Special Report

Ward’s 10 Best Engines

SOUTHFIELD, MI – Amid high-profile national debate over automotive fuel efficiency, the winners of the Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2008 reflect the auto industry's progress in improving fuel economy without compromising performance.

The 2008 list marks the 14th year for the North American auto industry's only awards honoring powertrain excellence.

The winners for 2008 (engine and tested vehicle):

  • Audi AG: FSI 2.0L turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Audi A3)
  • BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (335i Coupe)
  • Daimler AG: 3.0L DOHC V-6 Turbodiesel (Mercedes E320 CDI)
  • Ford Motor Co.: 4.6L SOHC V-8 (Mustang Shelby GT/Bullitt)
  • General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
  • General Motors Corp.: 6.0L OHV V-8 Hybrid (GMC Yukon Hybrid)
  • Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
  • Mazda Motor Corp.: 2.3L DISI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Mazdaspeed3)
  • Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.7L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G37)
  • Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)

General Motors Corp. lands two first-time winners on the list for 2008.

The highly refined, high-output 3.6L DOHC V-6 that powers the Cadillac CTS is one of the industry's best all-around V-6 performers. Meanwhile, GM also earns an award with its highly anticipated Two-Mode hybrid-electric powertrain, based on a 6.0L variant of its legendary small-block V-8.

BMW AG's turbocharged variant of its hallowed inline 6-cyl. engine returns for the second year. The stout and refined 3.0L inline-6 combines a pair of high-tech turbochargers with the auto maker’s first application of direct-injection gasoline fueling to produce 300 hp and 300 lb.-ft. (407 Nm) of torque.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. underscores its longstanding reputation for outstanding engines with its new 3.5L DOHC V-6. Powering its fully redesigned Accord lineup, Honda's 3.5L V-6 neatly merges exceptional performance with reasonable fuel economy.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. makes the Ward's 10 Best Engines list with the 14th consecutive win for its hallmark VQ-Series DOHC V-6, the only engine to win an award every year since the competition's inception in 1995.

For 2008, the newly re-designed, larger-displacement 3.7L VQ V-6 delivers a startling 330 hp and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque – figures that surpass many contemporary V-8s.

Toyota Motor Corp. scores its third consecutive Ward's 10 Best Engines win with its Lexus 3.5L DOHC V-6, a brilliantly refined 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.

Ford Motor Co. takes its fourth consecutive award with the 4.6L SOHC V-8 powering the Mustang GT, Shelby GT and new-for-'08 Bullitt. Ford's new-age take on the classic muscle-car V-8 continues to impress with its thrilling exhaust note and revisions, such as the high-revving 315-hp variant used in the tested Mustang Bullitt.

And two efficient-but-mighty 4-cyl. engines return to the list for 2008.

Both the power-dense 2.0L DOHC I-4 from Audi AG and Mazda Motor Corp.'s DISI 2.3L DOHC I-4 use turbocharging and direct-injection fueling to mimic the performance of larger engines.

For Audi, the auto maker’s torque- and efficiency-enhancing FSI direct injection are keys to production of 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. (281 Nm) of torque.

Mazda earns its third consecutive Ward's 10 Best Engines award for its power-packed 2.3L turbocharged DOHC I-4, an integral part of what has become a bargain-performance legend in the enthusiast market, the Mazdaspeed3. Developing 263 hp from just 2.3L displacement, the direct-injected Mazda 4-cyl. is one of the most power-dense engines available in the U.S.

This year, six Ward's editors nominated 37 different engines for the Ward's 10 Best Engines competition. Over a 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 2008 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. 16 ceremony in Detroit during the 2008 North American International Auto Show.

Details about the winning engines will be available in Ward's AutoWorld magazine, Ward's Engine & Vehicle Technology Update newsletter and at www.WardsAuto.com in January.

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.