Jaguar's legendary XK straight-six (pictured above), which powered everything from the Le Mans-winning C-Type of 1951 to the XJ6 sedan of the early 1990s, is easily one of the greatest engines of all time. It's smooth, powerful, and beautiful to look at. Like most others of its kind, it died in favor of the V6 as those became the norm in the 1990s. But a straight-six engine might finally be making a comeback at Jaguar.
The original XK six is still dead, of course, but that a new 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six will make its debut next year. This motor would be part of Jaguar Land Rover's new modular Ingenium engine family that consists of inline-oriented engines with 500cc cylinder displacements. The new six will reportedly be offered in diesel and gasoline-powered variants, with three different horsepower levels for each fuel type: 275, 335 and 400 horsepower for the diesel, and 300, 400, and 500 for the gas version.
Before you get too excited, though, a spokesperson for Jaguar said that the Car report is "purely speculation" in an email sent to Road & Track. That being said, the Ingenium is a modular design, so building a new straight-six based on this architecture is well within the realm of possibility.
Jaguar's current supercharged V6, which the automaker sticks in just about everything it offers, uses the same block as its aging 5.0-liter V8 with two cylinders blocked off, and a few other parts changed. It's a good cost cutting measure from Jag, but one that contributes to additional weight and worse fuel economy. A straight-six would assumedly be lighter, smoother, and more efficient than the current V6.
Car says the new straight-six would be offered in everything Jaguar offers except the F-Type, and would also appear in a handful of Land Rover products.
Jaguar isn't the only automaker that might bring back the inline-six: Mercedes is said to be readying a similar modular engine family with three, four and six-cylinder variants built using common architecture. This is exciting because straight-sixes are far superior to their more common V6 counterparts.
We'll have to wait for an official announcement from Jaguar before we start celebrating, but if the straight-six materializes, we'll definitely throw a party.