Wards releases it's annual 10 best engines list, and while most are not as sexy as the sheetmetal that surrounds them, we should point out that engines often represent 30 percent or more of the cost of new vehicles.
Twenty-two years and counting
The 2016 list from Wards marks the 21st year of the magazine's 10 Best Engines list. Not only is this the only award of its kind in North American it is, Wards once pointed out, "considered by many to be the ‘Oscars' for automotive engines," an opinion we prefer to let slide.
This year, the list of 31 ten best nominees included all of last year's 10 winners, with the exception of Volkswagen. The company was also barred from this year's competition due to the fallout from its diesel emissions scandal. Like 2014 only two previous winners returned to the list from 2015, one from Fiat Chrysler and the other from Subaru.
In order to qualify, each engine must be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model scheduled to be on-sale no later than the end of the first quarter of 2015. Vehicles the engines are available in must have a base price of no more than $61,000 (last year's cap was $60,000).
Here are winners (in alphabetical manufacturer's order):
BMW's B58 3.0L DOHC turbocharged I-6 (BMW 340i)
This engine replaces the N55 3.0L turbo (which won awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013). Found in the 340i, the turbocharged straight-six produces 320 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 330 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1,380 rpm.
Chevrolet 3.6L LGX DOHC V-6 (Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Camaro)
The all-aluminum, naturally aspirated V-6 features cylinder deactivation (via the manufacturer's Active Fuel Management system) and produces 335 horsepower and 285 lb.-ft. of torque.
Chevrolet 1.5L DOHC direct-injection I-4 (Chevrolet Volt)
As a result of more powerful batteries and a lighter electric drivetrain, the new Volt now has an electric range of 53 miles (up from 38).
Ford 5.2L DOHC V-8 (Ford Shelby GT 350 Mustang)
With a flat-plane crankshaft and Plasma Transfer Wire Arc cylinder coating the "Voodoo" V-8 is derived from the 5.0L "Coyote" V-8 (that won 10 Best Engines trophies in 2011 and 2012) and produces 526 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 429 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,750 rpm.
Hyundai 2.0L DOHC I-4 / 50-kW (67-hp) electric motor (Hyundai Sonata PHEV)
A 68-kW lithium-polymer battery allows the Hyundai Sonata PHEV 27 miles of electric range. The engine itself develops 154 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft. of torque, while the electric motor produces 51 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. Total system horsepower is 193.
Nissan 3.5L VQ DOHC V-6 (Nissan Maxima)
A member of the VQ engine family (which won 14 straight awards between 1995 and 2008), the latest 3.5 liter in the Maxima produces 300 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 261 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm.maxima
Ram 3.0L Turbodiesel DOHC V-6 (Ram 1500 EcoDiesel)
A 3-peat winner, Ram's diesel is sourced from VM Motori in Italy and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, a repeat winner from last year, generates 240 hp at 3,600 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Subaru 2.0L Turbocharged FA DOHC H-4 (Subaru WRX)
A repeat winner from last year, Subaru’s hot shoe WRX sedan features an intercooled boxer engine that produces 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 258 lb.-ft. of torque at just 2,000 rpm.
Toyota 1.8L DOHC I-4 (Toyota Prius)
Generating 95 horsepower and featuring cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, this all-new 4-cylinder engine is paired to two electric motors that generate an additional 71 horsepower.
Volvo 2.0L supercharged and turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Volvo XC90)
You read that right. Volvo’s Drive-E T6 engine uses both a supercharger and a turbocharger and is rated at 316 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque.
WardsAuto will present the awards on January 13th during a ceremony at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.