In North America’s only award program honouring engine excellence, the list of 10 symbolises the automotive industry’s swift movement towards smaller engines and greater technological advancements.
Among the winners were two hybrid systems, two diesels, six four-cylinder units, and just one V8.
The winners were selected from a group of 34 vehicles from 10 manufacturers, with six editors awarding points based on power, torque, refinement, technical relevance and comparative data.
Each engine was evaluated because it was all-new, offered significant technology upgrades or was a returning winner from last year.
Five new powertrains joined this year’s list:
- 2.0-litre TFSI Turbocharged DOHC inline 4 (tested in Audi A4)
- 3.0-litre TFSI Supercharged DOHC V6 (Audi S4)
- 3.0-litre DOHC inline 6 Turbodiesel (BMW 335d)
- 2.5-litre DOHC inline 4 Hybrid (Ford Fusion Hybrid)
- 3.5-litre EcoBoost Turbocharged DOHC V6 (Ford Taurus SHO)
- 2.4-litre Ecotec DOHC inline4 (Chevrolet Equinox)
- 4.6-litre Tau DOHC V8 (Hyundai Genesis)
- 2.5-litre Turbocharged DOHC boxer 4 (Subaru Legacy 2.5GT)
- 1.8-litre DOHC inline 4 Hybrid (Toyota Prius)
- 2.0-litre SOHC inline 4 Turbodiesel (Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI)
Ward’s AutoWorld Editor-in-Chief, Drew Winter, said the winners list was among the most impressive and relevant he had seen.
“This year’s list epitomises how the industry is responding to demands for higher fuel economy and lower emissions without short-changing performance.“Auto makers are using innovative designs and advanced technology to boost horsepower and torque while downsizing engines and increasing efficiency,” he said.
New to the 2010 list is Audi 3.0-litre supercharged TFSI V6, the S4 a previous winner on three occasions in V8 form.
The new V6 packs 248kW while achieving 9.8 litres/100km during testing.
Ford’s EcoBoost V6 – the sibling of the four-cylinder unit that will power the Falcon from 2011 – similarly achieved V8-style performance (272kW) at 11.7 litres/100km.
The only V8 on the list was Hyundai’s 4.6-litre unit in the Genesis, the first time just one V8 has been honoured.
The Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition has been held annually for 16 years, and four V8s made the list in both 1997 and 1999.
In a sign of the times, Subaru’s boxer and the new Toyota Prius powertrain rounded out the new winners.
“Not since the dawn of the automobile has there been such a diverse array of compelling and affordable powertrains for mainstream vehicles,” Winter said.“In coming years, we will be testing extended-range electric vehicles, pure electric vehicles, diesel-electric hybrids and numerous other types of powertrains.“So much so that we likely will have to soon change the name of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines to Ward’s 10 Best Powertrains.”
If you’re wondering where Ferrari and Lamborghini are, to be eligible for the competition each engine must be available in a regular-production US-specification model on sale no later than first quarter 2010, in a vehicle priced no more than US$54,000 (around AUD$60,000).
The awards will be presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 13.