Video: Six 5-Valve Engines Ranging From Two to Twelve Cylinders

It seems like these days, the sea of available overhead-cam engines use two main cylinder head valve configurations. The industry seems to have settled on two- and four-valve-per-cylinder designs, with the occasional three-valve engine thrown in for good measure.

However in the 1980s and ‘90s it was a wilder world, with a number of various engine manufacturers exceeding the four-valve per cylinder number in production engines, not just low-number prototypes. This video looks at six such engines, which range in size from a two-cylinder, 850cc Yamaha motorcycle engine to a 12-cylinder 3.5-liter Bugatti supercar engine with four turbochargers and 12 throttle bodies.

The Italian Stallion

Ferrari probably has the most well-known line of large 5-valve engines, producing three variants in a ten-year span. The 3.5L Tipo F129B and F129C engines in the F355, the 3.6L Tipo F131 frrom the 360 Modena, and then the big-boy 4.5-liter V12 Tipo F130B descended from the Tipo 036 Formula One engine of the day.

The Crazy Bugatti

Bugatti has always been a little on the crazy side, and the EB110 is proof of that. Starting with a very over-square 3.5-liter V12 engine, which spun to north of 8,000 rpm, the firm decided that wasn’t enough. Each cylinder was given its own throttle body, which isn’t too excessive in and of itself, until you add in the four turbochargers. Unfortunately, being a product of the technology of the early ‘90s, all that only added up to 603 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque out of the performance model.

The five-valve Toyota 4A-GE can be seen here with the OEM front-wheel-drive transmission attached. From the factory, there were no RWD applications for the engine, but that hasn’t stopped the engine from being a popular engine swap.

Toyota’s 11-Year 5-Valve

A partnership between Toyota and Yamaha (who designed the five-valve head) saw the venerable 1.6-liter dual overhead cam 4A-GE engine get an extra intake valve in 1991 through 2002. While not a power monster, making between 160 and 163 horsepower in factory, non-performance trim, it did so at north of 7,500 rpm. The Japanese tuning market loved the five-valve 4A-GE, and thanks to Toyota’s racing efforts, A racing variant of the engine was produced for the Formula Atlantic series, making 240 horsepower and spinning to 10,000 rpm.

Four Rings, Five Valves

Audi has been a fan of the five-valve cylinder head for quite a while. Starting back in 1986, they used a five-valve head on a five-cylinder engine, for a 25-valve engine that broke some significant high-speed records nestled inside of a 200 Quattro. From there, it used the configuration in several production engines of various cylinder configurations and displacements, in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants.

These are only quick synopsis of four of the six engines featured in the video above, and not an inclusive list by any means. Do you have a favorite five-valve engine that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below.

Audi was probably the greatest adopter of five-valve-per-cylinder technology, with the configurations being used on a variety of engine sizes and configurations.

About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent fifteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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