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Ferrari's twin-turbo V8 wins International Engine of the Year award

The 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 from the 488 GTB coupe and 488 Spider drop-top is the International Engine of the Year.

Ferrari has won its first top engine "Oscar". The 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 from the legendary Italian brand is the International Engine of the Year.

The metal masterpiece powers the fabulously fast 488 GTB coupe and 488 Spider drop-top.

The engine awards have been running since 1999. This year 63 specialist motoring journalists from 31 countries voted on the best engines in eight classes from under 1.0 litre to above 4.0 litres, plus the most outstanding Green, Performance and New engines.

A final poll of the category winners decided the global engine equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar.

It's eight years since anything with more than four cylinders has taken the overall engine Oscar.

Ferrari has won minor engine awards in the past, though these are like being handed the golden statuette for Best Supporting Actor — gratifying but barely anyone remembers it the next day.

For this year's big gong, Ferrari defeated 2015's overall winner, BMW's 1.5-litre turbo triple petrol-electric hybrid, as used in the eye-catching i8 super-coupe. Porsche's new 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six for its iconic 911 came third.

It's unusual for high-performance engines in high-priced cars to dominate the awards this way. In fact, it's eight years since anything with more than four cylinders has taken the overall engine Oscar.

From 2012-14, the crown was held by Ford's Ecoboost 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo. In Australia, this surprisingly punchy, smooth and efficient little engine powers some versions of the affordable Fiesta hatch and EcoSport mini-SUV.

Before Ford's remarkable run at the top, the longest ever in the 18-year history of the awards, Fiat's even smaller 900cc twin-cylinder turbo and VW's 1.4-litre four-cylinder TSI Twincharge reigned.

Ferrari's win is only the second time a V8 has won the top prize. The earlier V8 victory was in 2002, when BMW's 4.4-litre was crowned.

Neither is the largest winner of an engine Oscar — BMW's 5.0-litre V10 scored back-to-back victories in 2005-06.

The engine award is the idea of a British media company called UKIP Media & Events (no relation to the pro-Brexit political party).

It publishes a stable of magazines, most aimed at technical specialists working in the automotive industry, with such tell-it-straight titles as Automotive Testing Technology International.

About 20 years ago it enlisted motoring journalists from around the globe to take part in the inaugural poll to find the world's best engines. It was an inexpensive way (judges aren't paid) to promote the company's Engine Technology International magazine.

Judges nominate engines based on technical knowledge and driving impressions, covering performance, economy, smoothness, sound and driveability.

The winners

Overall: Ferrari 3.9L V8 twin turbo (used in the 488, also winner in the New, Performance and 3.0L-4.0L categories)
Green: Tesla battery-electric powertrain
Above 4.0-litres: Ferrari 6.3L V12 (FF and F12 Berlinetta)
2.5-3.0-litres: Porsche 3.0L 6-cyl boxer twin-turbo (911)
2.0-2.5-litres: Audi 2.5L 5-cyl turbo (RS3, RSQ3)
1.8-2.0-litres: Mercedes-AMG 2.0L 4-cyl turbo (A45)
1.4-1.8-litres: BMW 1.5L 3-cyl turbo petrol-electric hybrid (i8)
1.0-1.4-litres: PSA Peugeot Citroen 1.2L 3-cyl turbo (208, 308, Citroen Cactus and C4)
Under 1.0-litre: Ford 998cc 3-cyl turbo (Fiesta and EcoSport)

Do the numbers from Ferrari's twin-turbo V8 impress you, or do you think another engine is more worthy? Let us know in the comments below.