With the exception of the outright International Engine of the Year title, most people agree that the New Engine accolade is one of the – if not the – most important of awards, as it represents the very best new powertrain development in the past 12 months.
And in this respect the competition for this year to secure this trophy was ultra tough: no fewer than 35 entries were shortlisted, with Volvo’s highly sophisticated 2-litre petrol, armed with supercharger, turbocharger and plug-in hybrid capability, being the firm favourite. Other frontrunners included Honda’s 2-litre VTEC Civic Type R racer, Ford’s powerful 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost in the Focus RS, and a trio of new Porsche IC creations – two for the 718 Boxster in the form of the 2.0 and 2.5, and then the 3.0 for the 911.
But it was none of these highly capable, and much talked about, new developments that won the race to be crowned New Engine of the year. Instead that comfortably went to Ferrari with its wonderful 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 that drives the sublime, all-new 488.
Code-named F154CB, the Maranello eight-cylinder won this category group with ease, finishing some 136 points better off than second-placed Volvo’s 2.0 PHEV powertrain, and a telling 166 points more than close rival Porsche and its straight-six 911 turbo heart.
It was the pure and absolute stunning performance and precision engineering of the V8 – 670ps at 8,000rpm; 760Nm torque at 3,000rpm – that impressed judges the most, in turn allowing the 488 to sprint to 100km/h from standstill in just three seconds.
Dutch freelance journalist Natan Tazelaar was one of many jury members to award the Ferrari engine top points: “With all the new engines and drivetrains coming to market, the biggest news by far is Ferrari rewriting the rulebook about turbocharging with its new 488.”
Meanwhile Jens Meiners, who freelances for Car and Driver, among other titles in the USA, added, “Ferrari isn’t just about marketing and design; it is a technology leader.”