Auto Service World
News   January 27, 2017   by Adam Malik

The best engines of 2017

Wards Auto has announced the winners of its annual Wards 10 Best Engines competition. Trophies were handed out recently at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The competition saw 40 powertrains, including 25 4-cyl. engines, 12 6-cyl. engines, 23 turbos, three diesels and 11 hybrids or plug-ins.

Here’s a rundown of the winners with some comments from Wards Auto.

3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW M240i)

Review highlights:

“BMW saw an opportunity in a new EfficientDynamics modular architecture for inline 3-, 4- and 6-cyl. engines, all of them displacing 500 cc per cylinder and sharing certain dimensions and interchangeable parts, such as pistons and connecting rods. This translates into greater economies of scale and easier serviceability.”

“Other automakers would give up corporate secrets in exchange for just one of BMW’s excellent inline-6 turbos. With several of them, BMW guards the I-6 legacy, as well as its brand heritage.”

  • Displacement: 2,998 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 335 @ 5,500 rpm
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 1,520-4,500 rpm
  • Specific output: 112 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 94.6 mm
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • EPA city/highway: 21/32 mpg

1.5L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor EREV (Chevrolet Volt)

2017 Chevy Volt Voltec Drive Unit and Range Extender

Review highlights:

“The first-generation Volt made it on the 2011 Wards 10 Best Engines list when it debuted, and the second generation makes our list for the second time in a row in 2017. That’s due in part because the new Voltec system isn’t just an improvement over the original, it’s a major leap in performance, battery range and scalability.”

“The Chevy Volt’s innovative engineering and second-generation advances make its impact on the industry at large undeniable and its encore appearance on the Wards 10 Best Engines list richly deserved.”

  • Displacement: 1,490 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Two-motor output: 149 hp
  • Two-motor torque: 294 lb-ft
  • Range: 53 miles electric, 420 miles total
  • EPA city/highway: 42 mpg (gas)/106 mpg-e (electric)

 3.6L DOHC V-6/Dual Motor PHEV (Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid)

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid engine

Review highlights:

“Our judges awarded the Pacifica Hybrid high marks for the vehicle’s seamless drive quality as well as its technological advancement as the first mass-market electrified minivan in North America.”

“Unique to the Pacifica Hybrid, and critical to its smooth and efficient operation, is the eFlite transmission developed in-house by FCA engineers. The transmission incorporates the dual electric motors, a planetary gearset and a one-way clutch to gain the most efficiency and power from the engine and both electric motors.”

  • Horsepower: 220 @ 5,050 rpm
  • Torque: 235 lb-ft @ 3,700 rpm
  • Bore x stroke: 96 x 83 mm
  • Compression ratio: 12.5:1
  • Motor A output: 63 kW
  • Motor b output: 85 kW
  • EPA-rated EV range: 33 miles
  • EPA-rated fuel economy: 84 mpg-e

2.3L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Ford Focus RS)

Review Highlights:

“If there was a slam-dunk engine in this year’s competition, it was this one.”

“That combination put the Focus RS right at the top of the most-fun-to-drive list among the cars tested in the 2017 Wards 10 Best Engines competition.”

“Mash the throttle and the Focus RS sings out in a baritone octave that would make a V-8 Mustang proud and not cause a Baby Boomer to blush.”

  • Displacement: 2,261 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 350 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
  • Specific output: 155 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 87.5 x 94 mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.37:1
  • EPA city/highway: 19/25 mpg

 2.0L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor HEV (Honda Accord Hybrid)

Review Highlights:

“The Accord Hybrid impresses us with excellent throttle response, seamless transitions between gasoline and electric operation and a continuously variable transmission that – we’ve said it before and will say it again – is unrivaled in its ability to turn the wheels in a familiar, linear fashion without fuss and obtrusive noise levels.”

“If Honda engineers suffer from an inferiority complex because rival Toyota gets all the hybrid love, the new Accord Hybrid gives them reason to stand taller today.”

  • Displacement: 1,193 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 143 @ 6,200 rpm
  • Torque: 232 lb-ft @ 0-2,000 rpm
  • Propulsion motor output: 181 hp
  • Bore x stroke: 81 x 96.7 mm
  • Compression ratio: 13.0:1
  • EPA city/highway: 19/25 mpg


1.4L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Hyundai Elantra Eco)

Review Highlights:

“This 1.4L direct-injected turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. from Hyundai’s new Kappa engine family is an absolute pleasure to drive.”

“Hyundai’s new Kappa engine was poised, unobtrusive and exhibiting the maturity of a fully grown maple tree.”

“Also meeting our demand for new technologies, the Hyundai engine’s cylinder head has an integrated exhaust manifold, while an electric wastegate actuator improves low-end torque and part-load fuel economy.”

  • Displacement: 1,353 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 128 @ 5,500 rpm
  • Torque: 156 lb-ft @ 1,400-3,700 rpm
  • Specific output: 95 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 71.6 x 84 mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.0:1
  • EPA city/highway: 32/40 mpg

3.0L Turbocharged DOHC V-6 (Infiniti Q50)

Infiniti Q50’s 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo 400 hp engine

Review Highlights:

“By strapping a turbocharger to each cylinder bank of an engine nearly half the size of the Hemi – and incorporating lots of compelling technologies – Infiniti has displaced displacement while compromising nothing.

“Who needs a V-8 when this brilliant example of downsizing, combined with diligent efforts to reduce friction and vehicle weight, can allow a midsize sedan with six cylinders of motivation to move so swiftly, smoothly and effortlessly?”

  • Displacement: 2,997 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 400 @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
  • Specific output: 133 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 86 mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.3:1
  • EPA city/highway: 19/26 mpg


2.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mazda CX-9)

The Mazda CX-9’s 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl engine.

Review Highlights:

The “ingenious Dynamic Pressure Turbo system … uses a butterfly valve in the 2.5L engine’s exhaust stream that creates more pressure by funneling exhaust gases through a smaller orifice when the engine is spinning at low rpms; just like holding a thumb over the end of a hose creates a hard spray.”

“The Skyactiv 2.5L I-4 stands out for the superb performance and efficiency it delivers in the real world of mainstream vehicles and for the extreme ingenuity of Mazda’s powertrain engineers.

“Many automakers are great at combustion engineering but Mazda is turning it into an art form.”

  • Displacement: 2,488 cc
  • Block/head material: aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 250 @ 5,000 rpm
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
  • Specific output: 100 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 100 mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.5:1
  • EPA city/highway: 21/27 mpg

2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mercedes-Benz C300)

Mercedes-Benz C300 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl.

Review Highlights:

“The 248-hp BMW 330i led the pack in mileage, topping 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km) for several editors.”

“Staff consensus has this engine punching well above its designated weight.”

  • Displacement: 1,991 cc
  • Block/head material: Die cast aluminum/aluminum alloy
  • Horsepower: 241 @ 5,500 rpm
  • Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,000 rpm
  • Specific output: 121 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 92 mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.8:1
  • EPA city/highway: 23/30 mpg

2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Volvo V60 Polestar)

The Volvo V60 Polestar 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-cyl.

Review Highlights:

It “delivers the highest specific output this competition has ever seen: 184 hp per liter.”

“Anyone questioning whether Chinese ownership would be good for the Volvo brand has been duly silenced.”

“On the road, the 2.0L is reasonably sedate until poked, at which point it howls in response.”

  • Displacement: 1,969 cc
  • Block/head material: Aluminum/aluminum
  • Horsepower: 362 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 347 lb-ft @ 3,100-5,100 rpm
  • Specific output: 184 hp/L
  • Bore x stroke: 82 x 93.2 mm
  • Compression ratio: 8.6:1
  • EPA city/highway: 20/27 mpg

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *