TOP Straight sixes

1BMW M3/4

317kW Now sporting two turbos instead of the characteristic naturally aspirated howl of the previous M3 six (the E46), there’s no denying the high-revving thrust from BMW’s performance hero.

2BMW X50 M50d

280kW The sole diesel offering in our shortlist, and a stump-puller thanks to three turbos and 740Nm. You will have relish that torque, though, because it doesn’t rev like classic BMW sixes.


270kW Since its inception in the BA of 2002, the XR6 Turbo has been a ripper. Grunt has edged up 30kW and 88Nm since that original, with better gearboxes, for what is a fantastic alternative to a V8.


258kW It may have the turning circle of a Manly ferry, but the soon-to-be-killed 3.0-litre in-line six, mounted transversely, gives the hot S60 personality – and low-rev grunt.


195kW The 4.0-litre Ford six is a brilliant example of getting it right. Surprisingly frugal yet grunty, the Falcon version even comes as a more powerful dedicated LPG.