Countless midnight bench-racing sessions have failed to determine what the best engine is. The small-block Chevy? The Ferrari V-12? The Porsche Turbo? Now an international jury of motoring journalists has come up with the answer—at least for 2011––naming Fiat’s 875cc twin-cylinder TwinAir engine the International Engine of the Year.
The 76 automotive writers were impressed by the turbocharged TwinAir’s low emissions, high fuel economy, and 85-horsepower output. The engine, which powers the Fiat 500, also took home Best New Engine honors, as well as Best Sub-1-Liter Engine and Best Green Engine.
Just to show the international motoring press isn’t comprised of Birkenstock-wearing Greenpeace life members, Ferraris’ new 570-horsepower 4.5-liter V-8 bagged Best Performance Engine and Best Above-4-Liter titles. BMW walked off with an armload of trophies, too, while Volkswagen’s 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger engine, which won the overall International Engine of the Year title in both 2009 and 2010, defended its crown in the 1-1.4-Liter category.
Speaking about the TwinAir engine, Dean Slavnich, editor of Engine Technology International and co-chairman of the International Engine of the Year Awards, said, “Its triumph is a clear signal that less is more––people want low-emission, fuel-efficient yet powerful engines, and just two cylinders certainly seems to provide a comprehensive solution.”
In response, motorcycle manufacturers all over the world said, “Well, duh.”