The Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder has been crowned 2012 International Engine of the Year, as petrol motors dominated the annual awards.
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The three-cylinder is one of the smallest engines in the world, with its block covering the size of an A4 piece of paper, and the win is Ford’s first in the 13 years of the well-recognised awards.

It’s the second consecutive year a tiny-capacity engine has won Engine of the Year after the 875cc two-cylinder from the Fiat 500 took top honours in 2011. A Toyota 1.0-litre – from the Yaris – also won in 1999.

It was a comprehensive victory for the smallest of Ford’s EcoBoost engines that combine turbocharging, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing to maintain the performance of bigger engines yet with vastly better fuel efficiency.

The global panel of judges comprising 76 motoring journalists from 35 countries awarded 401 points in total to the Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost (main image being kissed by Ford boss Alan Mulally), well ahead of the second-placed Volkswagen 1.4-litre ‘Twincharger’ with 288 points and Ferrari 4.5-litre V8 (224 points) from the 458 Italia and 458 Spider.

Ford currently uses the engine in its Focus small car overseas, though it will spread to other models such as the Fiesta city car to become one of the dominant engines in the Blue Oval world.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which was also awarded Best New Engine, will makes its Australian debut in the Ford EcoSport baby SUV (pictured above) in 2013, and will eventually be available in the Focus and Fiesta locally.

Holden also has something to sing about after the 1.4-litre range extender found in the upcoming Volt – already available in other markets as a Chevrolet – was voted Best Green Engine for its role in removing the ‘range anxiety’ traditionally associated with electric cars.

There were a number of repeat winners in the various capacity-focused categories.

The Ferrari 458’s 4.5-litre V8 took out Best Performance Engine and Above 4.0-litre categories for the second year in a row, while there were victories again also for the BMW M3’s 4.0-litre V8 (3.0L to 4.0L), the BMW 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder (2.5L to 3.0L), Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo (2.0L to 2.5L), the BMW-Peugeot-Citroen joint venture 1.6-litre turbo (1.4L to 1.8L) and the VW 1.4-litre turbocharged/supercharged four-cylinder (1.0L to 1.4L).

BMW’s new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, which has replaced the company’s famous normally aspirated six-cylinder, won the 1.8L to 2.0L category.

It capped a bad year for diesel engines and hybrids, which didn’t achieve a single category win as the judges voted overwhelmingly for petrol engines.

2012 International Engine of the Year Awards

Overall winner
Ford 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost
(Ford Focus)

Best Green Engine
GM 1.4-litre range extender
(Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera)

Best Performance Engine
Ferrari 4.5-litre V8
(Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari 458 Spider)

Above 4.0-litre
Ferrari 4.5-litre V8
(Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari 458 Spider)

3.0-litre to 4.0-litre
BMW 4.0-litre V8
(BMW M3)

2.5-litre to 3.0-litre
BMW 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder petrol
(BMW 1-Series M Coupe, BMW 335is, BMW Z4 35is)

2.0-litre to 2.5-litre
Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo
(Audi TT RS, Audi RS3)

1.8-litre to 2.0-litre
BMW 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder
(Multiple models)

1.4-litre to 1.8-litre
BMW-PSA 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder
(Multiple models for BMW, Mini, Peugeot and Citroen)

1.0-litre to 1.4-litre
Volkswagen 1.4-litre turbocharged/supercharged four-cylinder
(Multiple models for VW, Skoda, Seat)