International Engine of the Year Awards Wrap-Up
A usual roster of mostly obvious winners set the tone for 2011.
The 2011 International Engine of the Year awards are over, and for the most part, they brought few surprises.
With a judges panel of 76 journalists from all around the world, the results are usually well-rounded and unbiased, although there are always bound to be some hurt feelings and disagreements. The awards are divided into several categories, depending on engine displacement or purpose. Considering that this is an international event, many of the engines are unfamiliar to us here on U.S. soil, but definitely good enough to merit a mention. We recently announced the overall winner for the 2011 International Engine of the Year awards -- Fiat’s little 875cc TwinAir -- so now it’s time to have a look at some of the other winners and entrants.
While the winner for Best New Engine was the same Fiat mill that won overall, it won this category by a landslide. The second-place entrant, Nissan’s electric powertrain for the Leaf, scored only about half the votes as the Fiat engine. Unsurprisingly, this same engine swept the Green Engine awards, although the runner-up for this one, the 1.8-liter hybrid that Toyota uses in the Prius, fared better than the Nissan. Finally, the Fiat also won the sub-1.0-liter category, beating out several other contestants that we’ve never seen here -- and likely never will, thanks largely to the classic American “bigger is better” mentality.
Moving up to the 1.0- to 1.4-liter category, we finally break out of Fiat’s spell, with Volkswagen’s supercool Twincharger engine. For the fifth year running, this unit has wooed the judges with its dual turbocharger/supercharger arrangement, not to mention direct injection. This little techno-marvel unit features everything but the kitchen sink, and is capable of 185 horsepower and a meaty band of torque, with maximum boost occurring at just 1500 rpm. Oh, and it gets more than 45 mpg. Suffice it to say we’re well on board with this choice.
Stepping up one more notch into the 1.4- to 1.8-liter segment, we’ll see an engine we essentially already know and love: BMW’s latest version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that has seen ample duty under the hood of various MINI models. This basic powerplant has scored top points for four years now, and the latest BMW iteration -- with its modified, Valvetronic-based valve management -- was enough to win for 2011 as well. BMW also won the 1.8- to 2.0-liter category with its 2.0-liter twin-turbo 4-cylinder diesel, beating the fantastic Audi TFSI engine by just six points. With an impressive 204 horsepower and a pair of differently sized turbos -- used sequentially, not simultaneously, of course -- this engine had the goods to take top honors in its class.
One of the most hotly contested categories is the 2.0- to 2.5-liter segment, which gave its crown to Audi this year. The high-performance 2.5-liter 5-cylinder (used in the TT RS and RS3) and its tundra-flat torque curve won the hearts of judges, earning it a solid 400 points and handily beating runners-up from Mercedes, Subaru and BMW. Going up one more size to the 2.5- to 3.0-liter category provided no surprises, however, with BMW’s popular N54 -- the direct-injection turbo 3.0-liter used in many BMW vehicles, including the new 1-Series M Coupe -- winning yet again.
The fourth winning engine to come from BMW is the 4.0-liter V8 from the M3, which nailed the 3.0- to 4.0-liter category. The 420 horsepower unit was praised for its versatility in being able to provide both screaming track prowess and around-town cruising ability. With 364 points, its score nearly doubled that of the runner-up, the potent 3.8-liter flat-six found in the Porsche GT3. Last but not least is the above-4.0-liter segment, which resulted in the year’s only other multicategory winner, the ferocious 4.5-liter V8 in the Ferrari 458 Italia. This powerplant also scored top honors in the Best Performance Engine category, thanks to its stellar 562 horsepower -- at a stratospheric 9,000 rpm, no less -- proving exactly what’s so special about Ferrari’s engines.
That sums up the results of the 2011 International Engine of the Year awards. No significant surprises or upsets, and nearly every decision was well-made. Although many of these engines aren’t available on our shores, those of us who have had the opportunity to sample them would be hard-pressed to argue with these results. That 2.0-liter BMW diesel, in particular, stands out as one that needs to be made available here, stat.
[Source: 2011 Engine of the Year]
I would say American designs are improving though. The Duratec 37 from Ford, the High Feature V6 from GM, and the Pentastar V6 from Chrysler are at least good engines if not great. They are an improvement from previous years.
If you read below you'll see how ignorant alot are, just look at the responders name, Satanlovesewe, IQ of 6. Who says America has not made a new good engine in decades. Apparently not reading about the Ecoboost or Duratec, or 5.0 stang.
The Ecoboost actually out shines most of the engines listed from Europe above but, no mention.
Ecoboost has more torque then a diesel its size, better gas millage, and durability.
How about the new 5.0 stang outstanding...
It does seem to be the year of the Europeans for this.
Take note that the results could be biased based on wealth status (notice how all of the winning performance engines are European and the hermetically sealed lab built Nissan GTR V6 which all cost big $$$$). The 305V8 is awesomely reliable, more so than a good lot of foreign engines but nobody recognizes it like I do.
Sad, but American manufacturers haven't made a really outstanding motor in over forty years. As a matter a fact they advertise the fact that they haven't made anything worth mentioning in over forty years (ex: the Hemi)
Silly foreigner, the 350MPI in the Corvette and Camaro of the 80s and early 90s were BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes beaters that can handle abuse that would sideline a more complex counterpart. The 302 has a legacy of it's own. Not to mention the 427, 454 and 426+ Hemi are mythical unicorns that can be worked on (or bought) to the point of eating Ferrari horse meat for breakfast, Lambo BS for lunch, and Nissan GTRs as a noodle appetizer for supper.
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