V6 vs. V8 Engine: What’s the Differences ?

There are different types of engines that you will come across. When classified according to configuration, you will find the inline and V engine, among many more. In this piece, we will pay more focus on the latter. In this vein, we introduce you to the V6 vs. V8 discussion.

If you are into vehicles, you have probably heard about the two engine types. Besides the two mentioned engines, there is also V10, V12, and V14 types. If you want to know what the V in V6 stands for and the differences between v6 and v8, stick on as we take you through it.

What the V in Engines Means

One question many people have of the V engines is what the letter denotes. To understand what it means, you have to go down to the cylinder. The cylinder is an essential engine component where the piston moves. It allows for ample motion after energy production from the combustion chamber.

The engine has many cylinders that allow for piston movement. The pistons connect to the crankshaft for motion conversion. The cylinders take on an arrangement parallel to the crankshaft. The arrangement is the cylinder bar.

The V engine has two parallel cylinder bars, which form a V shape; hence, its name.  In most instances, you find that this engine type has an even number of cylinders. For example, the V6 has three cylinders on each cylinder bar. Another important thing to know about the V type is that the cylinders share a common crankshaft.

V engines have an interesting history. They made their debut in the late 1880s in the form of a two-cylinder engine, the work of Wilhelm Maybach. From this point onwards, several modifications came through that increased the number of cylinders it could accommodate.

V engine vs. inline engine, what is the difference? The difference between the two common engines is that the former has the cylinders arranges in a linear configuration.

Here, you will find that the V type is shorter than the inline. The small size makes it a preferred engine as it will fit into most cars.

In short, the number after the V indicates the number of cylinders the motor has.

V6 Engine

Going deeper into the discussion at hand, we start by looking at the V6 engine. As its name hints, it has six cylinders, divided evenly between each bar. The V6 is among the commonest configuration for 6-cylinder motors.

A Brief History of the V6 Engine

The V6 engine appeared sometime in the mid-1900s, going to production around 1908. Initially, the main purpose of the V6 was as a generator for railway engines that used gasoline and electricity.  At this time, vehicle manufacturers like Buick experimented with the V6. However, the trials did not lead to their mass production for vehicles.

Post World War 2, many auto manufacturers were trying out the V6 engine. Some vehicle models to use this engine include Lancia Aurelia, which ran on the Lancia V6 motor. The 1962 Buick Special was the first mass-produced American car to use the V6 engine.

Design

The design of the V6 engine looks like two inline-three engines fused together, as each cylinder bank has three cylinders. The bank angles form a V shape, though in varying degrees, depending on the vehicle model.

For instance, Volkswagen V6 engines have 10-15-degree between the two banks. They are the VR6 engines, which powered models like the Passat and Golf. You also find 60, 90, and 120-degrees varieties. Most American V6s have a 90-degree angle.

The odd number of cylinders on each bank brings about vibrations, which is one of the downsides of this motor. A noticeable thing about the vibrations is that they seem more pronounced if the banks have a wider separation angle. It is more evident in the 90-degree varieties. For smoothness, you can use a harmonic damper with a balance shaft.

This engine type has also found prominent use in the autosport scene. You may find it in marine and railway applications. Some motorcycles use the V6, mostly superbikes.

V8 Engine

The V8 engine has been around for a long time and more prominently used compared to the V6. The V8 is very powerful; as such, you find it in vehicles like trucks, SUVs, and sports cars. Similar to the V6, it has a V-shaped engine, but it has eight cylinders.

A Brief History of the V8 Engine

The V8 engine came before the V6 in 1904. At this time, its primary use was on aircraft. After a decade, it made its entrance into the automobile industry. Cadillac was the first brand to have mass-produced vehicles using this motor. The popularity of the V8 was quite moderate for some time until it came in the form of the Ford Flathead V8 in the early 1930s. Its use soared, and it became common in most vehicles.

Design

Most V8 engines have a 90-degree bank to bank angle. It is an efficient design that helps do away with vibrations. There are some V8s that have a 60-degree angle, which are smaller and fit into most vehicles. The downside is that they produce a lot of vibrations. To beat the problem, they come with offset crankpins and a balance shaft.

A look at V8 crankshaft configurations, you find that most use the cross-plane crankshaft, which is ideal for those with a 90-degree angle. It is suitable for achieving engine balance.  The flat-plane crankshaft goes to V8 racing car engines.

The V8 is one of the most adaptable motors when you look at its applications. You will find it in muscle cars and sports-oriented vehicles, like those taking part in NASCAR competitions and drag racing. They were standard in early planes and marine applications.

V6 vs. V8 Fuel Consumption

If you want a remanufactured engine for your vehicle and have the choice between a V6 and a V8, you have to pay attention to several factors. The top of them is fuel consumption.

A dig at the V6 vs. V8 fuel consumption subject will notice that the former consumes more fuel. The explanation behind the higher fuel consumption is the number of cylinders that each has. The V6 has six, while its counterpart has eight.

With eight cylinders, there are eight combustion chambers and more moving parts. For the piston and other components to move, you need more fuel going into the combustion chamber.

The good thing is that despite the V8’s high fuel consumption, it is very efficient. The V6 has fewer combustion chambers and moving parts. As such, the V6 engine fuel consumption is lower than that of the V8.

V6 vs. V8 Speed

Another factor to consider in the V8 vs. V6 debate is speed. So, which of the two is the fastest? The V6 engine is light, and its pistons move at a rapid rate. In essence, the V6 is capable of amazing speeds. However, the V8 also lifts its weight when looking at this aspect.

The more cylinders an engine has translates to more horsepower and torque. The V8 has higher acceleration, torque, and horsepower. When you combine all these attributes, the V8 comes on top of the V6 engine.

Some tunings to the V6, like having a supercharger or turbocharger, will improve its powers and, subsequently, its speed.

V6 vs. V8 Sound

Both the V8 and V6 produce amazing sounds, especially when revving the engine or accelerating. For many people, the V8 has the best sound, which comes in as a roar. The V6’s sound is more controlled and a great option if you do not want a noisy atmosphere.

There is also the issue of engine noises. The V engines are notorious for vibrations, which can be a nuisance to the driver. The V6 produces a lot of vibrations, mainly for the engines with a larger bank to bank angle.

The larger the angle, the more vibrations experienced. The good thing is that there is a solution for these problems in harmonic dampers, balance shafts, and offset split crankpins. The V8 uses the balance shaft and offset crankpins, while the V6 uses harmonic dampers and balance shafts. You will notice that the V8’s supporting parts are more efficient in doing away with the vibrations.

Ford V6 vs. V8

Ford is a giant vehicle manufacturer, with several of its models using either the V8 or V6 engines. In this discussion, we bring forth one of Ford’s best-selling models, the F-150. The F-150 has variants that use the V6 and V8 motors.

The first area to touch on is Ford F-150 v6 vs.v8 reliability. On reliability, you find that on most vehicles, the V8 comes on top. It also applies to this Ford truck, where it portrays its reliability in the form of hauling power. It is a robust engine that supports the vehicle’s weight and its additional load.

The reliability comes into question when you bring up the Ford F-150 V6 vs. V8 gas mileage question. Here, we look at the High-Output EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 and the 5-liter V8 engines. The former has a better fuel economy, of around 17-mpg on city and 21-mpg on the highway. The latter has a rating of 16-mpg on city and 20-mpg on highways. The values drop significantly on 4wd versions.

More Ford EcoBoost specs include a higher horsepower of 450, compared to the V8’s 395-hp. However, you should understand that the V8 has plenty of trims, some with better specs than the v6.

V6 vs. V8 Mustang

The V6 vs. V8 Mustang is another interesting topic touching on Ford models. The Mustang is another successful brand, presently in its sixth generation. The muscle car sports either a V6 or V8 engine under its hood.

The Mustang engine uses the EcoBoost and the Cyclone V6 engines. V6 Mustang vs. EcoBoost, what is the difference? The main difference is the displacement value and power. The V6 has a 3720cc displacement and a potency of 304-PS. This engine was available for the 2015 to 2017 models.

On the other hand, the EcoBoost has a lower displacement of 2253cc. However, it has a higher power output of 314-PS, making it more efficient.

On the Mustang V8, there are the Coyote, Predator, and Voodoo engines. These motors fit into powerful and sports-oriented models like the GT and Shelby. They have a higher displacement than the V6 versions, around 5000-5200cc. They also have more increased horsepower, ranging between 435 to 760 hp.

Which one should you go for between the Mustang V8 and V6? It depends on what you want from this muscle car. If you want more power, translating to speed, go for the V8. For fuel economy with moderate chase levels, the V6 is a great option.

A look at the Mustang vs. Mustang GT will give you a clear impression of this debate. The Mustang is a V6 driven car with a capacity of 3720cc and 300 horsepower. The GT comes in two options, the 4950cc and 5040cc. Their horsepower is 435 and 460, respectively, more significant than that of the standard Mustang.

What Is The Difference Between A V6 And A V8?

The V6 and V8 have several similarities. A V-shaped engine, power, and crank position are some of them. They also have plenty of differences that set them apart. A notable difference is the number of cylinders. The V8 has eight cylinders, four on each cylinder bank. The V6 has six cylinders, three on either bank.

The variations come to play in their respective performance. The V8, with more cylinders, produces more power than the V6. You will notice that most V8-driven cars have a higher horsepower and torque compared to their V6 counterparts.

Averagely, the V6 has a power range of 250 to 320hp. When tuned, with maybe a turbocharger or supercharger fitted, the energy output will appreciate. The V8 has an output of 350 to 450hp. In some vehicles, it goes up to 500hp. With tuning, evident in the autosport scene, you can get a 700hp energy output.

The V8 motor has a higher towing power. It is the best option for heavy vehicles or if they tow bulky loads. The other contrasting factor is fuel consumption. The V6 engine is more economical than the V8. The explanation lies in the number of cylinders that they have. The V8 with more cylinders needs more fuel to go into its combustion chambers.

A look at the V6 vs. V8 sound, you realize the V6 has a quiet operation. The V8 engine is relatively louder, though the V6 vibrates a lot. You can use V6 engines on most vehicles, from rear-wheel, front-wheel, and all-wheel cars. The V8 is ideal for all-wheel and rear-wheel drivetrains.

What of V6 vs. V8 longevity? On this attribute, you may say it is a draw. Longevity depends on many factors, like the type of vehicle and hauling limit. The V6 has a lower hauling value. When used on small to mid-sized cars, it will be more efficient, with minimal stress. It translates to a long life.

When used on heavier vehicles with a higher tow level, it will overstress.  The result is reduced life. The V8 will handle small and large vehicles, showing off its massive torque when handling a significant load.

V6 vs. V8 Pros and Cons

When choosing the best engine for your vehicle, you should focus on the V6 and V8’s advantages and disadvantages.  Both have many appealing factors that make them stand out in the market.

You should consider their individual downsides to know what to expect when you have them in your vehicle’s engine bay. Highlighted are the pros and cons of the V6 and V8 engines that you should know.

V6 Engine Pros

The V6 engine is the most preferred 6-cylinder type. This is due to attributes like its power, making it ideal for most sedans, small SUVs, and crossover SUVs. The V configuration makes it small; hence, it can fit perfectly in most engine bays. If upgrading your vehicle, you can go for a V6 remanufactured engine for a boosted performance.

The V6 beats the V8 in fuel economy, courtesy of its lower number of cylinders.  This car motor also runs quietly. It is a perfect choice if you want the low engine and exhaust noises. Moreover, it is cheaper and versatile. You may use it on various drivetrains, like AWD, RWD, and 4WD.

Cons

The V6’s main downside is its vibrations. The engine’s V angle and an odd number of cylinders in each bank are contributing factors. In some situations, the vibrations may go overboard, leading to unpleasant engine noises. To deal with the situation, use harmonic dampers.

The V6 is less powerful compared to the V8. The energy output is more of average, as it has a higher performance when weighed against 4-cylinder engines.

V8 Engine Pros

The V8 engine is the go-to component for larger vehicles and those that need more power. They include SUVs, muscle cars, and sports cars. They are very powerful, with high energy output and torque levels.  The V8 also has high acceleration levels, great if you desire high speeds when on the highway. It provides an excellent balance of torque and horsepower, enhancing its effectiveness.

The V8 is a perfect choice for RWD and AWD wheel trains. Their rigid design ensures that they have minimal vibrations. The small size of this engine makes it versatile as it can fit into various cars.

Cons

The V8 does not fare well in terms of fuel economy, mainly due to the additional cylinders.  It can be hard to manage in city driving conditions.

Additionally, it registers some vibrations, though minimal in contrast to the V6. Offset crankpins and the balance shaft help deal with this issue.

The V8 engine has high exhaust sounds, which can be pretty disturbing. V8s are expensive, both on purchase and maintenance.

FAQs

Is A V8 Better Than A V6?

The V6 and the V8 are popular engine types under the V category. A definitive feature is a V-shaped configuration. On which of the two is the best, there are several things to consider. The V8 comes on top when looking at its power, which translates to a high towing capacity.

The V6 may have a lower power limit, but it gives you a good balance of energy output and fuel economy. It is a great option if you want minimal sound production. The V8 seems to have an upper edge over the V6, but the latter is ideal for small to medium-sized vehicles.

Does V6 Last Longer Than V8?

A critical factor to look at when getting an engine replacement is its longevity. On the V6 vs. V8 longevity subject, each brings its best. The V6 will last you for a long time if used for the right vehicle weight and hauling limit. If overworked, its life will reduce.

The V8 is sturdier due to its energy output. Its massive torque level allows it to handle heavy vehicle loads. Performing maintenance practices, like regular oil changes and the use of proper oil, will improve the V engine’s life.

A common argument is that the V6 lasts longer than the V8 as it has fewer moving parts. As such, it has a lower rate of wear than the V8.

Can A V6 Beat A V8?

The V6 vs. V8 discussion topic looks at many facets, including their power. The V8 has more power than its counterpart in normal situations. It has more cylinders, which means it converts more energy. There are some situations where the V6 can beat the V8. If modified with a turbocharger or supercharger, the V6 can have a 15% increase in its output. It puts it in the same level or above the standard V8 motor.

What’s Faster, V6 Or V8?

V6 vs. V8, which is the fastest? The V6 has few moving parts, which makes the engine lighter; thus, improving its speed. While this works to the V6’s advantage, you cannot overlook the power of the V8 motor.

The V8 engine has more cylinders; as such, it is capable of producing more power. More power translates to more speed. This makes the V8 faster than the V6, explaining its extensive use in the auto sports scene.

How Long Do V6 Engines Last?

Typically, engines will last for a long if properly maintained. Most motors, including the V6, have a lifeline of 100000-miles. Past this mileage, they will start to degrade faster. Engine rebuilding will help restore it, together with consistent maintenance.

Do V6 Consume More Fuel?

Fuel consumption is a crucial area to look at when opting for a specific motor. The V6 ranks moderate in fuel economy, better than the V8 but poor when contrasted with 4-cylinder engines.

Does V8 Consume More Fuel?

The V8 engine has many cylinders, eight, with four on each cylinder bank. It needs more fuel going to the respective combustion chambers. Compared to the V6, it consumes more fuel.

Conclusion

The v8 and v6 engines are some of the most powerful and have a distinct V design. This article gives you a clear picture of each of the two engines, looking at their build and their differences.

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Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanics (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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