December 22, 2004

Ward’s AutoWorld announces 10 Best Engines Awards for 2005

Southfield, Michigan – Ward’s Auto World announced the 11th annual ’10 Best Engines’ awards on Tuesday. The winners are:

  • Audi AG FSI 3.2L DOHC V-6 (Audi A6)

  • Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8 (Audi S4)
  • DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8 (Chrysler 300C)
  • DaimlerChrysler AG Mercedes-Benz 3.2L DOHC I-6 CDI Turbodiesel
    (Mercedes E320 CDI)

  • Ford Motor Co. 4.6L SOHC V-8 (Ford Mustang GT)
  • General Motors Corp. Vortec 4.2L DOHC I-6 (Chevrolet TrailBlazer)
  • Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 3L SOHC V-6 IMA Hybrid (Honda Accord Hybrid)
  • Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Acura 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Acura RL)
  • Mazda Motor Corp. 1.3L Renesis rotary (Mazda RX-8)
  • Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35 Coupe)

Cylinder deactivation, gasoline-electric hybridization and advanced diesel technology all are represented by winners on this year’s Ward’s 10 Best Engines list.

Another important emerging technology that generates more power while also improving fuel economy, direct gasoline injection, brings home a win for Audi AG in its first North American application of its all-new “FSI” 3.2L DOHC V-6. The 255-horsepower V-6 produces 35 more horsepower than the engine it replaces, yet delivers as much as 10% better fuel economy. Audi’s direct- injection powerhouse also operates on regular-grade unleaded gasoline.

Cylinder deactivation, which allows an engine to operate with half its usual number of cylinders when full power is not necessary, is another critical new fuel-saving technology featured on two Ward’s 10 Best Engines winners for 2005. DaimlerChrysler AG’s now-famous 5.7L “Hemi” V-8 incorporates the company’s Multi-Displacement System to instantaneously shut down four of the Hemi’s cylinders when not needed. Meanwhile, when the Hemi’s vaunted power is required, MDS immediately reactivates the cylinders to generate the engine’s full 340 horsepower.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. also uses its own cylinder-deactivation system – Variable Cylinder Management – to boost fuel economy for its new 3L SOHC V-6 used in the Accord Hybrid. The car also employs Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid-electric technology to boost power and increase fuel efficiency. While the Accord Hybrid is 15 horsepower stronger than its traditional- powertrain counterpart, VCM and IMA combine to improve fuel efficiency by a startling 38% in the city and 23% on the highway.

DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes-Benz unit wins a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award in the first year of availability of its new CDI 3.2L inline 6-cylinder turbodiesel. As with Audi’s FSI, the Mercedes diesel employs high-tech “direct” fuel injection and a host of other sophisticated electronic controls to create a diesel engine that generates spectacular torque – the portion of engine power production most important for acceleration – and almost 40% better fuel economy than a similar-size gasoline 6-cylinder engine.

“Suddenly, there is a confluence of new engine technology that engineers can deploy to meaningfully increase fuel economy while not sacrificing – and sometimes even improving – power output,” says Bill Visnic, Ward’s senior technical editor. “The speed with which these sophisticated new systems have come to market, for comparatively affordable engines, is stunning.

“Power and economy no longer are mutually exclusive development goals,” Visnic adds. “Engine engineers are liberating genuinely remarkable new levels of performance.”

During a two-month test period, six editors from Ward’s Communications evaluated the engines “nominated” from 36 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. “The engines in high-priced vehicles should be outstanding,” says Visnic. “By setting a realistic base price, we ensure the awards have value and relevance to the average consumer.”

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