With its shortlist of heavy-hitting, high-octane powerplants that inspire the purest, most innate emotional driving responses, the Performance Engine category is arguably the most alluring of all the International Engine of the Year (IEOTY) Awards categories.
And with no fewer than 50 engines battling it out for the trophy this year, the judging panel was spoiled with an assortment of heart-thumping riches. That Tesla’s full-electric powertrain – an IEOTY multi-award-winning engine that rushes from 0-100km/h in a mind-boggling 2.5 seconds – only finished sixth says everything about the calibre of competition in 2017.
It also speaks volumes about the credentials of the winning power unit, which, for the third-year running, is Ferrari’s 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 marvel. The victory also represents the seventh time a Ferrari powertrain has won this particular category.
Known internally as F154CBh, the Maranello eight-cylinder that powers the 488 GBT and Spider employs a mid-rear-engined architecture that unleashes a whopping 670ps at 8,000rpm and 760Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, with engine and response times of just 0.8 and 0.06 seconds respectively. Furthermore, its ability to sprint to 100km/h in just three seconds and a near total absence of lag through the rev range – something regarded as a miracle by many in the industry – is aided by two IHI-sourced twin-scroll turbos that help to ensure instant and linear power delivery.
“There are still some very impressive naturally aspirated engines out there, but Ferrari has proved that turbos are the way to go,” said Dutch motoring journalist Natan Tazelaar. “The Italian OEM is wiping the floor with the competition. The 488 is so powerful you need to adapt your senses the first time you drive it flat-out.”
Meanwhile, Motorshow’s Padraic Deane described the V8 as “probably the best example of a turbocharged powertrain ever” and praised its throttle response as “something really special”.