And the big winner of the 2011 edition of the coveted International Engine of the Year is…Fiat’s 0.9-liter twin-cylinder gasoline engine also known simply as the TwinAir. A jury comprised of 76 journalists and industry experts from 36 different countries were convinced by the 875 cc unit's low emissions, high fuel economy and impressive output for its size, awarding it four awards: “Best New Engine 2011”, “Best Green Engine 2011”, “Best Sub 1-Liter Engine” and the “International Engine of the Year 2011” overall award.
Currently available in a turbocharged configuration developing 85-horsepower, the TwinAir is offered on the Fiat 500 and 500C, and will soon find its way under the hood of the new Lancia Ypsilon supermini. Fiat is also planning the introduction of a naturally aspirated version producing 65-horses as well as another high-performance turbocharged variant with 105HP. The TwinAir will also be offered in a more eco-friendly 80HP Turbo bi-fuel version.
“Fiat has now produced one of the all-time great engines,” said Dean Slavnich, editor of Engine Technology International and co-chairman of the International Engine of the Year Awards. “Who would have thought that a two-cylinder unit could have won the International Engine of the Year title when we launched the Awards in 1999? 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!”
This year’s event, held on Wednesday, May 18th at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany, also saw BMW taking four accolades. These include the “3-liter to 4-liter” category with its 4.0-liter V8 unit mounted on the M3, the “2.5-liter to 3-liter” category for its 3.0-liter DI Twin Turbo, the “1.8-liter to 2-liter” category for its 2.0-liter Twin Turbo diesel engine found in the 123d and X1, and finally the “1.4-liter to 1.8-liter” category for its 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine co-developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen, powering the Mini.
The second place in the overall competition went to VW Group's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger engine, which triumphed in the “1-liter to 1.4-liter” category, while Audi won the “2-liter to 2.5-liter” category with its impressive 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine from the TT RS and RS3.
The “Above 4-liter” category went to Ferrari's 4.5-liter V8 engine found in the 458 Italia, which also took the accolade of “Best Performance Engine”, bringing the Fiat Group's total wins to six, or half of all the awards.
By Dan Mihalascu