delivered absolute ecstacy simply from the
sounds that it made.