December 10, 2003

2004 “Ward’s 10 Best Engines” announced

Southfield, Michigan – Two unique engines headline the winners of Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards for 2004. Ward’s 2004 list of engines marks the tenth anniversary for the Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards.

Mazda’s all-new Renesis rotary engine and Toyota Motor Corp.’s more-powerful hybrid-electric Prius drivetrain are two non-traditional engine systems winning Ward’s 10 Best Engines honours for 2004. The Renesis is a new iteration of the rotary engine design to which Mazda alone has remained devoted since the company’s first production engine in 1967. Mazda has over the years launched successive new generations of its innovative rotary, and the Renesis brings significant and exciting new improvements to the design.

Ward’s 10 Best Engines judges this year also rewarded another non- traditional engine design, Toyota’s Prius hybrid-electric drivetrain that combines several high-tech components into a gasoline-electric “system” that delivers high mileage, excellent responsiveness and remarkably low emissions. Toyota’s hybrid “system” is comprised of a small, highly efficient 4-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor to enhance the gasoline engine’s power and a continuously variable transmission. A sophisticated powertrain-control unit leverages the best attributes of each component.

Subaru earns its first spot on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list with its high-performance horizontally opposed “boxer” four cylinder engine which powers the Subaru WRX STi. The turbocharged boxer engine delivers one of the highest horsepower-per-litre ratings of any engine available, making it unusually powerful in relation to its size – an attribute always appreciated by Ward’s 10 Best Engines editor-judges.

Rounding out the new entrants to the 10 Best Engines list is Audi AG with its power- and technology-laden 4.2 litre DOHC V-8, which powers the special S4 variant of the company’s A4 compact sedan/wagon lineup. The thrusty Audi V8 produces 340 horsepower and 302 lb.-ft. of torque, making it one of the market’s most powerful V-8s.

A significant first-time winner is DaimlerChrysler AG’s 5.9 litre inline 6-cylinder turbodiesel, developed in conjunction with and made by well-known diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. The new Cummins 600 turbodiesel is the standard engine for DC’s Ram Heavy Duty pickup line and is the most powerful diesel engine available in the segment.

Two truck/SUV engines returning as Ward’s 10 Best Engines winners are General Motors outstanding Vortec 4.2 litre dual-overhead-cam inline 6-cylinder and DaimlerChrysler’s 5.7 litre Hemi Magnum V-8.

Six-cylinder engines, the most popular choice of U.S. vehicle buyers, are represented by Nissan’s “VQ” 3.5 litre DOHC V-6, the only engine to win a Ward’s 10 Best award each year in the competition’s decade-long history, Honda’s 3 litre DOHC V-6 available in the Accord, and BMW AG’s renowned 3.2 litre inline 6-cylinder found in its M3 coupe and convertible.

The Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2004:
(Engine and tested vehicle)

  • Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8 (S4)

  • BMW AG 3.2L DOHC I-6 (M3)
  • DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram)
  • DaimlerChrysler AG 5.9L Cummins 600 OHV I-6 turbodiesel (Dodge Ram
    Heavy Duty)

  • Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Subaru 2.5L DOHC turbocharged H-4 (Subaru
    WRX STi)

  • General Motors Corp. Vortec 4.2L DOHC I-6 (GMC Envoy)
  • Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 3L DOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
  • Mazda Motor Corp. 1.3L Renesis rotary (RX-8)
  • Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35)
  • Toyota Motor Corp. 1.5L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Prius)

During a two-month test period, six editors from Ward’s Communications evaluated the engines “nominated” from 32 different cars, trucks and SUVs. Scoring encompassed the crucial engine characteristics of power, torque, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), technical relevance and basic comparative numbers. All engines nominated and tested were in vehicles with a base MSRP under U.S.$52,500.

Details of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines will be featured in the January issues of Ward’s AutoWorld and Ward’s Engine & Vehicle Technology Update.

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