As the entire industry’s focus shifts toward sustainability, it is unsurprising to see the trends of downsizing, turbocharging and increased efficiency work their way into performance engines.
And these engines, often found in some of the most desirable road cars, make this category one of the most alluring and, on paper, this should have been a very close contest. However, 2016 saw one engine decimate the competition.
Ferrari’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 is the perfect example of how technologies used by more mainstream models to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions can also be used to deliver a scintillating driving experience.
The ‘downsized’ 3.9-litre engine is boosted by two IHI-sourced twin-scroll turbochargers, which help the engine deliver 670ps at 8,000rpm and 760Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. To reduce lag, Ferrari has paid special attention to the turbochargers’ compressor wheels, and the sealing between the wheel and the turbine housing, ensuring their power delivery is instant and linear.
The all-new V8 also has an ion-sensing system, which measures ionising currents to control ignition timing and adaptively predict misfires, as well as a multispark function that enables the spark advance to be maximised at all revs.
But the signature to any Ferrari engine is its aural appeal, something that Maranello has again paid specific attention to retaining. For example, at the engine’s heart is the iconic flat-plane crankshaft, while equal length exhaust headers and a restriction in torque delivery in the first six gears ensure that the unit delivers the brand’s iconic howl as the revs rise.
“The new blown Ferrari maybe quieter, but the fact that they have engineered insane acceleration while minimising turbo lag to the point of almost imperceptibility shows us that their vision of the future is as passionate as ever,” concluded Calibre’s Carl Cunanan.