5 of the Best Engines in the World and the Cars That Come With Them

Enzo Ferrari once said, “When you buy a Ferrari, you are paying for the engine. The rest you get for free,” alluding that his engines were the real masterpieces, and the bodywork encasing them merely functioned as wrapping paper. Il Commendatore would be incredibly proud (but hardly surprised) the 488 GTB just picked up the award for the International Engine of the Year.

Engine Technology International magazine collected respected automotive journalists from around the world to act as judges. The judges then scored “each shortlisted engine using their subjective driving impressions and technical knowledge, taking into account characteristics such as fuel economy, smoothness, performance, noise and driveability.” We’ve had the pleasure of driving a handful of the winners — read our reviews and see what we thought of some of the best engines in the world.

International Engine of the Year

Ferrari 3.9-Liter biturbo V8 “The 488 didn’t seem to care that I braked later than I should have; I simply pointed the car where I wanted it to go and the stability control sorted out my Ferrari-test-driver-wincing mistake.”

Nothing Can Prepare You For the Banked Turns of Daytona

Some race tracks are easy to learn, get a hold of. Then there are tracks that take every bit of your concentration just to get around in one piece.

Electric Powertrain

Tesla Full-Electric Powertrain “The Model 3 gets an EPA-stated range of 310 miles with the long-range battery trim-model (which starts above $40,000 and increases when you spec Autopilot), a figure that should quickly settle any qualms about range anxiety — though that figure is based on ideal driving conditions. ”

The Greatest Design Success of the Tesla Model 3 Is Also Its Biggest Flaw

The ‘less is more’ approach gets in the car’s own way at times.

1.8-Liter to 2.0-Liter

Porsche 2.0-Litre Turbo “This is the first Porsche with a flat-four engine since the little 912 left the scene 40 years ago — and it cranks out 300 horsepower in two-liter form and 350 in the 2.5-liter Boxster S. That’s a 35 percent bump for both models, yet they’re both also 14 percent more fuel efficient.” 

Review: Two Cylinders Down, the 718 Boxster Comes Out On Top

The genius of this new 718 Boxster lies overwhelmingly in the engines. Chopping a third of the cylinders off the flat-six engine is a pretty big deal.

2-Liter to 2.5-Liter

Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo “The practicality of a four-door sedan can’t be overstated enough, but it’s the engine’s performance that brings the platform to the place it needs to be. The base-level A3 drives as if there’s too much car for the engine and the S3 finds a nicer balance between power and control — but giving the RS3 100 horsepower on top of that adds the extra thrill needed to make the car really entertaining.”

The Audi RS3 Is the Only BMW M2 Competitor In Sight

The blue and white roundel on the M2’s trunk might as well be a target.

2.5-Liter to 3.0-Liter

Porsche 3-litre six-cylinder turbo “The five new 911 GTS variants — bringing Porsche’s total 911 offerings to 25 (!) — walks that fine line more precisely than perhaps any before it. The cars, including rear- and all-wheel-drive models, each with cabriolet options, and a Targa, slot in just below the track stud GT3 RS. This means they’re torqued up as far as they can go, yet still dialed-in and humane enough to be driving pleasures.” 

The Porsche 911 GTS Is a Commute-Friendly Track Car

Porsche has mastered the daily-use performance machine formula.


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