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BMW takes top engine gong

Power play: BMW's i8 petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain topped three categories, including overall best engine, best 1.4-1.8-litre engine and best new engine at the 2015 International Engine of the Year Awards.

Ford's 1.0L EcoBoost knocked off by BMW's i8 sportscar in Engine of the Year Awards

18 Jun 2015

BMW has taken out the top prize at this year's International Engine of the Year awards for its innovative three-cylinder petrol-electric plug-in hybrid unit that powers its i8 sportscar, ending the three-year reign of Ford's tiny 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

The German car-maker's 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain edged out Ford's three-pot by just seven points for the title of overall Engine of the Year, with PSA Peugeot Citroen's 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit claiming third place, 52 points behind the winner.

Powering the wild i8 sportscar, the powerplant features a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing 170kW and driving the rear wheels, and a 96kW electric motor that takes energy from a lithium-ion battery, sending power to the front axle.

The i8 can be charged from a conventional power socket, and in electric-only mode offers a range of 37km and a top speed of 120km/h. When combined with the petrol engine, the i8 becomes all-wheel drive and can complete the 0-100km/h dash in 4.4 seconds, while sipping 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on the European test cycle, and emitting 49g/km of CO2.

International Engine of the Year Awards co-chairman Dean Slavnich praised the BMW powertrain for combining exciting performance with environmentally friendly motoring.

“This is a fitting victory for what is a remarkable powertrain,” he said. “The i8 is a supercar of the future that’s available today. Progressive, emotive and environmentally responsible, here is a creation that proves the transport of tomorrow can be very, very exciting.” The i8 was also awarded the New Engine of the Year award, well ahead of second-placed Mercedes with the AMG 4.0-litre bi-turbo engine from the forthcoming AMG-GT, as well as taking out the 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre category award over Audi's 1.8-litre TFSI.

However, the i8's plug-in powertrain was not the only BMW engine recognised at the awards, with the 317kW/550Nm 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged petrol engine found under the bonnet of the M3 and M4 performance twins. BMW has taken out this category 10 times in the past 11 years and 14 times overall, according to the awards website.

Ford's 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol unit – found under the bonnet of the Fiesta Sport in Australia but matched with the Focus and Mondeo in other markets – topped the sub-1.0 litre category for the fourth consecutive year.

The tiny triple outgunned GM's 1.0-Litre three-pot from the Opel Adam and Corsa, as well as BMW's 647cc two-cylinder petrol-electric plug-in hybrid from the i3 city car.

Ford said in a release that one in five Blue Oval vehicles sold in Europe last year were powered by the three-cylinder engine, and added that it is currently working on cylinder deactivation technology to further enhance fuel economy.

PSA Peugeot Citroen's 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol from the 208 and 308 won 1.0-litre to 1.4-litre category, ahead of Volkswagen's 1.4-litre Twincharger and its 1.4-litre TSI petrol-electric hybrid from the Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron that is set to launch in Australia in July.

In the 1.8-litre to 2.0-litre award, Mercedes' 2.0-litre turbocharged unit from its compact performance car stable – A45, GLA45 and CLA45 AMG – took top honours, with 2.0-litre units from Audi and BMW in second and third place respectively.

Audi had better luck in the 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre category, grabbing the award for its 2.5-litre TFSI that powers the RS Q3 performance crossover and the forthcoming RS3 hot hatch for the sixth year running. It beat out Mazda's 2.2-litre diesel unit from the Mazda3 and Mazda6, and Ford's 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol unit from its Mustang pony car.

British supercar maker McLaren came out on top in the 3.0-litre to 4.0-litre category for its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 that is available in various states of tune in the 675LT, 650S, 625C and 12C. It edged out Benz's 4.0-litre bi-turbo and Porsche's 3.8-litre flat six.

Ferrari's 4.5-litre V8 that powers the 458 Italia and Speciale won the Above 4.0-litre category over its other engine, the 6.3-litre V12 from the manic F12 Berlinetta, while the iconic Italian brand also nabbed Performance Engine of the Year for the 458's naturally aspirated V8.

Finally, American start-up Tesla was the clear winner in the Green Engine category for the full electric powertrain in the Model S, holding off BMW's i8 engine and the full EV in the i3 BEV.

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