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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-11-03, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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USA: Ward's 10 Best Engines Award, Dec 10 2003

SOUTHFIELD, MI – Two unique and unusual engine “formats” headline the winners of Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards for 2004, a highly anticipated auto industry award competition that for a decade has served as the auto industry’s most-recognized barometer of powertrain-related product development.

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SOUTHFIELD, MI – Two unique and unusual engine “formats” headline the winners of Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards for 2004, a highly anticipated auto industry award competition that for a decade has served as the auto industry’s most-recognized barometer of powertrain-related product development.
Toyota Prius I-4 hybrid engine one of Ward's 10 Best for 2004.

The Ward’s 2004 list of honored engines marks the 10th anniversary for the Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards.

Mazda Motor Corp.’s all-new Renesis rotary engine and Toyota Motor Corp.’s more-powerful hybrid-electric Prius drivetrain are two non-traditional engine systems winning Ward’s 10 Best Engines honors for 2004. Renesis is the exhilarating new iteration of the rotary engine design to which Mazda alone has remained devoted since the company’s first production engine in 1967. Mazda has over the years launched successive new generations of its innovative rotary, and the Renesis brings significant and exciting new improvements to the design.

Ward’s 10 Best Engines judges this year also reward another non-traditional engine design, Toyota’s Prius hybrid-electric drivetrain that combines several high-tech components into a gasoline-electric “system” that delivers high mileage, excellent responsiveness and remarkably low emissions. Toyota’s hybrid “system” is comprised of a small, highly efficient 4-cyl. gasoline engine, an electric motor to enhance the gasoline engine’s power and a continuously variable transmission. A sophisticated powertrain-control unit leverages the best attributes of each component.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Subaru arm earns its first spot on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list with its high-performance horizontally opposed “boxer” 4-cyl., which powers the critically acclaimed Subaru WRX STi. The turbocharged boxer engine delivers one of the highest horsepower-per-liter ratings of any engine available in the U.S., making it unusually powerful in relation to its size – an attribute always appreciated by Ward’s 10 Best Engines editor-judges.

Rounding out the new entrants to the 10 Best Engines list is Audi AG with its power- and technology-laden 4.2L DOHC V-8, which powers the special S4 variant of the company’s A4 compact sedan/wagon lineup. The thrusty Audi V-8 produces 340 hp and 302 lb.-ft. (461 Nm) of torque, making it one of the market’s most powerful V-8s.

Trucks and SUVs continue to account for a significant portion of the U.S. market, and engines powering those types of vehicles are well-represented in the 2004 Ward’s 10 Best Engines. A significant first-time winner is DaimlerChrysler AG’s 5.9L inline 6-cyl. turbodiesel, developed in conjunction with and made by well-known diesel engine maker Cummins Inc. The new Cummins 600 turbodiesel is the standard engine for DC’s Ram Heavy Duty pickup line and is the most powerful diesel engine available in the segment.

Two truck/SUV engines returning as Ward’s 10 Best Engines winners are General Motors Corp.’s outstanding Vortec 4.2L dual-overhead-cam inline 6-cyl. and DC’s 5.7L Hemi Magnum V-8. Both engines are emerging as stalwart winners on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list and the Hemi “definitely is the best-marketed, best-advertised engine in the industry,” says Bill Visnic, Ward’s senior technical editor.

Six-cylinder engines, the most popular choice of U.S. vehicle buyers, are represented by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s “VQ” 3.5L DOHC V-6, the only engine to win a Ward’s 10 Best award each year in the competition’s decade-long history, Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s 3L DOHC V-6 available in the Accord and BMW AG’s renowned 3.2L inline 6-cyl. found in its M3 coupe and convertible.

The Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2004:

Engine (and tested vehicle)

* Audi AG 4.2L DOHC V-8 (S4)

* BMW AG 3.2L DOHC I-6 (M3)

* DaimlerChrysler AG 5.7L Hemi Magnum OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram)

* DaimlerChrysler AG 5.9L Cummins 600 OHV I-6 turbodiesel (Dodge Ram Heavy Duty)

* Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Subaru 2.5L DOHC turbocharged H-4 (Subaru WRX STi)

* General Motors Corp. Vortec 4.2L DOHC I-6 (GMC Envoy)

* Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 3L DOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)

* Mazda Motor Corp. 1.3L Renesis rotary (RX-8)

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Infiniti G35)

* Toyota Motor Corp. 1.5L DOHC I-4 Hybrid (Prius)

Five of 2004’s 10 Best Engines are first-time winners, which Visnic says symbolizes the increasing fractionalization of the U.S. vehicle market – and highlights the intense competitive pressures at work on the auto industry’s powertrain developers and engineers.

“Multi-year 10 Best Engines winners may become more rare,” says Visnic. “Powertrain-development cycles, just like those for the entire vehicle, are becoming increasingly more compressed. The effect will be obvious: We’ll see more new or revised engines coming to market more often.”

On the 10th anniversary of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition, this year’s winners show more diversity than at any time in the past, Visnic adds. “The spread of engine types – and even the vehicles they power – is refreshingly distinct. This year’s list includes a high-mileage, eco-friendly hybrid system arm-in-arm with several powerful V-8s. And although performance-oriented engines always enjoy a certain edge with Best Engines judges, the reality is that because most of these engines power vehicles that can essentially be considered mainstream, there has never been so much engine performance available to buyers of reasonably common vehicles.”

Visnic stresses the most relevant aspect of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list may be that it highlights the crucial relationship between engines and vehicles that are successful in the market. “A Best Engines mantra essentially has emerged over a decade of presenting these awards,” says Visnic. “It’s simple. With very few exceptions, each and every 10 Best Engines winner over the past decade has powered a commercially successful vehicle. We are convinced that is no coincidence.”

During a 2-month test period, six editors from Ward’s Communications evaluated the engines nominated from 32 different cars, trucks and SUVs. Scoring encompassed the crucial engine characteristics of power, torque, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), technical relevance and basic comparative numbers. All engines nominated and tested were in vehicles with a base price under $52,500. “The engines in high-priced vehicles should be outstanding,” says Visnic. “By setting a realistic base price, we ensure the awards have value and relevance to the average consumer.”

Details of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines will be featured in the January issues of Ward’s AutoWorld and Ward’s Engine & Vehicle Technology Update and in a special package later this month on

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-12-03, 12:44 AM
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Re: USA: Ward's 10 Best Engines Award

I wonder why this news is on a Ford site? Wouldn't have anything to do with the predilection of our News Director towards over priced European sedans made by Audi would it??

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-12-03, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: USA: Ward's 10 Best Engines Award

I thought It would be mildly newsworthy for people to find out that the 5.4 Litre Triton V-8 did not make it into the list this year. The 1.3 Litre Renesis rotary made it though, so it has Ford Motor Company content.

I couldn't help it that Audi's masterpiece made it into the list!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-12-03, 11:34 AM
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Re: USA: Ward's 10 Best Engines Award

Mazda's new rotary is in the 10 Best Engines ? NO WAY !!!
I found the article to be a good read and glad it was posted. However, the selection process by Wards lacks credibility in light of the overwhelming number of complaints by RX8 owners regarding poor engine performance.

It's great that Mazda brought back the rotary engine and presumably made an attempt at improving it. It is such a great powerplant for a sportscar and is certainly worthy of further development. But the fact that Mazda is offering to buy back the RX8s, or giving RX8 owners gift certificates worth hundreds of dollars, in an effort to make amends for producing a...uh...dud, tells the real story. Granted the Mazda "fix" probably wasn't announced until after the magazine closed that issue, but the problems with the RX8s has been known for awhile now.

Wards didn't know about these issues ? Did anyone involved in the creation or approval of the 10 Best Engines Award even drive a RX8 or did they just read the press releases Mazda fed them ? Did they poll RX8 owners ? What is the process for determining which engines make the list ?

Good job Wards !!! I can't wait for your next endorsement.


Last edited by kbx500; 12-12-03 at 11:40 AM.
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