Thursday Five: The five most powerful engines
While last week we celebrated the humble 4-cylinder engine, this week we are all about power! That’s right, this Thursday Five brings you the five most powerful production engines by type ever to be fitted to road-legal cars.
Petrol and diesel, naturally aspirated and forced induction, and as a wildcard we will also throw in an electric motor for good measure.
1. Most powerful naturally aspirated petrol engine - 588kW Ferrari F140FE V12
The petrol part of the hideous, yet compellingly powerful LaFerrari hybrid is a derivation of the venerable F140 V12 used in flagship Ferrari supercars since the Enzo in 2002.
This 6.3-litre version packs the same mighty 588kW as the FXX track-only version of the Enzo, but also has the assistance of the 120kW KERS system for added insanity. Just for reference, the hottest V8 available in the Holden Commodore VB when it was first launched in 1978 was 114kW. Overkill anyone?
The brilliantly (and no doubt appropriately) named FXX-K track-only version will pack an astonishing 633kW, with a further 140kW from the KERS system, meaning that whatever replaces the LaFerrari could well reverse the earth’s rotation under heavy acceleration...
2. Most powerful forced-induction petrol engine - 820kW Koenigsegg V8
But before you start getting too impressed by the Ferrari V12’s power, stop for a moment and consider what Swiss mentalists Koenigsegg did to the venerable Ford 5.0-litre modular V8. Admittedly so heavily re-engineered and developed that it is essentially a new engine, the Koenigsegg V8 pumps out an astounding 820kW of power and a terrifying 1,280Nm of torque, making the Ferrari look a little anaemic.
But it doesn’t stop there, because - like the LaFerrari - the Regera that the V8 is stuffed into also adds three electric motors that raise the total output to a simply staggering 1,103kW...
3. Most powerful naturally aspirated diesel engine - 138kW International Harvester IDI V8
While 138kW may not seem like a lot in this company (after all, the LaFerrari’s KERS system adds almost as much to that car’s V12), for a non-turbo diesel it is pretty damn impressive and it all happened due to sheer cubic capacity.
In 1987 IH enlarged the 6.9-litre diesel V8 it supplied to Ford up to 7.3-litres, and Ford was only too happy to jam into many, many F-250 and F-350 pick-ups. IH would add a turbo a few years later, barely increasing power, but ending what will now possibly always be the most powerful naturally aspirated production car diesel engine ever built.
4. Most powerful forced-induction diesel engine - 368kW Audi CR DPF V12
Supposedly derived from the Le Mans-winning engine in the Audi R10 TDI, the road-going twin-turbo diesel V12 that was forced into the Audi Q7 SUV in 2008 actually shared not one single part with the race engine and even had a totally different bore, stroke and cylinder angle!
Still, that doesn’t stop the 368kW monster from being utterly astonishing. Also packing a healthy 1,000Nm of torque, the diesel V12 was a magnificent display of unnecessary power and excess. Needless to say it isn’t around today, but the memory of the huge Q7 rocketing to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds will last forever...
5.Most powerful electric motor - 811kW Rimac Concept One
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat - as the Rimac is powered by FOUR electric motors - but it also serves as proof that we are going to need to change our way of thinking about performance as these sorts of propulsion methods become more commonplace.
The Rimac Concept One is a two-seat electric supercar that will accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in a startling 2.8 seconds. With a liquid-cooled permanent magnet electric motor in each wheel, the Rimac is also capable of switching between 4WD, FWD and RWD whenever it feels the need. Although, with 811kW and 1,600Nm on tap, we can’t imagine anything but 4WD being utterly necessary...