Best Automobile Engines In The World

It’s been 10 years since a V engine, or indeed anything with more than six cylinders, has won the outright International Engine of the Year Award.

And the major feature of engine design during that decade has been downsizing – using turbocharging, supercharging, on-demand electric oil and coolants pumps, and all manner of sophisticated electronics to do more with less.

Outright winners of the award, chosen by a panel of 62 motoring journalists from 31 countries (including South African Nicol Louw of Car Magazine) have included BMW’s three-litre turbosix, the 1.5-litre triple from the BMW i8 supercar, the 1.4-litre Volkswagen TSI four, Fiat’s 875cc TwinAir and, for three consecutive years, Ford’s ‘mighty mouse’ one-litre Ecoboost triple.

And the winner is…

So it’s even more of an achievement that the 2016 International Engine of the Year is Ferrari’s 3902cc twin-turbo V8. It’s the third-biggest outright winner in the 18 years of the awards, only the second V8 – after BMW’s 4.4-litre Valvetronic – and, at 492kW, by far the most powerful.

It also took the 3-4 litre class, best new engine and best performance engine, while Maranello’s naturally-aspirated 6.3-litre F12tdf V12 was adjudged best engine over four litres.

The engine that powers the 488 and (with slightly different displacement) the California T won praise for its IHI turbochargers, which have specially designed compressor wheels and sealing between the wheel and the housing, almost eliminating turbo lag, and its ion-sensing system, which measures ionising currents to control ignition timing and adaptively predict misfires, with a multispark function for optimum spark advance at all revs.

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Here are the 12 categories and their winners:

International Engine of the Year:

Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8

Find it in: Ferrari 488 GTB

Performance Engine:

Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8

New engine:

Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8

Above 4-litre:

Ferrari 6.3-litre V12

Find it in: Ferrari F12tdf

3-litre to 4-litre:

Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8

2.5-litre to 3-litre:

Porsche 3-litre six-cylinder turbo

Find it in: Porsche 911 Carrera

2-litre to 2.5-litre: Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder TSI

Find it in: Audi RS3, RSQ3, TT RS (new)

1.8-litre to 2-litre: Mercedes-AMG 2-litre turbo

Find it in: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, CLA45 AMG, GLA45 AMG

1.4-litre to 1.8-litre: BMW 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid

Find it in: BMW i8

1-litre to 1.4-litre: Peugeot Citroen 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo

Find it in: Peugeot 208, 308, 2008, 3008, Citroen C4 Cactus, DS3

Sub 1-litre: Ford Ecoboost 998cc three-cylinder turbo

Find it in: Ford Fiesta, B-Max, Focus, EcoSport, Transit / Tourneo Connect

Green Engine: Tesla full-electric powertrain

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