Ferrari's ‘engineering masterclass’ voted the world's best engine
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Ferrari’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 has been hailed an ‘engineering maserclass’ and a modern ‘work of art’ as the world’s most revered supercar maker won its third successive International Engine of the Year Award (IEOTY).
The powertrain fitted to 488 GTB, 488 Spider and track-focused, race car-enhanced 488 Pista was a clear outright winner, awarded over double the points (489) of Porsche’s 3-litre flat-six turbo (198 points), Tesla’s full-electric powertrain (149 points) and Volkswagen’s 999cc three-cylinder turbo (139 points) for the top award in the annual competition.
The V8’s power, performance, emotion and advanced technology ‘blew the competition away’ according to panel of 68 international motoring journalists, winning the top award for the third consecutive year - the second time in the competition’s 19-year history the same engine has won three years running after Ford’s 999cc three-cylinder turbo (remember the ad about an engine block that could fit on an A4 sheet of paper?) won from 2012-14.
The 2018 competition also saw the V8 set a record for most points ever awarded to one engine, as Ferrari’s 3.9-litre unit won the 3-litre to 4-litre and Performance Engine class awards.
Ferrari also won the Above 4-litre and Best New Engine categories with the 6.5-litre naturally-aspirated V12 found in the 812 Supafast, which finished in third in overall voting (158 points).
“Without doubt, we’re looking at an engineering masterclass from Ferrari,” said Dean Slavnich, co-chairman of the IEOTY Awards.
“The 488 GTB is a near-perfect example of a high-performance turbocharged engine, setting the bar so high that it swept aside rival powertrains. But redeveloped and tweaked for the 488 Pista, the best engine in the world just got better.”
The 488 Pista's output of 530kW and 770Nm garnered special praise for its power increase over the 488 GTB. Thanks to new engine components from the 488 Challenge race car, the V8 now achieves the best specific power output in its class at 136kW per litre and represents the biggest performance leap from Ferrari in a special series car.
“No turbo lag, beautiful delivery, raw emotion, a furious growl and so much power – this Ferrari V8 is a work of art,” said Slavnich.
International Engine of the Year Award Winners
Winner: Volkswagen 99cc three-cylinder turbo
Locally you’ll find this small-banger in the Volkswagen Polo, Audi A1 and Skoda Fabia, but globally this engine can be found in 18 Volkswagen Group models. Its due to this flexibility and the units’ real-world fuel-efficiency and refinement that it’s a class-winner.
1.4-litre to 1.8-litre
Winner: BMW 1.5-litre three-cylinder electric-gasoline hybrid
There’s nothing that can combine performance and efficiency like BMW’s i8 sportscar powerunit, and the launch of new coupe and roadster this year only reinforced its dominance. It can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds and achieves 1.5l/100km combined fuel economy – an easy win with superior hybrid tech.
1.8-litre to 2.0-litre
Winner: Porsche 2-litre turbo
The ballistic Mercedes-AMG 2-litre turbo seen in the A45 has been the engine to beat in recent times, and with 280kW of peak power it’s easy to see why. Yet a deeply controversial 220kW four-cylinder Porsche (the first four banger they’ve made since the 1960s) from the 718 Boxter and Cayman takes the cake in 2018.
Judge Carl Cunanan said: “Purists may still be calling foul, but the ability to bring predictable power delivery in a lightweight package gives this engine a sum greater than the total of its parts.”
2.0-litre to 2.5-litre
Winner: Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo
Audi’s motorsport-inspired five-cylinder has won this class every year since 2010, and 2018 would be no different. The 300kW engine fitted in the Audi RS3 and TT RS has been praised throughout the decade for its performance, soundtrack and charisma.
2.5-litre to 3.0-litre
Winner: Porsche 3-litre six-cylinder turbo
It may have missed out on top honours, but Porsche’s turbo six dominated its class with over half of the votes going to the engine found in various 911 and Carrera models. It’s 12 per cent more efficient than the engine it replaces and capable of producing at least 270kW or 450Nm to 500Nm of torque depending on variant.
Winner: Tesla full-electric powertrain
You’re free to say and think whatever you want about Tesla, but remember one (very important) thing is undeniable; No other car company on earth can do what they do, not yet at least.
Unmatched torque, performance and range from the powertrain in the Model S sedan and Model X SUV ensure Tesla is still in a class of one when it comes to full-electric motors. For now. It’s a ‘history—making package’ wrote one juror.