What are the advantages of using this configuration over an inline 6 or a V6?

Why Does VW use the VR6 configuration?

Would like info on the cylinder layout and it works.

  • 1
    generally, inline is the most efficient, but you need to do V engines to fit more cylinders in a given space.
    – rpmerf
    Jul 28 '16 at 11:03
  • @rpmerf Yeah but Vr6 is not V6.
    – Shobin P
    Jul 28 '16 at 11:09
  • 3
    I apologize, but the Stack Exchange part of my brain philosophically does need to downvote this due to lack of research effort, this one is really readily available on the internet.
    – Jason C
    Jul 28 '16 at 12:49

The VR6 is a 6 cylinder Volkswagen engine which uses a narrow angle Vee formation. The Vee is at just 15 degrees which allows the engine to use a single cylinder head.

It has two camshafts which, in 12v format at least) operate the valves for each bank. Unlike a traditional DOHC, the front cam on this engine operates the inlet and exhaust valves for the front bank of cylinders and the rear cam, the rear bank.

The engine uses a single inlet manifold and a single exhaust manifold.

In the Golf and Corrado to which it was fitted, it's fitted in a transverse orientation driving the front (or all four in 4motion models) wheels with the gearbox on the side of the engine.

Compared to an inline-6, the engine is more compact. The fact the bores are effectively offset mean it fits into the engine bay of an old Golf transversely. Something you certainly couldn't do with an inline-6 of the same capacity.

Compared to a traditional V6, the engine is far narrower and utilises less components. A traditional V6 uses two cylinder heads, two exhaust manifold and sometimes two inlet manifolds. Also, the width of a traditional V6 would make it complex to mount transversely in a small hatchback car.

The reason it's named the VR6 is that it's a V-Motor and a Reihenmotor motor (Reihenmotor being the German word for Inline-Motor) and it's a 6 cylinder. They also produced a 2.3 litre VR5 engine which was essentially a VR6 with one of the end cylinders omitted.

Do you need any more information (I'm somewhat fanatical when it comes to details about early watercooled Volkswagens).

  • Wow.. Sounds cool.. Why is it not widely adopted?
    – Shobin P
    Jul 28 '16 at 11:54
  • Good question. They were used in a great number of Volkswagen models plus some Audi, Porsche and Ford under licence. Lancia I believe threatened to sue as they'd done a V4 with a single cylinder head some years previously and had a patent. The short answer is; Turbocharging. The VR6 makes around 200 bhp which is about the same as a turbocharged 4-cyl engine of half the cubic capacity. Jul 28 '16 at 12:04
  • Ahh.. I see.. but mechanically these are brilliant. Impressive
    – Shobin P
    Jul 28 '16 at 12:08
  • 1
    @ShobinP They're heavier and more expensive than inline engines, and also there is a big restriction on bore size because of the design (not sure if that's why they aren't widely used, but those are some disadvantages in general). See also blog.caranddriver.com/the-slow-death-of-the-volkswagen-vr-6 for more on why it's falling out of use and youtube.com/watch?v=Y0LKWt3Ttic for how it works.
    – Jason C
    Jul 28 '16 at 12:41
  • 1
    It should be of note, the same basic principle is used in the other W engines used by VW and others. The difference being, these are in an overall "V" configuration, but you'd be looking at two of the VR6 engines put together to create the V. I know of a W10, W12, and W16 versions. You can see how the Bugatti Veyron W16 engine is put together in this video to get a better understanding. Jul 29 '16 at 0:47

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