Big capacity, naturally aspirated engines are something of a dying breed in the current market. Luckily, however, there are a number of manufacturers out there who excel at creating engines that not only capture the spirit of days gone by, but also tick every compliancy box asked of them.
With entries from a wide range of OEMs too, the competition in this category was exceptionally tough, with a number of units that could have justifiably taken the crown.
However, Ferrari, it would appear, do large capacity engines better than anyone – particularly in regard to its ‘halo’ 6.3-litre naturally aspirated Tipo 140 creation: a 65° V12 producing a minimum of 780ps in the F12tdf; and when combined with a hybrid system as in the LaFerrari, a figure in excess of 960ps. The engine has been a long-standing favourite with judges in this category, consistently placing within the top three, and even claiming top honours three years ago.
The naturally aspirated unit was highly praised by all judges on a number of its strengths, from the linearity of the throttle response, to the glorious noise produced by the variable-geometry intake trumpets.As juror Frank Markus enthused, “One can hear the very soul of Aurelio Lampredi singing when this engine nears redline,” with fellow juror John Carey adding, “For aural drama and awesome power, Ferrari’s 6.3-litre V12 is in a class of its own.”
Trailing in Ferrari’s wake was the equally soulful 5.2-litre V10 from Audi, as fitted to its R8 range, while Mercedes-AMG’s highly flexible 5.5-litre V8 turbo came a distant third.
But as juror Jason Cammisa surmised, it was the breadth and depth of the Tipo 140’s capabilities that saw it go largely unchallenged: “It would be easy to choose this engine based just on its output, even though there are more powerful engines out there. Yet none of them have the response, sound or soul of this Ferrari 12-cylinder.”