W engine

What Is A W Engine & What Are Its Benefits?

 | 3 minutes read

What Is A W Engine?

The W engine is a regular internal combustion four-stroke engine, with the W relates to the pistons' configuration. Just like the inline and V engines, it is another type of engine used in vehicles. This engine may have three- or four-cylinder banks. These banks use the same crankshaft, resembling the letter W when viewed from the front. When viewed from the front, the 'W' engine looks like a big, fat V engine. You write the letter "W" as two 'V's joined together at the top. However, the W motorhas two Vs joined at the bottom as well. So, although the letter and the engine are slightly different, but still have a similar concept.


At the core, the W engine is nothing but two narrow-angle V types with a common crankshaft. In a regular V engine, the angle between the ‘V’ is around 60 to 90 degrees. However, the V in the 'W' engine is about 15 degrees. So, you can't see the separation between each block of the narrow-angle V. Some popular 'W' type engines are enormous. However, this engine is typically shorter and wider compared to a 'V' type.

W Engine diagram
W Engine diagram

The narrow-angle allows each’ V’ to form one block with each engine head. In addition, there may be one set of camshafts for each V. And, you can imagine how the W engine closely resembles a V type. Besides, the cylinders are also not directly opposite to each other.  However, they're in a visible zig-zag pattern.

Watch how a W Engine is assembled here:

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This engine comes in various configurations – from W3 to W30. The 3-cylinder W3 engine was designed for motorcycle use, while the W30 was used in tanks. However, autootive vehicles commonly use the W6 to W24 engine configurations.  

The purpose of the W engine is to further compact a large V type motor to save space. For example, the 6-liter, 12-cylinder engine of the Audi A8 and the 8-liter 16- cylinder engine of the Bugatti Veyron are two massive engines. However, they occupy less space by using the W arrangement. E.g., Audi A8’s 6-liter W-12 is smaller than a 6-liter V-12 motor found in other cars. As a result, the W-12 could be slightly wider than the standard V-12 motors. However, it is narrower and fits comfortably in the engine bay.

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