It's no great journalistic discovery that big engines simply won't be going into small cars again. Or, really, any-sized cars at all, what with the mounting, inexorable pressure of environmental concerns. That the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS saw a return of a naturally aspirated engine - larger than the turbocharged one that it replaced - was a surprise; a welcome reprieve from an electrified onslaught. Until you remember that an electric 718 is looking very likely when the next version comes...
Anyway, the point is that we all enjoy the assorted charms of large engines, whichever bonnet they find themselves beneath - as proven by our recent Six of the Best story. So, no need to mope just yet about the demise of the big engine; instead it's the perfect time to get out and enjoy what's already available.
Something like this VW CC 3.6 GT, for instance. Obviously, it's no great undiscovered enthusiasts' hero - it is, let's be honest, a slinky Passat - but is blessed with a 3,597cc VR6 up front. Now more than ever, that makes it really quite interesting.
Clearly, cars like this are never going to be cheap to run, with average CC mpg hovering around 25 and the annual road tax bill set at £555. But with costs like that putting the average consumer off - in addition to the fact it was never the world's most desirable fast car - it means that the CC is cheap: this one is for sale at less than £6,500.
And although its V6 may not get the plaudits of an Alfa Busso or similar, the engine in the CC was lifted wholesale from the Passat R36, and the 3.6 was a descendent of the 3.2 used so memorably in two generations of uber Golf. Regardless of any overall qualms, the engine came in for almost universal praise thanks to its sound, response and power. This is the best-value way into that famed VW VR6, too; not only because Passat R36s are so hard to come by, but because R32s cling onto their value so doggedly. Spend this money on one of the hatches and you're looking at a 2007 car with another 50,000 miles on it.
So those after all the joys of a big V6 - the torque, the noise and the immediacy - will find all that here. That it comes housed in a comfortable, stylish, capable VW almost seems by-the-by nowadays as the desire to conserve the interesting engines continues. Indeed, if you really wanted to impose the endangered species analogy on this situation (we'd advise that you didn't), then the CC V6 GT would easily have its own sombre television advert by now: just six are left registered on our roads.
And now, for just six thousand pounds, you can help support the life of this... alright, we'll stop it now - the point has been hammered home. Once upon a time cars like the CC V6, fairly interesting curios on the fringes of mainstream appeal, were nothing more than that: rare old buses never much considered. Now they represent an era that isn't coming back, when fairly humdrum family cars could have a 300hp V6 stuffed in the front. Which, regardless of four-wheeled preference, is quite the feat. As the tech, infrastructure and mood make electric (or merely electrified) transport ever more viable, now's the time to get your fix of six - but in the most discreet way possible.
SPECIFICATION - VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 3.6 V6 FSI GT
Engine: 3,597cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed DSG, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,400-5,300rpm
First registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 67,000
Price new: £31,050
Yours for: £6,475