Difference Between Inline and V Engines (With Table)

From cars to motorcycles containing multiple cylinders, inline and v engines are being used. The most significant factor that determines the efficiency and performance of a vehicle is its engine and its features. The configuration for the engine is chosen based on the desired output and performance of a vehicle. These are the configuration, arrangement, or layout of the cylinders present in the engine.

Inline vs V Engines

The difference between inline and v engines is the alignment of the cylinders present inside the engine, In inline engine efficiency is great, and it is also cheap and affordable. V engines are known for their power capacity and their compact nature. Based on what the engineer wants out of the vehicle, the engines are carefully chosen and used accordingly.

Inline engines are also called straight engines. It is one among the configurations of internal combustion in which the cylinders are placed in the same row and do not have an offset. There are different configurations, the one that may have four, six, or eight cylinders. They are found in automobiles, cars, trucks, and also in aircraft.

A v engine is also a commonly found engine configuration that is found in vehicles. Two cylinder banks are present in the v engine. The alignment of the cylinder resembles the letter v and thus the name. They are shorter in length but have a greater width. With its tall structure, its center of mass is also high.

Comparison Table Between Inline and V Engines

Parameters of ComparisonInline Engines Engines
 Resistance to VibrationsInline engines aren’t resistant and durable towards vibrations.  V engines can perform exceptionally well during vibrations.
Number Of Cylinders It has less number of cylinders comparatively. It has a larger number of cylinders.
DimensionsInline engines have a long structure.  V engines have a width dominant structure.
Alignment Of CylindersThe cylinders are perfectly aligned in a straight row.    The cylinders are aligned at an angle that represents the v shape.
Another nameThey are also called straight engines. They are also called inverted engines.

What are Inline Engines?

Inline engines are best known for their easy construction and assembling nature as it requires a very few cylinder heads. They are compact and smaller in dimensions. It is commonly used in its four-cylinder configuration for good efficiency. It is smaller and not very smooth in performance. A few cars also contain inline engines with three cylinders.

It is a conventional type of engine, and the cylinders are aligned in a single straight row. Due to the easier and less time-consuming factor, it is extremely cheap when it comes to the manufacturing cost. Inline engines have a maximum capacity of up to 30 liters. The engine valves are aligned in the same row where the pistons of the cylinder heads are placed.

Passenger cars and automobiles with A, B, and C segments are built with inline engines. Removable liners are usually used in the cylinders of these types of engines. They are made out of metals and resist water. This allows them to be used in block casting.

Their single-row arrangement provides them with a narrow body. It does not need many camshafts. Their smaller body and lesser frontal area assist in reducing the drag and also improves visibility from the cockpit of an airplane. This was why they were highly preferred by aviation engineers in the early periods.

What are V Engines?

 These v engined or the inverted engines were found in aviation. Though the cylinders are aligned to form a v, the angle between them varies from engine to engine. V 12 engines have a perfect primary and a secondary balance. The two cylinders share the crankpins. The angle between the cylinder usually varies from 60 to 90 degrees.

Due to the style of construction, the height, length, and width reduce. Designing these engines is quite complex, takes more ti,e, and eventually, the manufacturing cost is also expensive. The v engines having two cylinders are called twin v cylinders. Sports vehicles, cruisers, and anything that requires high speed and efficiency is built using the v engines.

Compared with all the other 8 cylinder competitors, they are smaller and compact. It supports better aerodynamics due to the low position in the bonnet. The indigenous design and construction reduces the vibrations and also enhances the primary balance.

Though it is high in speed and performance, it has a smoother operation. Since it occupies less space, it is best suited for race cars and sports vehicles. It has two planes in which the cylinders and pistons are aligned in the v position. Starting from a minimum of two cylinders, they have up to 24 cylinders.

Main Differences Between Inline and V Engines

  1.  The inline engine has all its cylinders put in a single row next to each other, whereas in the v engine, the cylinders are angularly arranged to form a v.
  2. The structure of the inline engines is longer than the v engines, whereas the v engines are wider than the inline engines.
  3. Inline engines have a few cylinders, while the v engines have a larger number of cylinders.
  4. Inline engines are called straight-line engines due to the layout of their cylinders, and the v engines are known as the inverted engines.
  5. Inline engines cannot perform effectively during vibrations, whereas v engines could.


Though both are efficient and extremely good in performance, the low cost of the inline engines is an advantage on this side. Though v engines are costlier and complex, they are totally worth the cost. The disadvantage of v engines is the vibration that occurs in the configurations with more cylinders as they might not be perfectly aligned.

The demerit of inline engines is that they occupy a lot of space and make the hood look bulkier, thereby involving the use of more material that subsequently increases cost. V engines are more efficient And powerful in their performance, life durability, and sturdiness than inline engines.


  1. https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2013-01-2002/
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3136097
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