For many years a pair of Ferrari power units have been engaged in
a continuous battle for supremacy in the Above 4-litre category at the International Engine of the Year Awards. In 2013, the Italian OEM’s 6.3-litre V12 edged out its 4.5-litre V8 stablemate to interrupt a run of successive victories for the smaller displacement engine and, although the V8 also triumphed in 2014 and 2015, the larger engine returned to the top spot last year, and records a second successive victory in 2017 – finishing the voting with a 50-point gap over the second-placed power unit, Audi’s 5.2-litre V10, found in the R8 and Lamborghini Huracan. The Prancing Horse, it seems, still does large-capacity engines better than most; if any further proof were needed, Ferrari also claimed victory in the 3-litre to 4-litre category at this year’s awards.
The OEM’s 6,262cc V12 clearly remains extremely popular with the panel of judges, even in a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly facing very stiff competition from downsized, boosted power units. “This engine is the utmost sophisticated representative of a dying breed,” points out Hungary’s Gábor Szécsényi. It’s a sentiment echoed by Automobil Revue’s Tomas Hyan, who describes the Ferrari V12 engine as “smooth as a turbine and powerful as a locomotive”.
Indeed, the impressive margin of victory enjoyed by the Italian auto maker’s 6.3-litre powerplant suggests that, though the days of the naturally aspirated, large-capacity engine may be numbered, power units as well-engineered as the V12 – and sporting such a glorious snarl thanks to variable-geometry intake trumpets – can still strike a chord with the judges. “Large-capacity, many cylindered atmo engines may be on the way to becoming dinosaurs,” admits Australia’s John Carey. “But who wouldn’t vote to preserve Ferrari’s T-Rex of a V12 from extinction?”