2012 International Engine of the Year Awards (pictures)
At this year's International Engine Awards, Ford made a strong showing, taking three categories with its 999cc EcoBoost, but other categories remained in the hands of last year's victors.
Ford 999cc three cylinder EcoBoost
Given that it took two other category wins in addition to be named the 2012 International Engine of the Year, it is safe to say Ford swept this year's awards with its 999cc three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Along with the top award, it also took awards for Best New Engine and Best Sub 1-liter Engine.
Ford's 999cc engine debuted in the European version of the Focus, where it achieves 56.5 mpg in European test cycles. The EcoBoost name means it uses a turbocharger, direct injection, and variable valve timing, all efficiency technologies that let it crank out 123 horsepower. With its power output, Ford's little engine should be adequate for the U.S. version of the Fiesta, although Ford has not yet announced any plans for a U.S. rollout.
GM's series hybrid electric power train took Best Green Engine in the International Engine Awards. This power train, which appears in both the Opel Ampera and Chevy Volt, relies primarily on a 111-kilowatt electric motor to drive the front wheels. That motor gets electricity from a 16-kilowatt-hour battery pack. An onboard 1.4-liter gasoline engine works as an electrical generator when the power is depleted.
The 1.4-liter four-cylinder range extender earned its award partly because of its CO2 output of under 40 grams per kilometer. Given the Ampera's electric range of 35 miles, CO2 output could be kept to zero for drivers who take short trips and keep the batteries charged. The also earned praise for the seamless operation of the power train when going from battery power to the generator.
In a repeat of last year, Ferrari's V-8 took two categories in the International Engine awards. It won for Best Performance Engine and best in the Above 4-liter category. This 4.5-liter V-8 uses direct injection and very high compression to produce 560 horsepower.
Volkswagen 1.4-liter four-cylinder TSI Twincharger
Just as last year, Volkswagen's engine won the 1-liter to 1.4-liter engine category. The power plant uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger to eliminate lag and force induction, pushing its power output up to 185 horsepower.
Volkswagen uses its 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger in the Jetta, the Golf, and the Tiguan, but not in U.S. models. In these cars, it generates 185 horsepower, while getting over 45 mpg in European test cycles.
BMW took the 1.4-liter to 1.8-liter engine category with its turbocharged and direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. BMW technologies such as Valvetronic, which use valve lift control for throttle control, helped the engine achieve its victory.
A new offering from BMW, this 2-liter four-cylinder took the award for best 1.8-liter to 2-liter engine. It uses BMW technologies such as Valvetronic valve timing, direct injection, and a twin scroll turbocharger to produce 240 horsepower.
BMW used this engine in its 328i model, which used to use a 3-liter six-cylinder engine. The loss of a liter of displacement results in significantly improved fuel economy for the 328i, coming in at 30 mpg in our testing. At the same time, its 240 horsepower is more than adequate to drive the car.
Once again, the 2-liter to 2.5-liter engine category goes to Audi's 2.5-liter turbo. With direct injection and a turbocharger, this five-cylinder engine produces 315 horsepower, yet has achieved over 30 mpg in European fuel economy testing.
The star and returning champ for the 2.5-liter to 3-liter engine category is BMW's direct-injection turbocharged 3-liter. A straight six-cylinder engine, it uses BMW technologies such as Valvetronic, direct injection, and a twin scroll turbocharger to achieve power and efficiency.
BMW uses its BMW 3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder in a variety of vehicles, including the 135i, the 335i, the 535i, and the X3. It produces 306 horsepower in the X3, while getting fuel economy in the low 20s.
Once again, the 3-liter to 4-liter engine category winner is BMW's 4-liter V-8. One of BMW's M series of engines, this power plant produces 420 horsepower. Judges noted its responsiveness and BMW's technology.
The 4-liter V-8 sees use in the BMW M3, where it produces 425 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Tuned for performance, its fuel economy is relatively dismal, coming in at well under 20 mpg in combined city and highway driving.