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Ward's Auto has released its annual list of Ten Best Engines for the new year, and our first assessment is that it's just as interesting for what isn't present as for what is. First of all, let's get the official list out of the way:

Take a good look. Nissan's ubiquitous VQ, which up to this point, was the only engine series that had made Ward's Ten Best ever since the list's inception in 1995, is conspicuously absent. That's a big deal. We also note a couple of turbodiesel engines, one in BMW's favored inline-six configuration and one that powers VW's Jetta TDI. Ford's updated 2.5L hybrid four cylinder is also recognized, rounding out this year's trio of green powerplants. We also note that there's only one American V8 engine, the redesigned HEMI from Chrysler. More snubs? How'd they miss the amazing powerplants that sit under the hoods of the Corvette ZR1 and the Nissan GT-R? Update: Thanks goes to our commentators, who point out that the ZR1 and GT-R are too expensive to make the list.

[Source: Ward's Auto]


Ward's Announces 2009 10 Best Engines Winners

SOUTHFIELD, MI – Amid plummeting vehicle sales, thousands of job losses, an economy officially in recession and pleas for federal assistance, a handful of auto makers have cause to celebrate.

Ward's Automotive Group announces its 2009 10 Best Engines list, which reflects the diversity of powertrains that will play a role in reshaping America's automotive landscape.

Selected by Ward's editors, the 2009 list marks the 15th year for the Ward's 10 Best Engines program, the North American auto industry's only awards honoring powertrain excellence and considered by many to be the "Oscars" for automotive engines.

The winners for 2008 (engine and tested vehicle):

* Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant)
* BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe)
* BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d)
* Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T)
* Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid)
* General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
* Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
* Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis)
* Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)
* Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI)

Awards to be presented during Detroit auto show in January.

"A decade ago, few consumers in the U.S. paid serious attention to hybrids or diesels. This year, they have to, if they don't want to be pinched the next time fuel hits $4 a gallon," says Tom Murphy, executive editor of Ward's AutoWorld magazine."The diesels from VW and BMW and the Ford Escape Hybrid all got better than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) during our testing, and often they topped 40 mpg (5.8 L/100 km)," he says. "And the diesels meet the strictest emissions regulations in the world. If Americans want to find a vehicle that consumes less fuel and is fun to drive, our list is a great place to start."

Among the winners is Ford Motor Co.'s redesigned 2.5L 4-cyl. hybrid-electric powertrain, which motivated President and CEO Alan Mulally's Escape Hybrid cross/utility vehicle to and from Washington D.C. for federal-aid talks, makes the cut.

During Ward's testing, the front-wheel-drive HEV managed to easily surpass the federal fuel-economy rating of 34/31 city/highway mpg (6.9-7.5 L/100 km).

BMW AG's new 3.0L inline 6-cyl. turbodiesel scores a slot on the list in its first year available in the U.S. Joined by the auto maker's twin-turbocharged and direct-injected gasoline I-6 engine, which returns for the third year, the diesel employs a sequential twin-turbocharger system that provides the 335d sedan with impressive fuel economy and a stunning 425 lb.-ft. (576 Nm) of torque.

Volkswagen AG joins the clean-diesel party this year, as well, with its new 2.0L 4-cyl. turbodiesel powering the Jetta TDI sedan. Fun to drive and frugal at the pump, the TDI is an affordable and entertaining alternative to many larger gasoline and hybrid-electric powertrains.

Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. appears for the first time on Ward's 10 Best Engines list with its all-new Tau 4.6L DOHC V-8. Introduced in the new Genesis luxury sedan, the engine's velvety power delivery, competitive performance and attainable price epitomize the Korean auto maker's drive for world-class engineering.
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Chrysler LLC's venerable 5.7L Hemi V-8 returns to the rankings with added refinement, power and variable-valvetrain and induction technology. Its guttural roar and low-end grunt serves double duty this year in the all-new Dodge Challenger R/T and Ram pickup.

Toyota Motor Corp. scores its fourth consecutive 10 Best Engines win with its Lexus 3.5L DOHC V-6, a brilliant design that employs a unique, combination direct- and port-injection fueling system that helps generate 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. (376 Nm) of torque.

General Motors Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. also make return appearances with their high-volume V-6 engines exemplifying practicality balanced with precision engineering.

GM's high-feature 3.6L V-6 with direct-gasoline injection returns for the second time. Tested in the Cadillac CTS, yet flexible enough to proliferate through the auto maker's CUVs, the advanced V-6 makes a hardy 304 hp on regular gasoline.

Honda underscores its longstanding reputation for great engines with the encore performance of its 3.5L SOHC V-6 in the Accord lineup. Merging exceptional performance with reasonable fuel economy, the engine employs advanced cylinder deactivation in the sedan and engaging power delivery in the coupe.

Audi AG's 2.0L TFSI turbocharged 4-cyl., freshly revamped with 211 hp and a mighty 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) of torque for the all-new A4, rounds out the list with a fourth-consecutive 10 Best Engines placing as one of the best all-around turbo-4s on the market.

This year, six Ward's editors nominated 32 different engines for the Ward's 10 Best Engines competition. The nominee list consists of the 2008 winners as well as all-new or significantly improved engines.

Over a nearly 2-month period, the editors evaluated and scored each engine against all others in a number of objective and subjective parameters. Each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2009, in a vehicle priced no more than $54,000, a price cap indexed to the average cost of a new vehicle.

The awards will be given at a Jan. 14 ceremony in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show.

Complete stories about the 10 Best Engines will be featured soon on WardsAuto.com and in upcoming issues of Ward's AutoWorld magazine and Ward's Engine & Vehicle Technology Update newsletter.

Ward's 10 Best Engines is a copyright of Penton Media Inc. Commercial references to the program and/or awards are prohibited without prior permission of Ward's Automotive Group.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just because you have a good engine, doesn't makes the car good.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Thankfully Motor Trend has no engine of the year awards.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No VQ? wtf?
        • 6 Years Ago
        VR is a new engine VQ is still around.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The competition moved up, and the VQ's "pinnacle" (the GT-R) broke out of the criteria.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No VQ? Screw that list!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Interesting to see Hyundai's "Tau" V-8.
        • 6 Years Ago
        the TAU is basically a competitor with the Hemi. I wonder if hyundai will make a 450 HP V8 for a "Genesis AMG"

        Ford screwed up by not having their Ecotech V6 Twin Turbo ready for the launch of the MKS. It shoulda been offered in the Flex too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hemi really?

      no corvette ZR1 LS9 ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why don't these fools ever explain what specific criterion they base their choices on.

      I guess that's a rhetorical question, as they more than likely base them on no real world independantly gathered quantitative data at all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the HEMI should be on there with all the advancements Chrysler put into it. It's a v8, not a little 4 cylinder so of course its not going to get the best gas mileage but it has MDS which i believe Chrysler was the first to have since cadillac decades ago that failed. now only if chrysler put a nice interior into the their cars to match the nice engine...but the ram/challenger both have nice interiors so it's a start.

      The "tau" from hyundai doesn't seem like it is anything special to me? It's just a regular v8? I agree with what someone said earlier about it just being an advancement for Hyundai, not an engine. I must say Hyundai is doing a very good job with their cars, interiors and safety advancements.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "you're comparing an engine to an entire car. stop it."

        Reading comprehension > you
        • 6 Years Ago
        Quote from -
        "but it has MDS which i believe Chrysler was the first to have since cadillac decades ago that failed."

        Sorry, that's incorrect.

        GM has had versions of MDS(called Displacement on Demand or more recently Active Fuel Management) for as long as Chrysler's MDS. Both were released on vehicles starting in the '05 model year. FWIW, Honda also has a similar system(called VCM) that also came out in '05 for the Accord Hybrid and Odyssey van. M-B also offered a similar system on the V12 in the CL600 and S600 models in '01&'02.

        However, Mitsubishi was probably the first large-scale , successful producer of a variable displacement system which they had available from '93-'96 with the MIVEC-MD system.

        Read more here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_displacement
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hyundai's Tau 4.6L V8 has some of the best fuel economy ratings out there, at 17/25, even Lexus GS/LS couldn't put up those numbers.

        In the Genesis, the engine boasts 375hp, and one of the few that allow the use of regular gasoline (hp rating only reduced to 368hp).

        I've had the opportunity to experience a Genesis V8, and the engine is sweet, along with the the rest of the car.

        At SEMA, Hyundai came out with a Tau engine with supercharger and cyclinder deactivation:

        4.6L V8 460hp 18/27 F/E

        Not to forget, this is Hyundai's first in-house V8, at least for the North American market - Kudos!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Chrysler, Ford and General Motors made the list. :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wait, so you want to engage in protectionism because "the free market is dead" on one hand, but suggest that trade barriers around the world be broken down so that we can promote free trade on the other?

        WTF are you even talking about?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lots of merit in what Flashpoint refers to. Though many trade agreements have been signed by Japan and South Korea, the markets are all but closed to not only the US, but the EU as well. South Korea only allowed 4,000 US cars in last year, while the number of cars in Japan saw just a few more. These two governments will protect their industry at all costs.
        Ronald reagan, like him or not, figured this one out. That's part of the reason the Japanese auto makers started to build here in the first place.
        And just my opinion, if the domestics fail, Japan and South Korea will have no reason to stay here and will beat feet to the nearest cheapest place to set up shop.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "Wait, so you want to engage in protectionism because "the free market is dead" on one hand, but suggest that trade barriers around the world be broken down so that we can promote free trade on the other?"

        Either/or. Either these countries remove the barriers to even the playing field or we should erect our own barriers, to even the playing field.
        • 6 Years Ago
        first of all, the tariff for foreign cars in Korea is 8% as opposed to 2.5%. then when FTA is activated, Korea's tariff is completely eliminated while US will have 3 years for cars over 3.0liter. also for trucks, currently while Korea is 8%, US has 25%. US definitely protects its truck market with high tariff. when FTA is activated, Korea's tariff is again completely eliminated while US will have 10 years for its truck market. So, US actually will benefit more from FTA.

        also, both Korea and Japan produce cars in US and employ thousands of people in this country. and the number of imported cars from Korea include cars produced by GM Daewoo, Korean arm of GM.

        the size of market is incomparable as well. US's new car sales number was 14.8 million in 2007. Korea's market is about 10% of that, or little over 1 million vehicles sales per year.

        the market is also completely different. In Korea, foreign cars are positioned as cars for upper middle class and riches. they cost more and not for everyone (due to size of the market, dealer network/distribution channel...etc) However, the foreign car market has been enjoying a very healthy growth since year 2000. they now represent close to 10% of the whole car market.

        The best sellers are European luxury brands (BMW, M-Benz, Audi, VW) and Japanese luxury and popular brands (Lexus, Honda, Infiniti) It is because of their reputation, brand perception, and THE PRODUCT itself! they satisfy very particular taste of Korean consumers.

        US Big 3 cars are just not well received by Korean consumers (even though, there was a time when the Mercury Sable was the BEST selling foreign car in Korean market) As in everywhere, unless you have a good product, no body will buy it. period.

        also, david, what do you mean by S.Korea only 'allowed' 4000 us cars? that is definitely not true and deceiving. there is no quota on imports.

        all in all, it is all about the delivering products world consumers want with clever marketing to let them know and building your brand image/reputation, and having a great distribution system no matter where you are in the world.
        • 6 Years Ago
        david has a POOR understanding of the Korean auto market.

        For instance, Honda, alone, sold over 8K vehicles in SKorea during just the 1st 7 months of 2007 (don't know where david is getting the 4K or so "limit").
        • 6 Years Ago
        thank you for clearing it up futurama,
        im sure the cuban and korean market wont save the big 3 theyre to good at screwing up, cuba has no money thanks to the US blocking their economy and it has nothing to do with nuclear proliferation so i dont know what flashpoint's talking about, stop watching CNN and FOX,
        • 6 Years Ago
        Flash, but GM has been declining for YEARS. This whole bankruptcy thing started popping up in 2004-2005.

        Do you remember why Wagoner took over the position of head of North American market (prior to that he was a CEO of GM as a whole, still is but he is also a CEO of N.A.)???? Because the company was losing billions of dollars every month.

        The credit crunch has simply made it easier for GM to die.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is why no GT-R or ZR1:

      "Each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2009, in a vehicle priced no more than $54,000, a price cap indexed to the average cost of a new vehicle."

      Read your own posts, AB!
        • 6 Years Ago
        yep. I assume they feel that "Best" includes being able to build more than a couple hundred a year ;)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes but the Nissan VQ is also used in other models which are cheaper than $54K

        I think it deserves a spot like has done for the past 12 years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If there was no price cap, I'm sure the Porsche 911TT flat-6 as well as a Ferrari engine would be on the list, maybe even the Bentley Speed's W12.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ** like it has for the past 12 years**

        Sorry about that. Autoblog, when are you going to let us edit comments?
      • 6 Years Ago
      2 questions
      1. It's 2008, how on Earth can an OHV engine made to a car let alone to a best-engines list...?
      2. Is the VW's diesel a PD or CR? (pumpe-dusse or common-rail?) The PD are one of the worst diesel engines available and the CR by VW is not really on par with French diesels, and really pathetic compared to the latest Mazda's 2.2 diesel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        For the same displacement, pushrod engines are smaller, cheaper, and in the case of GM's small blocks make more power and get better fuel economy.

        A better question is, why aren't there more pushrod engines on there?

        Unless you are in a country or racing series that taxes on displacement directly, displacement is far less important than total engine size (dip volume), weight and cost. And pushrod wins on all of these. Unless your OHC engine is exceptional (like the S2000 motor), pushrod often wins on power too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      umm except the hemis not heavier less efficient and more polluting
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good to see the american car companies getting some credit.
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