Ferrari’s Twin-Turbo V-8 Won International Engine of the Year Award
Ferrari wins a number of awards, but none more important than the 3.9-liter being named the International Engine of the Year.by Robert Moore, on
It’s unfortunate, but increasingly stiffer emissions regulations have all but killed the naturally aspirated engine in most major markets. Sports car engines that were once full of naturally aspirated soul have now been downsized and turned into exhaust-gas regurgitating whistle machines that are said to produce fewer emissions. Of course, there are benefits to turbocharging, like more power from less displacement and fewer emissions, though many say nothing can compete with the soul and growl of a naturally aspirated engine. Be that as it may, it doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari’s twin-turbo, 3.9-liter V-8 that is found in models like the Ferrari 488 GTB just received a pretty decent list of awards, including being named International Engine of the Year.
Along with being named the International Engine of the Year by 63 judges from 30 different countries, the V-8 powerplant was also given awards in the Performance Engine, New Engine, and 3.0-liter to 4.0-liter categories as well. According to Ferrari, it’s return to twin-turbo technology for its V-8 range has “set a new benchmark for turbo-charged engines.” Of course, the brand is boasting the zero-lag effect and the engine’s ability to deliver torque throughout a wide portion of the rev range.
Graham Johnson, the Co-Chairman of International Engine of the Year Awards, said, “It’s a giant leap forward for turbocharged engines in terms of efficiency, performance, and flexibility. It truly is the best engine in production today and will forever be remembered as one of the all-time greats.”
In addition to the big news about the 3.9-liter’s awards, the 6.3-liter V-12 found in the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and the F12tdf also to the “Above 4-liter” category at the same event. As it turns out, it’s a pretty happy day for Ferrari.
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Why it matters
Obviously a proud day for Ferrari, I think it’s important to remember that it isn’t the only brand that has practically perfected the process of turbocharging an engine. Not long ago, turbochargers were known for causing lag – a momentary pause before the power hits – due to the time needed for the exhaust gasses to spool up the turbine inside the turbo. As such, they were only effective at high rev ranges, and low-end performance typically suffered.
Now, manufacturers have learned that by using smaller units and even small electric turbochargers, turbo lag doesn’t have to be a reality anymore. Ferrari has obviously pushed the envelope and made huge advances in this process, but so have a lot of others. Either way, this list of awards for the 3.9-liter means one, arguably harsh, reality: turbochargers are here to stay and Ferrari won’t be changing up the 3.9-liter anytime soon.
Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 GTB here.