Ferrari is a truly dominant force in the Performance Engine category. Since the Italian OEM first picked up the title for its 4.5-litre V8 in 2011, it has repeated the feat eight times, with four titles going to the 4.5-litre V8, one to the 6.3-litre V12, and three to the 3.9-litre V8 twin-turbo that has conquered all in recent years.
And this year Ferrari’s 3.9-litre V8 topped the rankings yet again, clinching the award with an incredible 170 points more than Maranello’s naturally aspirated V12. The Italian auto maker’s consistently impressive performance in this category is a real testament to the brand’s engineering capabilities. It is no mean feat to earn top spot – and second place, too – ahead of the stunning 4-litre heart behind Porsche’s 911 GT3.
While another Performance Engine award for Ferrari’s 3.9-litre was not unexpected considering the 317 point margin in 2018, remarkably this is the V8’s fourth title in four years. This leaves just one question: how long can this streak continue? Can Ferrari make it five in five in 2020?
Equipped with two IHI-sourced twin-scroll turbochargers, the V8 is a story of continuous improvement. First introduced to the 488 GTB, the unit has been tweaked and notably improved for the 488 Pista. Taking the very best in lightweighting techniques from the track-focused 488 Challenge, Ferrari was able to shave 18kg off the 3.9-litre powerplant that featured in the GTB before applying it to the Pista. The result is, in combination with an ability to generate 720PS at 8,000rpm and 770Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, a 2.85-second 0-100km/h. Officially the most powerful eight-cylinder that the Italian brand has ever developed, the V8 is a masterpiece in squeezing as much performance out of an engine as is physically possible.
And with the new F8 Tributo set to house this V8 later in 2019, chances are the team at Maranello is looking to turn the engine up a notch yet again.
“This [Ferrari] engine is everything a performance engine should be,” explained juror Dave Humphreys. “Advanced and powerful, it contributes to a thrilling driving experience.”