We've driven or covered hundreds of cars in the past two years. That means we've enjoyed some tasty engines, ranging from mighty V12 fire-breathers to wee four-bangers, not to mention a range of hybrid and electric powertrains.
We haven't reviewed everything that crossed our engineering-geek radar in a while, so we figured it was about time to look back on all the motors we've loved and admired since 2017.Advertisement
A quick note: We formerly based our Best Engines rundown only on vehicles we'd driven. I decided to make and exception this time around an call out some motors that we haven't personally sampled yet, but that we're looking forward to our have been impressed by.
Read on to experience the finest powerplants on four wheels ... and sometimes two!
1. General Motors LT4 Supercharged V8 can be found under the hood of various Corvettes ...
... But it's modified successor, the the LT5, was dropped into the absurdly potent, 755-horsepower ZR1. The most powerful GM production engine ever, the LT5 gained a new supercharger, somehow squeezing more than 100hp out of the LT4's design.
2. The McLaren M840T twin-turbocharged V8 might be the best compact V8 in history. McLaren managed to squeeze 710 horsepower from the small, four-liter engine. Word on the street is the M840T can be tuned to reliably produce as much as 850 ponies.
We've sampled the engines in several McLaren supercars, including the stunning 720S.
3. Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive is a personal favorite because ...
... I've enjoyed it in the latest-generation Prius, as well as a 2011 model that I own.
4. Ford's 5.2-liter "Voodoo" V8 is a magnificent, flat-crank powerplant that creates the most addictive engine note this side of a Ferrari.
I took a Voodoo out for a spin a few years back in a Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang — and threatened 100 mph in third gear!
5. Ford developed its EcoBoost technology to bring turbocharging back to the Blue Oval. But the company also dropped an EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 into the Ford GT supercar.
The Ford GT was absolutely brilliant on its own ...
... But the race-car version won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.
6. Porsche's "Boxer" six-cylinder is an automotive legend. Some call it a "flat-six." The design has been around for decades.
Fitted with a pair of turbochargers, the base Porsche's engine can crank out up to 370 horsepower. In something like the GTS, that figure climbs to 450.
7. The Mazda Skyactiv-X 2.0-liter four-cylinder is a petrol-burning tweener. While a lot of automakers have focused on hybrids and electrics, Mazda remains focused on improving the gas engine. The Skyactiv-X operates like a gas and diesel mashup, using compression at times rather than spark ignition.
The Skyactiv-X is currently available only on the Euro-spec Mazda3. It gets a claimed 50 mpg and can crank out almost 180 horsepower.
8. The Nissan/Infiniti VC-Turbo 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder is another innovative mill. In this case, engineers have created a variable-compression system that mimics a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
We tested the motor in the Infiniti QX50. A low 8:1 compression ratio delivers more power and low-end grunt when needed, but the engine can switch to a high 14:1 ratio for better fuel efficiency during highway cruising.
9. Tesla's P100D dual-motor/100-kilowatt-hour battery drivetrain is the all-electric car that in "Ludicrous Mode" can outrun supercars: 0-60 in 2.4 seconds.
Tesla now markets this trim as "Performance." The powertrain manages 345 miles of range on a charge and can serve up a 163 mph top speed.
10. Ferrari's 6.5-liter V12 is among the last of a dying breed: huge-displacement engines that chug fuel like Italians drink Chianti and that produce an addictive exhaust note.
We experienced the glorious brute in a $474,000 Ferrari 812 Superfast, where the V12 made 789 horsepower. Peak torque was 530 pound-feet, and the redline came at a staggering 8,900 rpm.
11. Harley-Davidson "Milwaukee-Eight" V-Twin is the latest iteration of the motorcycle maker's iconic powerplant, which dates back to the earliest "Big Twins" of over 80 years ago.
Introduced in 2017, the Milwaukee-Eight comes in several configurations: 107, 114, and 117 cubic inches. It powers bikes such as the Sport Glide. Notably, the engine has a single camshaft, versus a dual design for its predecessor.