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BMW wins overall International Engine of Year 2015 for hybrid drive system in i8 PHEV

BMW took top honors at the latest International Engine of the Year Awards, with the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder hybrid drive unit in the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid being declared the overall winner—as well as picking up two class wins—edging out Ford’s 1.0L three-cylinder EcoBoost. BMW also picked up a class win (2.5-liter to 3-liter) for the 3-liter, Twin Turbo six-cylinder engine in the BMW M3 and BMW M4.

The BMW i8 TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder gasoline engine was voted class winner in the 1.4-liter to 1.8-liter category, while the overall drive unit of the BMW i8 claimed a further class win as the best “new engine”. The combination of electric motor and gasoline engine also earned it overall victory.

BMW 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo in place in the rear of the i8. Click to enlarge.

The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8—the first BMW production model powered by a three-cylinder unit—develops 170 kW/231 hp (specific output of 113 kW/154 hp per liter of displacement) and drives the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket, and sends its power to the front axle.

The three-cylinder engine derives its typical characteristics from BMW’s six-cylinder in-line engines, to which it is closely related. The three-cylinder’s BMW TwinPower Turbo technology comprises a high-performance turbocharging system and direct gasoline injection with high-precision injectors positioned between the valves, along with VALVETRONIC throttle-less load control, which improves efficiency and response thanks to seamlessly variable valve lift control.

The plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group, enables a range of up to 37 kilometers (23 miles) in the EU test cycle and a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) on electric power alone, coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” all-wheel driving experience headlined by powerful acceleration and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through corners.

The more powerful of the two sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering high levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes 4.4 seconds, yet combined fuel consumption—as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles—stands at 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers (approx. 135 mpg imp) plus 11.9 kWh of electricity. This equates to CO2 emissions of 49 grams per kilometer.

The other winners from the International Engine of the Year Awards 2015 were:

International Engine of the Year Awards 2015
Category Winner
Sub 1.0-liter Ford 999cc three-cylinder turbo (EcoBoost)
1.0-liter to 1.4-liter PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.2-liter three-cylinder turbo
1.4-liter to 1.8 liter BMW 1.5-liter three-cylinder electric-gasoline hybrid
1.8-liter to 2.0-liter Mercedes-AMG 2-liter turbo
2.0-liter to 2.5-liter Audi 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo
2.5-liter to 3.0-liter BMW M 3-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder
3.0-liter to 4.0-liter McLaren 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8
Above 4.0-liter Ferrari 4.5-liter V8
Green engine Tesla full-electric powertrain (Model S)
New engine BMW 1.5-liter three-cylinder electric-gasoline hybrid
Performance engine Ferrari 4.5-liter V8

The International Engine of the Year Awards were launched in 1999, since when 66 class and overall wins have gone to engines developed for BMW models. Each year an expert panel of judges, this time comprising 65 motoring journalists from 31 countries, selects the best engines in numerous categories. The prize-winners were presented with their awards on Wednesday, 17 June 2015, against the backdrop of the Engine Expo trade fair in Stuttgart.


Dr. Strange Love

Ad nauseam


The ... derives its typical characteristics blah blah blah .... The ... comprises a high-performance turbocharging blah blah blah ... with high-precision injectors blah blah blah ..., along with VALVETRONIC throttle-less load control blah blah blah, which improves ... thanks to seamlessly blah blah blah ....

The plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group blah blah blah, ..., coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” blah blah blah all-wheel driving experience blah blah blah headlined by powerful acceleration blah blah blah and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through corners blah blah blah.

The more powerful of the two sources ... to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure blah blah blah ... high levels of efficiency blah blah blah. The sprint from ... takes 4.4 seconds blah blah blah, ....



Seems the six-speed automatic transmission is a dead weight in the i8. The transmission-less Koenigsegg Regera is the way of the future.

Aaron Turpen

"Blah blah blah" says the guy who's never driven one. This car outruns the Tesla Model S or Roadster, is built in a far more sustainable manner than the Model S or Roadster, and has a far longer range than the Model S or Roadster. It's also a better drive, gets fuel economy that even a Prius would envy, and is one of the coolest looking cars on the planet.

But it's not "cool" enough for Dr. Strangelove.


The gms/km figure for the BMW PHEV is pure BS they are accounting electricity at 0 gms/ KwH which is rarely true.

If you pick a reasonable figure, say 500 gms CO2/KwH, you end up with a figure nearer 108 gms/km - still impressive for a spots car, but > double the quoted figure.

The Germans have oodles of PV in summer daytime, but you have to charge a car whenever you can, so a figure using the annual average would be a better value, and since the Germans started burning lignite (after Fukushima) their Co2 figures have not gone down much.

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