Each year, Wards Auto gives out 10 Best Engine Awards. The criterion for entering the competition is pretty simple. Either the motor won the previous year, or it’s a new or redesigned mill. The one other constraint is that the engine has to be available this year in a light vehicle that costs less than $61,000 (The 707 hp Hellcat Hemi can’t defend it’s award because the base price is now too high.)


Last year, the BMW branded award winner surprisingly wasn’t one of the many flavors of 3.0l I-6 motors that are the heart of the brand. It was the drivetrain of the i3 that earned the crown! As last years awardee, it’s automatically entered this year. But for the I-6 traditionalists, there is hope yet: The B58 we discussed in a previous post is in the hunt. Currently offered in the 340i, this is the first 6 cylinder that uses the BMW group modular engine design.

Two other BMW group engines are 2016 nominees as well. MINI’s winner from last year, the B38A15A 1.5l 3 cylinder is back to defend it’s crown, and the new JCW 2 liter (Engine codeB48A20O0) is in the hunt for the first time. While flying under the MINI brand, this same motor is in the new X1 and 225i Active Tourer.

There are only 31 entries this year (there were 35 last year) so it’s more than likely that BMWs excellent engine technology will win this year as well. To see the full list of nominees, click here.