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Automakers are downsizing engines and adding hybrid powertrains to many next-generation supercars. But this raises the question: how many cylinders does a supercar need to have?
Engines with fewer cylinders provide many benefits as outlined earlier today by McLaren. Ranging from less weight and fewer moving parts, to better fuel economy and better packaging. The list of benefits to using a smaller engine is long.
Jaguar is planning to use a turbo four-cylinder engine displacing a mere 1.6-liters but producing more than 500 horsepower while revving past 10,000 rpm in its upcoming supercar based on the C-X75 Concept.. This engine will be paired with a plug-in hybrid system which will give the new Jaguar supercar an extra boost of torque instantly off the line.
McLaren has even said the V-12 engine is a thing of the past and it belongs in a museum. It's latest supercar, the MP4-12C features a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing over 600 horsepower. The F1 successor due to be revealed later this year will also feature a V-8 engine, only it'll also have a hybrid system to deliver even more power. McLaren has also conceded V-6 engines are a possibility in the future.
Ferrari has already announced the Enzo successor will feature a V-12 engine and an electric hybrid assist system. Rumors peg the power output as high as 920 horsepower, but no official fuel economy or power output figures have been released yet.
Porsche's upcoming 2014 918 Spyder will feature a V-8 engine paired to a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The result will be a supercar that produces over 700 horsepower while still being able to possibly achieve 78 mpg. These numbers are staggering when looking at both fuel economy and horsepower ratings.
From mighty V-12 engines to high-revving four-cylinders, the landscape of supercars is continuing to change. But can a supercar be supercar no matter how many cylinders are in the engine bay? Today we ask you to tell us the answer to that question.