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by Tim Beissmann

Four-cylinder petrol engines have dominated the 2013 Ward’s 10 Best engines awards, while almost a dozen energy-efficient hybrid and electric propulsion systems were considered for a prize but ultimately overlooked.

This year’s winner list is the first since 2006 not to feature either a hybrid, a pure-electric or a diesel powerplant, with petrol power taking all 10 gongs.

Editor-in-chief of US publication Ward’s Auto, Drew Winter, said alternative energy systems needed to continue to take significant strides forward like their internal combustion counterparts if they were to fight their way back into the top 10.

“When hybrids and EVs have been on the list previously, it was because they were revolutionary and compelling,” Winter said.

“If next-generation EVs and hybrids raise the bar beyond the current Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, then we’ll be happy to recognise them.”

The 10 awards were shared among seven manufacturers, with BMW, Ford and Honda each taking out two prizes.

Six of the winners featured forced induction technology (four turbocharged, two supercharged), while just one brawny American V8 – which happens to be the most powerful production V8 in the world, the supercharged 494kW 5.8-litre unit in the Ford Shelby GT500 – was given the nod.

Five engines retained their titles from 2012 – Audi’s 3.0-litre TFSI V6, BMW’s 2.0-litre N20 inline-four and 3.0-litre N55 inline-six, Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost inline-four, and Ram’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 – while the 2.0-litre turbo four in the Cadillac ATS is an enhanced version of the engine that got the nod in the Buick Regal GS last year.

The BMW N55 is a three-time winner while the Audi 3.0 TFSI V6 (above) made the list for the fourth consecutive year.

 

2013 Ward’s 10 Best engines:

  • 3.0-litre TFSI supercharged V6 – Audi S5
  • 2.0-litre N20 turbocharged inline-four – BMW 328i
  • 3.0-litre N55 turbocharged inline-six – BMW 135is coupe
  • 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 – Ram 1500
  • 2.0-litre EcoBoost inline-four – Ford Focus ST/Taurus
  • 5.8-litre supercharged V8 – Ford Shelby GT500
  • 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four – Cadillac ATS
  • 2.4-litre inline-four – Honda Accord Sport
  • 3.5-litre V6 – Honda Accord
  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer – Subaru BRZ

 

Now in its 19th year, the Ward’s 10 Best competition compared the newest engines on the US market with last year’s winners, in all pitting 40 powertrains against each other to select 10 standouts.

To be eligible, the engines must be available in production vehicles on sale in the US by the first quarter of 2013 with a base price of less than $55,000.




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