Power Play: The 10 Greatest Engines of the Moment

Sometimes, internal-combustion greatness doesn’t scream. Here, alongside the bona fide wailers, we call out those with hidden depths, the mechanical equivalents of everyone’s favorite winking girl next door, distractress Parker Posey. She’s an expert at braining you without even trying, and so are some of these mills. It’s no accident that this list bears more than a passing resemblance to our last, created in 2010. Greatness begets greatness.Output range: 540–610 hp, 398–413 lb-ft-Available in: Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracán---After letting this V-10 scream to an eardrum-eviscerating 8800 rpm, you’ll need new stirrups and anvils. It makes most engines sound like an embarrassment to internal combustion.Output range: 228–248 hp, 237–258 lb-ft-Available in: X1, 2-series, 3-series, 4-series; Mini Clubman, Convertible, Hardtop---Though it’s most at home running to and from the Emporium, it’s more fulfilling to get this boosted four out on the road to the Moontower. A member of BMW’s new modular-engine family, the B46 helps streamline production. But the real benefit is that it delivers nearly 250 smooth, lag-free horsepower and a shelf of usable torque.Output range: 320–335 hp, 330–369 lb-ft-Available in: 2-, 3-, 4-, 7-series---Yes, it’ll fry the bolognas like bacon. But it’s the B58’s twin-scroll linearity and creamy polish above six grand that sell its straight-six supremacy in a world of gray-ghost V-6s. All that boost is just gravy.Output range: 455–460 hp, 455–465 lb-ft-Available in: Camaro, Corvette---Let us tell you what Melba Toast is packin’: There’s tire-ripping torque right off idle, but it still pulls hard at 6500 rpm. Few naturally aspirated V-8s, especially at this price, are more potent or full of character.Output: 707 hp, 650 lb-ft-Available in: Challenger SRT Hellcat, Charger SRT Hellcat---This ground shaker is so loud that it contributed to Chrysler’s allegedly purchasing additional land around its proving grounds to shield its neighbors from the noise. No other V-8 in production makes this much power. Mat it from a slow roll, and vehicle speed doesn’t catch up to wheel speed until nearly 100 mph. We’re talkin’ some, well, you know . . . muscle.Output range: 552–661 hp, 557–561 lb-ft-Available in: California T, GTC4Lusso T, 488---What Ferrari’s 488 lost in splendid aural insanity, it gained in straight-up strength. There are 99 additional horsepower and a full 163 pound-feet more torque on tap than the 458 delivered. Yes, turbos are good that way. Plus, who doesn’t love redheads?Output range: 315–335 hp, 350–380 lb-ft-Available in: Edge, Fusion, F-150; Lincoln Continental, MKX--You got twin turbos? Be a whole lot cooler if you did. Ford’s double pumper powers products ranging from the F-150 to the Fusion Sport. No other engine has the flexibility to competently tow your race car and power a sports sedan. It makes the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 utterly redundant.Output: 526 hp, 429 lb-ft-Available in: Mustang Shelby GT350/GT350R--Ford’s Voodoo V-8 is a special piece of red, white, and blue madness that doesn’t bother getting started until 4000 rpm. Fortunately, it still has 4250 revs to go and a yowl that encourages you to crowd the top of the tach. Even comes with 12.0:1 pop-up pistons.Output range: 416–577 hp, 443–516 lb-ft-Available in: AMG C63, AMG GT, G550--It’s so glorious on overrun, you’ll almost forget that what you’re hearing isn’t the machine’s petulance but a carefully contrived concerto of Germanic precision. In the 2018 AMG GT R, it’ll make 577 horsepower. Reminds us that we’re still livin’, man.Output: 500 hp, 339 lb-ft-Available in: 911 GT3 RS, 911 R--Porsche’s big-bore boxer sounds so good at 8500 rpm that it’ll wipe that face right off your head. This is naturally aspirated Porsche at its very best, and it’ll be the last such engine in a 911 for a few years. We’ll miss it.
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