Top 3 Most Important Cars With Five-Cylinder Engines

When it comes to engines, the five-cylinder configuration occupies a unique space in the automotive world. While not as common as the four-cylinder or six-cylinder engines, five-cylinder engines offer a compelling balance of power and efficiency.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of five-cylinder engines and explore the three most important cars that have embraced this distinctive engine layout.

The Audi Quattro

In the early 1980s, Audi introduced a groundbreaking innovation to the world of rallying—the Audi Quattro. What set it apart was its use of a five-cylinder engine combined with all-wheel drive.

This revolutionary combination not only changed the landscape of rally racing but also laid the foundation for Audi’s dominance in motorsports. The Quattro’s turbocharged five-cylinder engine delivered a potent punch, propelling it to multiple victories in the World Rally Championship.

Everyday Supercar

The Audi Quattro wasn’t just a rally legend; it also became an iconic road car. Its turbocharged powerplant, signature boxy design, and the unmistakable sound of the five-cylinder engine made it a favorite among enthusiasts. Even today, the Audi Quattro remains a symbol of Audi’s commitment to performance and innovation.

The Volvo 850

In the 1990s, Volvo introduced a family sedan that would challenge the norms of its segment—the Volvo 850. What made the 850 unique was its five-cylinder engine, which was a departure from the typical four-cylinder offerings in the mid-size sedan market.

This engine layout allowed for smooth power delivery and impressive torque, making it an ideal choice for a family car.


Volvo took the 850 a step further with the introduction of the T-5R, a performance variant that showcased the full potential of the five-cylinder engine.

With a turbocharged powerplant under the hood, the T-5R combined family practicality with sports car-like acceleration. It was a testament to Volvo’s engineering prowess and their willingness to challenge conventions.

The Audi RS3

Audi’s commitment to the five-cylinder engine didn’t stop with the Quattro. In recent years, they’ve introduced the Audi RS3—a compact sports sedan that packs a punch.

Beneath its hood lies a potent five-cylinder engine producing impressive horsepower. This small, agile car delivers exhilarating performance and has become a favorite in the hot hatch segment.

The RS3 Legacy

The RS3 is not just about straight-line speed; it’s about the experience. The unique five-cylinder engine note, combined with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system, ensures that every drive is a thrilling one.

The RS3 has become a symbol of Audi’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a compact performance car.


The world of automotive engineering is filled with innovation, and the use of five-cylinder engines in these three cars has left a lasting mark.

From the iconic Audi Quattro that changed the face of rally racing to the Volvo 850, which challenged the norm in family sedans, and the Audi RS3, a compact powerhouse that continues to redefine the hot hatch segment, these cars showcase the versatility and performance potential of five-cylinder engines.


What makes five-cylinder engines unique?

Five-cylinder engines offer a balance between four-cylinder fuel efficiency and six-cylinder power, resulting in smooth power delivery and distinctive engine notes.

Why was the Audi Quattro so important in rallying?

The Audi Quattro introduced all-wheel drive to rallying, providing superior traction and handling. Its turbocharged five-cylinder engine delivered the power needed for success.

How did the Volvo 850 challenge the family sedan market?

The Volvo 850 introduced a five-cylinder engine to the mid-size sedan segment, offering a combination of power and efficiency not typically found in family cars.

What sets the Audi RS3 apart in the compact sports car segment?

The Audi RS3 combines a high-performance five-cylinder engine with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, delivering exhilarating performance and a unique driving experience.

Are five-cylinder engines still relevant today?

Yes, five-cylinder engines are still used in modern vehicles, offering a balance of power and efficiency. Audi’s RS3 is a prime example of their continued relevance in the automotive world.