To run a piston engine smoothly, it needs to be balanced. This is why most engines have an even number of cylinders, to balance the effects of its other half. Looking at a traditional engine with this layout will make perfect sense to you. Then when you look at the Volkswagen’s V5 engine, it absolutely blows your mind.
It was developed in the 1990s. Volkswagen’s five-cylinder vee engine is an offshoot of the narrow-angle VR6. There is only a 15-degree angle between the cylinders which brings them close enough that they can share a single head. There are three cylinders on one side and two on the other side. The VR5 needed a lot of complex engineering performed on it to keep it balanced.
Jason Fenske, from YouTube channel Engineering Explained, reveals how this narrow-angle engine is working. He points out that Honda had a lot of success with V5-powered racing motorcycles but Volkswagen is the only company that used the engine in automobiles. However, the engine never made it to the US market and in Europe, it was replaced by the turbo four-cylinder engine. Watch this video to learn how a five-cylinder engine works.