Fiat's new TwinAir engine has scooped the 2011 International Engine of the Year competition, winning the major gong for engine of the year, plus three other awards including the Best New Engine 2011, Best Green Engine 2011 and Best Engine of less than 1,000 cc.
The twin cylinder 875 cc engine is currently only available in a turbocharged 85 bhp configuration in the Fiat 500 and will soon also be available in the Chrysler Ypsilon, but non-turbo 65 bhp, turbo 105 bhp and 80 bhp turbo bi-fuel versions are all due this year. The TwinAir's most distinguishing technological feature is the electro-hydraulic valve control, and a balancing countershaft to reduce vibration.
Environmentally, the TwinAir is remarkably frugal in its use of gas and in its low emissions with figures of 95 g/km of CO2.
BMW always seems to fare well in the IEOY awards, and this year it matched Fiat's four awards, though with four different engines. The 4-liter V8 used in the BMW M3 won the "3-liter to 4-liter" award, the 3-liter DI Twin Turbo took the "2.5-liter to 3-liter" category, its 2-liter Twin Turbo diesel won the "1.8-liter to 2-liter" category and its 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine took out the "1.4-liter to 1.8-liter" category. Only Audi's 2.5-liter turbo prevented BMW from taking a complete clean sweep of all awards between 1.4 and 4.0 liters.
Other winners in the awards included Fiat's stablemate Ferrari, which won both "Best Performance Engine" and "Above 4-liter" awards for its 570bhp, 4.5-liter V8 engine as used in the 458 Italia. The dry-sump, flat-crank, 90-degree V8 spins to 9,000 rpm and emanated from Ferrari's HELE (High Emotions Low Emissions) initiative.
The International Engine of the Year title for the prior two years (2009 and 2010) went to Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger engine, which not-surprisingly, took out the "1-liter to 1.4-liter" category.