Predicting the winner of the 550PS to 650PS category was always going to be a tough task. With an abundance of powerful and sporty engines competing against each other, it’s a big performance-orientated class. Boasting scintillating, heart-thumping IC creations from the likes of McLaren, Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Audi, Lambo and Porsche, it’s arguably one of the most fascinating groupings to feature in the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards. It’s also home to Honda’s NSX monster, which won the New Engine Award in 2017.
But the outcome was a hands-down victory for Maranello, with the 3.9-litre V8 totting up 74 points more than Porsche’s second-placed 3.8-litre boxer turbo. It comes as something of a surprise – even a shock – when you consider that it’s not the Prancing Horse’s twin-turbo V8 (the 488 Pista engine) that accounts for the bulk of the trophies, but rather the ‘softer’ somewhat ‘detuned’ Portofino/GTC4 Lusso T variant.
When developing the eight-cylinder for the Portofino application, Ferrari engineers used the 488 V8 as a base, and incorporated new mechanical components as well as specific engine management software. All aspects of the unit’s efficiency were honed, new pistons and conrods adopted, and a new intake system design created.
The result is a power output of 600PS at 7,500rpm. In the real world, such power means that the Portofino sprints from a standstill to 200km/h (125mph) in just 10.8 seconds.
In addition, inclusion of Ferrari’s Variable Boost Management tech means that the unit’s torque delivery is automatically adjusted to suit the gear selected, giving the Portofino higher levels of acceleration, in all gears, than the outgoing model.
Jury member Sergio Oliveira de Melo, a motoring journalist on El Informador, was one of the many judges who put Maranello’s eight-cylinder turbo on top. “Some people take pills for depression. Others are fortunate enough to drive a car with this magnificent machine. It’s a joy-producer, an ode to satisfaction,”