Wheels top five: big car engines

Bentley Mulsanne 6.5L engine

Downsizing engines is about as fashionable today as kale-crusted cronuts (or whatever else millenials are scoffing these days), but while Mercedes-AMG has turned its back on its delicious 6.2-litre atmo V8 and Volvo is on the cusp of throwing a 2.0-litre turbo four-pot in its S60 Polestar sports sedan, there are still a few choices for those whom size is everything.

Be warned though: you’ll need megabucks for most of these. Tiny turbo motors might be fine for the great unwashed, but the top end of town still puts significant value on the size of their engines. 

1. Bentley Mulsanne – 6752cc, $662,857

Bentley -Mulsanne -front -action -whlBentley charges $98 per cubic centimetre of displacement for its top-shelf Mulsanne giga-limo, which has the dual distinction of being Bentley’s most expensive model and its biggest-engined.

With a monstrous 6.75 (or six and three-quarters, as Bentley prefers to call it) litres of displacement being filled by a pair of turbochargers, the Mulsanne makes 377kW and a meaty 1020Nm of torque to haul its lardy 2.7 tonne body around. And haul it does: the big Mulsanne can rocket to 100km/h from standstill in a brisk 5.3 seconds. 

2. Rolls-Royce Phantom – 6749cc, $855,000

2015-rolls -royce -phantom -front -staticThe limo love doesn’t stop with the Mulsanne, with rival Rolls following just 3cc behind the Bentley with a direct-injected 6.75-litre V12 thumping away under its alloy bonnet.

The outputs aren’t as impressive as the Bentley’s turbo V8, but with 338kW of power and 720Nm of twist the big Roller can still boogie its way to 100km/h in a hot hatch-like 5.9 seconds – not bad for a luxury car that tips the scales at 2649kg in its slimmest form. 

3. Rolls-Royce Wraith – 6592cc, $595,000

2014-rolls -royce -wraith -rear -staticThe old adage “there’s no replacement for displacement” must be rendered in wrought iron above the gates to Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood factory, because the British ultra-luxury marque accounts for a solid 40 percent of this top five.

The Wraith is the two-door sibling to the “entry level” Rolls-Royce Ghost and boasts a 465kW/800Nm twin-turbo V12 to propel its ultra-wealthy occupants to obscene speeds. How quick? All of that V12 muscle is enough to get the 2.4-tonne Wraith to triple-digit velocities in just 4.6 seconds – just a tenth of a second behind a BMW M2 Pure.

4. Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce – 6498cc, $882,650

2016-Lamborghini -Aventador _LP750-4_SV-front -actionNow we’re getting serious. The Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce takes a 6.5-litre V12 and winds it up to a full-blooded 552kW and 670Nm – all without the aid of turbochargers.

It’s brutally quick. The zero-to-hundred stat is just 2.8 seconds, and thanks to a clever AWD system it’s got grip for days. Shame about that single-clutch automated manual gearbox though.

5. Chrysler 300 SRT Core – 6430cc, $65,000

2015-chrysler -300-srt -front -staticWhen it comes to size, the Chrysler SRT manages to edges out exotica like the Ferrari F12 tdf’s 574kW 6.3-litre V12. Not bad for an American family sedan.

It also sports more ‘cubes than its main rivals from Holden and HSV, both of which have “only” 6.2 litres to play with. With 350kW of all-American power and 637Nm of freedom-loving torque it comprehensively outguns the Holden SS (as it should, given the $20k price gap), as well as pretty much everything else around South of the $80,000 mark.

Honourable mentions:

Aston Martin One-77 – 7312cc (V12), 559kW/750Nm

Only 77 examples of Aston’s mega-exclusive One-77 hypercar were built and only one ever came to Australia, but yes, for a brief period you could actually buy a 7.3-litre road car.

Ram 3500 – 6690cc (Cummins diesel I6) 276kW/1084Nm

Fiat-Chrysler’s Ram Trucks arm does nothing but make gigantic utilities, and few are more massive than the Ram 3500. Measuring more than six metres in length, the Ram 350 packs an equally gargantuan 6.7-litre diesel inline six under its bonnet that generates a whopping 1084Nm of torque. FCA doesn’t bring it here, but if you’ve got about $140,000 you can get a RHD-converted one in your driveway – provided it’s big enough.

Chevrolet Silverado – 6587cc (Duramax diesel V8), 296kW/1037Nm

GM’s local arm Holden doesn’t distribute any of The General’s mega-utes from Chevy or GMC, but local importers will sell you RHD-converted examples of the Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin. 6.6 litres of turbodiesel grunt are yours for the taking, but you’ll pay around $140,000 for that 1000Nm+ torque figure.

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