Ward’s Auto Lauds Turbos in 2012 10 Best Engines List

It’s a good year for gas direct injection and forced induction: both technologies took a sizable share of the wins on the 10 Best Engines list put out by Ward’s Auto.

The 10 Best Engines list entered its 18th year this year, and unlike years past, featured only gasoline engines. Previous years had seen Ward’s give the honor to diesel-powered engines like the Volkswagen/Audi 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, and last year one of ten trophies went to Nissan’s 107 hp electric motor from the Leaf and another to GM’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder/149 hp electric motor powertrain from the Volt.

Both the Volt and Leaf’s powertrains didn’t make back to back wins, however; in fact, only four engines--Audi’s 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, BMW’s 3.0-liter N55 turbocharged I-6, Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V-6, and Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8--managed repeats from 2010 to 2011.

Those engines joined six others in the winner’s circle: BMW’s 2.0-liter N20 turbocharged I-4, Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-4, Buick’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, the 1.6-liter Gamma I-4 by Hyundai and Kia, Mazda’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv I-4, and the 3.5-liter V-6/electric motor hybrid system by Infiniti.

If you’re noticing a pattern here, it’s that forced induction and direct injection are king. In fact, the combination of variable valve timing, direct injection, and forced induction that scored Automobile Magazine’s Technology of the Year is on board five of Ward’s 10. You can soon change that number to six: the 1.6-liter Hyundai Gamma will get a turbocharger when the hotly anticipated Veloster Turbo is released next year. Direct injection alone powers seven of the ten engines, save for the Chrysler Pentastar, Ford V-8, and Infiniti hybrid.

The same is said for Automobile’s All-Stars: four of Ward’s 10 Best are underhood of a 2012 Automobile Magazine All-Star (understanding, of course, that Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost is broadly the same engine as the engine in the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque), and one more powers the Audi A7, our Automobile of the Year.

Did Ward’s miss anything? Let us know what your choice would be-- be it powered by diesel, electricity, gasoline, isobutanol, anything--in the comments below.

Audi TFSI, Supercharged 3.0L V-6 310 hp, 325 lb-ft (A6) Audi S4, S5 Cabriolet, A6, A7, Q7
BMW N20, Turbo 2.0L I-4 240 hp, 255 lb-ft (Z4) BMW Z4 sDrive28i, 528i, 2012 328i
BMW N55, Turbo 3.0L I-6 300 hp, 300 lb-ft (335i) BMW 135i, 335i, 535i, 640i, 740i, Z4 sDrive35i, X3 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive35i
Chrysler Pentastar, 3.6L V-6 292 hp, 260 lb-ft (Chrysler 300) Chrysler 200, 300, Town and Country 

Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee

Dodge Avenger, Challenger, Charger, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey

Volkswagen Routan

Ram C/V

Ford EcoBoost, Turbo 2.0L I-4 240 hp, 270 lb-ft (Explorer) 2013 Ford Escape, Explorer 

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Ford Coyote, 5.0L V-8* *in Boss 302 tune only 440 hp, 380 lb-ft Ford Mustang Boss 302
Buick Turbo 2.0L I-4 270 hp, 295 lb-ft Buick Regal GS
Hyundai Gamma, 1.6L I-4 138 hp, 123 lb-ft (Veloster) Hyundai Accent, Veloster 

Kia Rio, Soul

Mazda Skyactiv-G, 2.0L I-4 155 hp, 148 lb-ft (3) Mazda 3 Skyactiv, 2013 CX-5
Infiniti VQ, 3.5L V-6 Hybrid 302 hp/67 hp, 258 lb-ft/199 lb-ft (360 net horsepower) Infiniti M35h
Source: Ward’s Auto

Audi TFSI, Supercharged 3.0L V-6 310 hp, 325 lb-ft (A6) Audi S4, S5 Cabriolet, A6, A7, Q7
BMW N20, Turbo 2.0L I-4 240 hp, 255 lb-ft (Z4) BMW Z4 sDrive28i, 528i, 2012 328i
BMW N55, Turbo 3.0L I-6 300 hp, 300 lb-ft (335i) BMW 135i, 335i, 535i, 640i, 740i, Z4 sDrive35i, X3 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive35i
Chrysler Pentastar, 3.6L V-6 292 hp, 260 lb-ft (Chrysler 300) Chrysler 200, 300, Town and Country  Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee Dodge Avenger, Challenger, Charger, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey Volkswagen Routan Ram C/V
Ford EcoBoost, Turbo 2.0L I-4 240 hp, 270 lb-ft (Explorer) 2013 Ford Escape, Explorer  Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
Ford Coyote, 5.0L V-8* *in Boss 302 tune only 440 hp, 380 lb-ft Ford Mustang Boss 302
Buick Turbo 2.0L I-4 270 hp, 295 lb-ft Buick Regal GS
Hyundai Gamma, 1.6L I-4 138 hp, 123 lb-ft (Veloster) Hyundai Accent, Veloster  Kia Rio, Soul
Mazda Skyactiv-G, 2.0L I-4 155 hp, 148 lb-ft (3) Mazda 3 Skyactiv, 2013 CX-5
Infiniti VQ, 3.5L V-6 Hybrid 302 hp/67 hp, 258 lb-ft/199 lb-ft (360 net horsepower) Infiniti M35h

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