In 1999, Technology International magazine (UK) announced the establishment of the world award for the best engine produced worldwide. The analysis was based on reviews provided by more than 60 well-known auto journalists from around the world. This is how the International Engine of the Year award was born.
The 20th anniversary of the foundation of the competition is an excellent occasion to sum up the most spectacular motors for the entire existence of the award (1999-2019). In the gallery below, you can see which modifications made it to the top 10.
It should be remembered that these awards are usually given to new engines based on the impressions of journalists, and not on the experience of motorists. For this reason, the list contains not all units that are distinguished by their reliability and durability.
10. Fiat TwinAir
The tenth place in the ranking is actually divided among three units. One of these is the Fiat 0,875-liter TwinAir, which won four awards at the 2011 ceremony, including Best Engine. Jury Chairman Dean Slavnic called it “one of the best engines in history”.
The Fiat unit is characterized by a variable valve timing system using hydraulic drives. Its basic naturally aspirated version is found in the Fiat Panda and 500, giving them 60 horsepower.
There are also two turbocharged variants with 80 and 105 horsepower. They are used in models such as the Fiat 500L, Alfa Romeo MiTo и spear Ypsilon. This engine also received the prestigious German Raoul Pitch Award.
10. BMW N62 4.4 Valvetronic
This naturally aspirated V8 was the first production engine with a variable intake manifold and the first BMW 2002 with Valvetronic. In XNUMX, it received three annual IEY awards, including "Grand Engine of the Year".
Its various variants have been found in the more powerful 5-Series, 7-Series, X5, the entire Alpina line, as well as sports manufacturers such as Morgan and Wiesmann. The power of the units ranges from 272 to 530 horsepower.
Its advanced technology has brought it international acclaim, but due to its highly sophisticated design, it is not one of the most reliable motors around. We recommend that buyers of used vehicles be careful with this unit.
10. Honda IMA 1.0
The abbreviation for Integrated Motor Assist is the Japanese company's first mass-produced hybrid technology, originally proposed by the popular overseas Insight model. It is essentially a parallel hybrid, but with a completely different concept compared to, say, Toyota Prius.
In the IMA, an electric motor is installed between the combustion engine and the transmission to function as a starter, balancing device and auxiliary unit as required.
Over the years, this system has been used with engines up to 1,3 liters. It was installed in a variety of Honda models - from the unpopular Insight, Freed Hybrid, CR-Z and Acura ILX Hybrid in Europe to hybrid versions of the Jazz, Civic and Accord.
9. Toyota KR 1.0
In fact, this family of three-cylinder aluminum block units was not developed by Toyota, but by its subsidiary. Daihatsu.
Debuting in 2004, these engines used DOHC chain-driven cylinder heads, multi-point injection and 4 valves per cylinder. One of their strengths was their unusually low weight - only 69 kilograms.
Over the years, various variants of these engines have been created with a capacity of 65 to 98 horsepower. They are installed in the first and second generations of Toyota Aygo / Citroen C1 / Peugeot 107, Toyota Yaris and iQ, Daihatsu Cuore and Sirion, and Subaru Justy.
8. Mazda 13B-MSP Renesis
The Japanese company’s tenacity to impose the engines on Wankel, which it licensed at the time from NSU, was rewarded with this masterpiece, codenamed 13B-MSP. In it, long-term attempts to fix the two major weaknesses of this type of engine - high consumption and excessive emissions - seemed to pay off.
The original change to the exhaust manifold significantly increased the actual compression and with it the power. Overall, efficiency has been increased by 49% over previous generations.
Mazda put this engine in its RX-8 and won three awards with it in 2003, including the most prestigious engine of the year. Its low weight (112 kg in the basic version) and high performance - up to 235 horsepower in just 1,3 liters became a big trump card. However, it remains too difficult to maintain and with easily wearing parts.
7. BMW N54 3.0
If there are some endurance remarks about BMW's 4,4-liter V8, it's hard to hear a bad word about the N54 inline-six.
This three-liter unit debuted in 2006 in more powerful versions of the third series (E90) and won the International Engine of the Year award for five consecutive years. A similar achievement has been achieved on the American counterpart Ward's Auto for three consecutive years.
With direct injection and dual variable camshaft control (VANOS), this is the first production turbocharged BMW engine. For ten years, it has been integrated into everything: E90, E60, E82, E71, E89, E92, F01, as well as, with minor changes, in the Alpina line.
6. BMW B38 1.5
BMW is the most awarded brand in the first two decades (International Engine of the Year), and this rather unexpected entrant has made serious competition: a three-cylinder turbo engine with a volume of 1,5 liters, a compression ratio of 11: 1, direct injection, double VANOS and the world's first aluminum turbocharger produced Continental.
It is also designed for front wheel drive vehicles such as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and MINI Hatch and also for rear wheel drive models.
But its biggest claim to fame comes from its first use: in the i8 sports hybrid, where, in a package with electric motors, it provided the same acceleration it once had. Lamborghini Gallant.
5. Toyota 1NZ-FXE 1.5
This is a special version of the NZ series internal combustion engine with an aluminum block. It was developed specifically for hybrid cars, primarily for the popular Prius. The engine has a fairly high physical compression ratio of 13,0: 1, but closure of the intake valve is delayed, resulting in actual compression to 9,5: 1 and causing it to operate in something like a simulated Atkinson cycle. This reduces power and torque, but increases efficiency.
It is this variant with 77 hp. (5000 rpm), stood under the hood of the Prius MK1 and MK2 (the third generation is already equipped with 2ZR-FXE), the Yaris hybrid and several other models with a similar internal combustion engine.
4. VW 1.4 TFSI, TSI Twincharger
The EA111 was taken as the basis for this unit. For the first time, they heard about the turbocharged modification of the internal combustion engine at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was used as the main unit for the Golf-5. Initially, the in-line four (1,4 liters) developed 150 hp. and was equipped with a Twincharger system - a compressor kit with a turbocharger. The reduced offset provided significant fuel economy, while power was 14% more than the 2.0 FSI.
Manufactured in Chemnitz, this device has been used in various versions in almost all German-made brands. Later, a version with a reduced power appeared, without a compressor, but only with a turbocharger and an intercooler. It was also 14 kg lighter.
3. BMW S54 3.2
The Bavarian 3,2-liter power unit rightfully earned the third place among the most spectacular internal combustion engines of the last 20 years. This engine is the latest modification of the already efficient S50 (6-cylinder TSI aspirated). The latter unit was developed specifically for one of the most popular sports sedans M3 (E46).
At the factory settings, this unit had the following characteristics: 343 hp. at 7 rpm, maximum torque 900 Newtons and easily develops 365 rpm.
2. Ford 1.0 EcoBoost
After a few serious and noisy tweaks, thousands of reports of overheating and some spontaneous combustion, these 3-cylinder engines have a slightly tarnished reputation.
However, the EcoBoost technology itself was not the cause of these problems (this is a great engineering development). Most of the problems arose in connection with defects in the cooling system and other peripheral systems.
Designed by the European division Ford in Danton (UK), this ICE was introduced in 2012. From the first moment, he enthralled all auto journalists and motorists. On one liter of volume, the unit produced an incredible 125 hp. A little later, a more powerful version appeared, which the Fiesta Red Edition received (the subcompact internal combustion engine developed 140 forces). You will also find it in the Focus and C-Max. Between 2012 and 2014, he was a three-time winner of the annual award.
1. Ferrari F154 3.9
The absolute "champion" for the last four years. The Italian automaker released it as a replacement for the F120A (2,9 L). The novelty received a double turbine, a direct injection system, variable gas distribution, and the camber is 90about.
It is used in various variants in the Ferrari California T, GTC4 Lusso, Portofino, Roma, 488 Pista, F8 Spider and even the high-tech Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
You will also find it in the most upgraded versions. Maserati Quattroporte and Levante. It is directly related to the fantastic V6 used by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.