Ferrari 488 GTB Maranello 12

There would be no two in a row for the BMW i8’s 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo hybrid powerplant, as it had to bow to Ferrari’s new 3.9 litre twin-turbo V8 engine in this year’s International Engine of the Year awards.

The downsized turbo’s overall win is a first for Maranello, and the 488 GTB’s motor also scooped three category wins – Best New Engine, Best Performance Engine and Best 3.0 to 4.0 litre Engine. It scored 331 points to leave the i8’s three-pot a distant second at 278 points. Porsche’s new 3.0 litre turbo flat-six (267 points) from the facelifted 911 completed the podium.

Look at the leaderboard and you’ll find that all but the last two are modern downsized turbo engines following the same principles – reduced capacity (and sometimes cylinders) with forced induction to increase efficiency while improving real world performance compared to their naturally aspirated forebears. There’s no turning back now, so we should stop living in the past, fellow NA lovers.


The Ferrari 488 GTB‘s 3,902 cc biturbo V8 is from the F154 engine family, and is related to the 3,855 cc V8 in the California T, although much is new.

New pistons, crankshaft and cams, con-rods, dry-sump lube circuit, even exhaust manifolds and cylinder heads, which are thinner walled, get slapped on, as well as fresh twin-scroll IHI turbos, complete with ball-bearing shafts, compressor abradable seals and titanium-aluminium alloy compressor wheels, the latter offering faster turbo response.

It puts out 670 PS at 8,000 rpm and 760 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm, which is a big jump from the 4.5 litre NA V8 (four-time winner of the Performance Engine sub-category since 2011) in the 458 Speciale, which delivers 605 PS and 540 Nm. And that’s versus the Speciale; the biturbo has 100 horses more than the standard 458 Italia’s 570 PS. 0-100 km/h in three seconds, 0-200 km/h in 8.3 seconds, top speed of over 330 km/h.

Ferrari 488 GTB Maranello 66

Having wrung the 2016 International Engine of the Year in the 488 GTB, our Anthony Lim grudgingly admits its very good. “The new V8 has a nice growl to it at full pelt, but nothing like the old NA song for a real tune. Sonically, something is inevitably missing,” he said, adding that while the car perfectly fits the intent of today, “the flipside is that it does feel a bit emotionally detached if you delve deep into its character.”

Read our review of the 488 GTB. Here are the category winners:

International Engine of the Year: Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8
Best Sub 1-Litre: Ford 998cc three-cylinder turbo
Best 1-Litre to 1.4-Litre: PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo
Best 1.4-Litre to 1.8-Litre: BMW 1.5-litre three-cylinder electric-gasoline hybrid
Best 1.8-Litre to 2-Litre: Mercedes-AMG 2-litre turbo
Best 2-Litre to 2.5-Litre: Audi 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo
Best 2.5-Litre to 3-Litre: Porsche 3-litre six-cylinder turbo
Best 3-Litre to 4-Litre: Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8
Best Above 4-Litre: Ferrari 6.3-litre V12
Best Green Engine: Tesla full-electric powertrain
Best New Engine: Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8
Best Performance Engine: Ferrari 3.9-litre biturbo V8