Since what defines a “great” engine differs by engineering goals, the categories are key to the awards. For 2012, the categories were New Engine; Green Engine; Performance Engine; Sub 1.0-Liter; 1.0-1.4-Liter; 1.4-1.8-Liter; 1.8-2.0-Liter; 2.0-2.5-Liter; 2.5-3.0-Liter, 3.0-4.0-Liter and above 4-Liter.
There’s also a final and somewhat more subjective category, simply called the International Engine of the Year. As with any other contest, we suppose, there can only be one grand prize winner.
For 2012, the International Engine of the Year is Ford’s 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost model, as used in non-U.S. versions of the Ford Focus. The baby EcoBoost engine also took home top honors in the New Engine and Sub 1.0-Liter categories, since its actual displacement is 999 cubic centimeters, one cc shy of the full liter.
Ferrari took home Performance Engine of the Year honors for the 4.5-liter V-8 used in the 458 Italia and 458 Italia Spider. This marks the engine’s second win in two years, and it also finished first in the Above 4.0-Liter category.
BMW added three new awards to its trophy case, picking up wins in the 1.8-2.0-Liter category for its 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder, its 3.0-liter biturbo six cylinder and its 4.0-liter V8 from the current-model M3.
We suppose you could lump MINI under the BMW family umbrella, too, and it took home a win in the 1.4-1.8-Liter category with the 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder used in MINI’s S models. The same engine also sees duty in a wide variety of Peugeot automobiles, obviously sporting a different logo on the cover.
The Volkswagen Group didn’t go home empty-handed, as both VW and Audi took home awards. Volkswagen won for its 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger engine, as used in multiple European models. Audi won for its 2.5-liter TFSI turbo, as used in TT-RS and RS3 Sportback models.
Finally, even the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera received recognition, with General Motors taking home top honors in the Green Engine category for the 1.4-liter range extender found beneath the hood of the Volt and Ampera.