Audi AG's 2.0L TFSI turbocharged 4-cyl. has had little trouble in the past winning over Ward's 10 Best Engines judges, garnering a spot on the list each of the last three years.

However, with the introduction of the all-new '09 A4 range, the auto maker tempted fate by trying to improve upon what already is one of the best I-4s in production.

Fear not, as the revised TFSI turbo-4 once again fortifies Audi's pioneering spirit in direct-gasoline injection and variable-turbocharger technology by claiming its fourth-consecutive 10 Best Engines award.

While the aforementioned injection/induction systems, along with variable valve timing, a 2-stage intake manifold and electric-like throttle response, made last year's winner hard not to love, various improvements seriously up the ante for this mighty little 4-cyl.

Although the new engine eventually will work its way into numerous Volkswagen AG and Audi models, it currently does battle in a premium segment dominated by larger, more-powerful 6-cyl. mills.

For that duty, its 211 hp (at 5,300 rpm vs. last year's 5,000 rpm) comes up a little short. Yet, with modifications (including an optimized turbocharger; variable exhaust-valve-lift technology; revised electronic controls; a lower compression ratio (9.6:1 vs. 10.3:1); and refined internal components), torque jumps significantly to 258 lb. ft. (350 Nm) and comes in 300 rpm earlier. That's an improvement of 11 hp.

Engine type: 2.0L turbocharged DOHC I-4

Displacement (cc): 1,984

Block/head material: iron/aluminum

Bore × stroke (mm): 82.5 × 92.8

Horsepower (SAE net): 211 @ 4,300-6,000 rpm

Torque: 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm) @ 1,500-4,200 rpm

Specific output: 106 hp/L

Compression ratio: 9.6:1

Assembly site: Gyor, Hungary

Application tested: Audi A4 Avant 2.0T S-line

EPA city/highway (mpg): 22/28