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Ford 3-cylinder wins engine of the year award for third time

These are some of the best engines on sale today -- and while we weren't asked to vote, we have to agree with most of the choices.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jun 27, 2014 10:59AM
For the third year in a row, Ford's teensy 3-cylinder has taken top honors as the International Engine of the Year.

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost inline-3 is turbocharged and puts out 123 horsepower and up to an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 43 mpg in the U.S.-spec Fiesta with the manual transmission. The awards, now in their 16th year, rank the best 12 engines by size as chosen by dozens of international journalists.

Earlier this month, Ford downgraded this engine's fuel economy ratings after lawsuits and pressure from the EPA forced the company to admit errors on its testing procedures that overstated ratings on nine models. While the Fiesta with this engine is no longer the most fuel-efficient gasoline nonhybrid model on sale, it's still one of the best on sale  (that's Ford CEO Alan Mulally above, kissing the engine during its debut in 2012).

Check out the rest of the category winners:

  • Sub 1-liter: Ford 3-cylinder EcoBoost (technically it's 999cc).

  • 1-liter to 1.4-liter: Volkswagen 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger (wins for eighth time; seen on the Polo GTI, a three-quarter size Golf GTI, which pushes 182 horsepower).

  • 1.4-liter to 1.8-liter: BMW-PSA 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder (wins for eighth time; co-developed with Peugeot, this is a great engine used on the MINI Cooper).

  • 1.8-liter to 2.0-liter: Mercedes AMG 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder. This 355-horsepower engine in the CLA45 AMG has the highest power-to-size ratio in the industry -- and at 26 pounds per square inch, the highest turbo boosts. The only problem is its Honda Civic exhaust note.

  • 2.0-liter to 2.5-liter: Audi 2.5-liter turbo 5-cylinder (winner since 2010; this engine literally howls and pulls hard; the only U.S.-spec Audi that has it was the TT RS, and it was available on the limited RS 3 sold overseas).

  • 2.5-liter to 3.0-liter: BMW 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6. Now that BMW has given up all naturally aspirated inline-6 engines, this twin-turbo unit is the last six standing. It's everything that makes a BMW -- tons of torque, smooth and great on the ears. It's versatile, too, from 300 horsepower in the X1 to 335 hp in the Z4 sDrive35is).

  • 3.0-liter to 4.0-liter: McLaren 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 (second year running; brilliant at low-end torque, if not exhaust note, this V8 does the job of a supercar in a smaller package; it's been upgraded in the 650S to 641 horsepower from the MP4's 616 horsepower).

  • More than 4.0-liter: Ferrari 4.5-liter V8. This is, quite simply, the best engine on the planet in the very best car, the 458. It combines race-car sound, high-rpm speed and the most enjoyable vibrations of any sports car. Horsepower ranges from 571 in the Italia and Spider to 597 horsepower in the new Speciale. No turbos or hybrids here, just plain Formula One expertise.

  • Green engine: Tesla three-phase AC induction electric motor, 60-kWh and 85-kWh battery. The motor and battery pack in the Tesla Model S is both so fast and efficient that it's changed how we perceive electric cars. The range is very comparable to a Ferrari 458, and the acceleration in the P85+ model really isn't too far off.

  • New engine: Mercedes AMG 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder (see above).

  • Performance engine: Ferrari 4.5-liter V8 (see above).

[Source: IEY]
Jun 28, 2014 1:55AM
Todays engines are SO damn ugly. Too bad they don't spend a little time and make them look better,rather than just cover them up with a huge plastic cover. Nothing looks as good as a 60's V-8.Clean and simple.Todays engine bays look like a plumbers nightmare....
Jun 27, 2014 11:11AM
Jun 28, 2014 2:43AM
The old Chevy 327 V8, the Ford 302, the Chrysler 225 slant six, 318 V-8 and 426 hemi, the 3.8L GM V6, and the Ford 2.0L I-4 that goes in the current Focus. The foreigners can stick their junk where the sun doesn't shine.
Jun 28, 2014 4:39AM
The best engine ever made.....the Ford 427. Research this engines legacy and see how it grew from a design meant for the Edsel into a world beating race engine that won the 24hr LeMans 4yrs in a row. If Ford hadn't pulled the plug on racing in the late 60s, there's no telling what this engine could have gone on to become.
Jun 28, 2014 3:52AM
My 2012 Fiesta has a faulty so called automatic  transmission that has been in the shop at the dealer 7 times. They keep giving me some service bulletin that talks about the characteristics of this piece of Sh3$ but can't seem to fix the damn thing. So keep giving them awards and I will keep bringing this crap car into the dealer for service. Why don't you write a story about that?
Jun 28, 2014 3:20AM
The "most American" car is now Tesla, at 90% US content.
Jun 28, 2014 3:16AM

no notes on the ones that are diesel engines?


Jun 27, 2014 12:02PM
The real news here is Mercedes got over 177hp per liter on a production engine. That's amazing.
Jun 28, 2014 2:25AM
the wankle engine is used in the rx models of the mazda latest one is rx8.  on a long run gas mileage is excellent and has plenty of power
Jun 28, 2014 2:06AM
Does anybody remember the Wankle Engine that was suppose to be such a big advancement in motors? What happened to that? Why did Mazda change power plant? I'm not a Japanese car fan so I pay little attention to them. It seams what ever one company does for a WOW Factor one year, the other companies around the world will either do the same or up the anti.
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