Every year there’s one category group within the International Engine of the Year Awards that’s too close to call, and for this year it was the 1.8-litre to 2.0-litre displacement class.
This category was home to a host of four-cylinder goodness, from the world’s most powerful four-pot, Mercedes-AMG’s M133 pocket rocket, which has taken this title since 2014, through to the likes of Audi’s highly flexible 2.0 TFSI heart, Volvo’s innovative ‘Twin Engine’ that features electrification, supercharger and turbocharger technologies, and BMW’s smooth twin-turbo runner. And all of the above led this group at one stage or another as the votes came in.
But, thanks mainly to a strong middle showing and solid finish, it was Porsche’s 2.0 four-cylinder turbo – loved and hated in equal measures by Boxster/Cayman fans – that eventually won, beating AMG’s three-time champ by a mere six points.
Other big name powertrains also taking points in this downsized realm included Jaguar’s Ingenium family, Honda’s screaming 2-litre turbo unit and Mercedes-Benz’s all-new diesel heart. But they could only muster 12th, 11th, 8th and 7th final place positions, such was the strength of the competition here.
Outlining why the flat-four 718 unit won, the USA’s William Visnic, said, “Brilliant throttle response at any engine speed coupled with near-flawless NVH; if it must be four cylinders, Porsche demonstrates how best to do it.”
The 1,998cc base delivers 300ps at 6,500rpm and 380Nm from 1,950rpm through to 4,500rpm, meaning that despite being turbocharged, the short-stroked engine matches the maximum revolution speed of its normally aspirated predecessor. Compression ratio is 9.5:1, while bore and stroke are set at 91mm and 76.4mm.
Such smooth power delivery combined with an overall fuel economy promise of 6.9 l/100km (34.1mpg) and 158g/km CO2 drew in the points and was enough to get Porsche’s ‘baby’ engine over the line, ahead of its fierce rivals.