A V16 engine is perfectly balanced regardless of the V angle without requiring counter-rotating balancing shafts which are necessary to balance Straight-4 and odd number of cylinder inline engines or counterweighted crankshaft like the 90° V8. In addition angles of 45° and 135° vees give an impulse every 45°, so are optimal solutions, for even-firing and non-split bearing crankshaft journals.
V16s engines are rarely used in automobiles because V8s or V12s make just as much power but are much less expensive to manufacture and maintain. The few V16s that have been produced were used in high-end luxury and high-performance automobiles due to their smoothness (low vibration).
Today, the most common applications for V16 engines are railroad locomotives, marine craft, and stationary power generators.
Howard Marmon had begun working on the world's first automotive V16 engine in 1927, but was unable to complete the production Sixteen model until 1931. By that time, Cadillac had already introduced their V16, designed by ex-Marmon engineer Owen Nacker. Peerless, too, was developing a V16 with help from another ex-Marmon engineer, James Bohannon.
The Series 452 was the most exclusive model of the marque from January 1930 until 1940, with this type of engine. Two varieties were built. From 1930-1937, Cadillac used a 452 CID (7.4 L), OHV motor with a 45° V. For 1938, a new 431 CID (7.1 L) design was introduced for the Series 90, with a flathead valvetrain and an angle of 135°; this resulted in a much lower cowl height. The 431 was in many ways a superior engine, producing as much power as its immediate predecessor while being far less complex, had a stiffer crankshaft which aided durability and smoothness, and even had an external oil filter, a rarity for any car at any price in those days. However, it was never as popular or highly regarded as its 452 CID predecessor.
By contrast, the Marmon Sixteen was a 45° engine made almost entirely of aluminum. Like modern engines, it used pressed steel cylinder liners. Just 400 Marmon Sixteens were produced between 1931 and 1933.
In 1988, a joint business venture between Claudio Zampolli and musician Giorgio Moroder produced the Cizeta-Moroder V16T which featured a 16-cylinder engine in a unique configuration, but which was not a true V16. Rather, the engine was made up of two flat plane V8s, mounted transversely, with gearing between the two providing a single output from the center of the engine assembly to the longitudinal transmission. It began production in 1991 but only a few cars were produced before the company closed its doors for good.
Alfa Romeo made two cars with V16 engine the Tipo 162 (135° V16) and Tipo 316 (60° V16). The first one was prototype and the 316 was used on 1938 Tripoli Grand Prix. The 135° engine was engineered by Wifredo Ricart and gave 490 bhp (370 kW) at 7800 rpm, specific output was said to be 164 bhp (122 kW) per litre.
It has only been used once in the post-WWII era, by BRM. Most unusually, this was a 135° V 1.5 L supercharged powerplant. This engine was a failure despite being powerful—officially, it produced 550 hp (410 kW) but likely delivered around 600 hp (450 kW).
With such a small displacement the BRM V16 delivered this power in a narrow, very lofty, RPM range. This made the car difficult to handle, but the sound made by the small 16 cylinders has been described as 'unforgettable.' This problem was exacerbated because of the supercharging system adopted, for expediency BRM chose it to be designed by Rolls-Royce, drawing on their aircraft engines war experience, which used a two-speed centrifugal supercharger. Centrifugal superchargers are much more efficient than the more conspicuous Roots type, but, since centrifugal superchargers only deliver high pressure in a very narrow RPM band, even the Rolls-Royce designed two-speed gearbox used to move the supercharger was not enough to usefully broaden the power band.
Another major problem with the BRM V.16 was its dual ignition system — making it likely that the engine would be running on 4 or 8 or 12 cylinders for parts of the same lap. Another issue was the way in which the engine was installed, canted across the car in the horizontal plane alongside the driver; more than one driver finished or retired from race or testing with burns. At least one of the BRM cars survives and many of its problems would be solved by fitting modern solid-state ignition components.
| Piston engine configurations|
|Type|| Bourke • Controlled combustion • Deltic •Orbital • Piston • Pistonless (Wankel) •|
Radial • Rotary • Single • Split cycle • Stelzer • Tschudi
|Inline types||H · U · Square four · VR · Opposed · X|
|Stroke cycles||Two-stroke cycle • Four-stroke cycle • Six-stroke cycle|
|Straight||Single · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 8 · 10 · 12 · 14|
|Flat||2 · 4 · 6 · 8 · 10 · 12 · 16|
|V||4 · 5 · 6 · 8 · 10 · 12 · 16 · 20 · 24|
|W||8 · 12 · 16 · 18|
|Valves|| Cylinder head porting • Corliss • Slide • Manifold • Multi • Piston • Poppet •|
Sleeve • Rotary valve • Variable valve timing • Camless
|Mechanisms|| Cam • Connecting rod • Crank • Crank substitute • Crankshaft •|
Scotch Yoke • Swashplate • Rhombic drive
|Linkages||Evans • Peaucellier–Lipkin • Sector straight-line • Watt's (parallel)|
|Other||Hemi • Recuperator • Turbo-compounding|
<ref>tags exist, but no
<references/>tag was found