It’s a 5-Cylinder Car? Is That OK?​ »

It’s a 5-Cylinder Car? Is That OK?​

Many drivers aren't aware of any vehicles having an odd number of cylinders in their engines. You're not crazy. They do exist. Several smaller vehicles have only three cylinders. Other vehicles sometimes come with five, an example being the Audi TT RS. If you've ever wondered if this strange engine type poses any problems, you're probably not the only one. We'll clear it up for you.


  • Weight
  • Fuel
  • Expenses

The primary disadvantage of 5-cylinder or "I5" engine is cost. Five cylinder engines are larger than 4-cylinder engines and require more materials to build, driving the price of vehicle up. Also because the engine is larger, it's more heavy. That means you're going to pay more for fuel. 5-cylinder engines need a few parts that other engines don't need, which adds to the MSRP of the vehicle. Many drivers purchase 5-cylinder sports cars and are not particularly concerned about these costs because they want to go fast!


  • Smoothness
  • Power
  • Fit
  • Sound

The precise way in which a the pistons move in a 5-cylinder car causes less vibration than other engine types, giving them a distinctive feel as they age. Another distinction caused by this firing sequence is the sound an I5 makes. It can be really special, like this TT RS's sound.

Five cylinders is more than 4 but less than 6, of course. Therefore, 5 cylinders can provide some of the benefits of both 4 and 6. That is, 5 cylinders can fit in a smaller package than 6 but provide more power than 4 (usually). For medium-sized vehicles like the Audi TT RS and the Chevrolet Colorado (2012), 5-cylinder engines provide a good fit and improved power that their drivers enjoy.

The maintenance of a 5 cylinder engine is very similar to that of 4 and 6 cylinder engines. Most mechanics would say there's nothing to worry about with regard to maintenance.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that 5-cylinder engines are better or worse than others. Making the right decision about buying a vehicle that uses one depends on your lifestyle. Just like cargo space, seating capacity and ground clearance, engine cylinders is something to consider. If an extra cylinder will cost too much money due to the extra fuel it consumes, maybe 5-cylinder cars are not right for you. If the extra power would come in handy because you tow trailers, race on the weekends or just enjoy the engine sound, way to go! It's really a matter of choice as there are no general warnings to disclose here.

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