10 Great Performance Engines We Will Miss

10 Great Performance Engines We Will Miss

Each year, engines come and go as automakers find better ways to get more performance while also improving fuel economy.

We’re now entering an era where there is a replacement for displacement, and that’s in the form of forced induction. There was a time when turbocharged and supercharged engines were hard to come across, especially from the factory, but now they’re everywhere, powering anything from an entry-level Mercedes-Benz CLA250 to an exotic Ferrari 488 GTB.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Sounding V8 Engines

AutoGuide.com took a look at 10 great performance engines we’ll miss and are wondering whether or not their replacements are truly better.

BMW E90 / E92 M3 V8 Engine


Introduced in the BMW E90 and E92 generation M3 models, the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine turned out 414 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque when it was first introduced in 2007. In 2010, BMW tweaked the S65 engine to a 4.4-liter V8 that provided 444 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque that was used in the 2010-2011 BMW M3 GTS coupe and 2011 BMW M3 CRT sedan. The powerplant was derived from the BMW V10 found in the M5 and M6 and featured an aluminum construction. The engine went on to capture the International Engine of the Year awards for the 3.0- to 4.0-liter category in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Since then, the German automaker has replaced the engine with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Some say the M3 and M4 just aren’t the same without a V8 under the hood, while others are more than happy with a turbocharged mill lurking in the engine bay.

Buick Grand National Turbo V6 Engine


In the late 1980s, Buick produced a 3.8-liter turbocharged V6 engine packing 245 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque that was used in the Grand National. To bid farewell to the Grand National model, Buick produced 500 limited edition GNX models that saw its performance improved to 300 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. We’re talking about a coupe that went zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds in the late 1980s, turning in a quarter mile time of 13.4 seconds.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone, and the most popular Buick turbo engine you’ll find these days are lurking under the hood of a Regal in the form of a 2.0-liter unit with 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

Dodge Neon SRT-4 Turbo Engine


Some say the Dodge Neon SRT-4 was ahead of its time, while others are glad it was only manufactured from 2003-2005. When it was first introduced, the SRT-4 was powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 215 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque, but a year later, the American automaker increased that to 230 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, thanks to larger fuel injectors and an updated ECU. The Neon SRT-4 reportedly went zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds with the more powerful setup while clocking a quarter mile time of 13.9 seconds.

Nowadays, Dodge’s definition of an exciting turbocharged engine in a sport compact is a 1.4-liter mill with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque found in the Dodge Dart.

Honda / Acura Integra Type-R Engine


If you’re a Honda or Acura fan, this engine needs no introduction. The famous B18C5 was used in the Acura Integra Type-R as a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 195 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. Not amazing numbers by any imagination, especially compared to today, but it had a redline of 8,400 rpm and it screamed once VTEC kicked in. The focus of the Integra Type R was to minimize weight while increasing rigidity, something nearly all automakers pay attention to now to improve fuel economy and performance. Less than 4,000 units were ever produced in the U.S. and back then, the B18C5 set the record for most power-per-liter from a naturally aspirated engine in the U.S. That record was broken with the S2000’s 2.0-liter engine that made 120 hp per liter.

Mazda RX-7 Rotary Engine


There’s a reason why everyone is clamoring for Mazda to revive the rotary engine. The twin-turbo 13B-REW engine was used in the last-generation RX-7 and provided 280 hp in its final iteration. As a twin-turbo version of the 13B engine, its total displacement was 1.3 liters, but it had a pair of sequential turbochargers to help eliminate turbo lag. Sadly, Mazda replaced the RX-7 with the RX-8 that featured the naturally aspirated 1.3-liter two-rotary engine that peaked with 232 hp and 159 lb-ft of torque.

Mercedes-Benz 5.4L Supercharged Engine


There was a time when Mercedes-Benz turned to superchargers for increased performance and one of its greatest was the M113 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine. It was used in numerous models across the 55 AMG lineup, including the CL55, S55, SL55, E55, G55 and CLS55 from model years 2002-2009. Performance ranged from 469 hp to 510 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque to 531 lb-ft of torque.

Since then, Mercedes has fallen in love with Biturbo engines for its 63 lineup powered by a 4.0-liter V8 mill handcrafted from AMG. In the new C63 AMG, it churns out 469 hp, while the C63 S AMG gets 503 hp. The German automaker also uses a 5.5-liter Biturbo V8 found in the E63 S that pumps out 577 hp.

Mitsubishi Evolution 4G63 Engine


One of the few engines that has truly lasted for decades is the Mitsubishi 4G63, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is most well known for its turbocharged variant found in the Lancer Evolution models. The same mill was also used in the Eclipse and Eagle Talon turbo models as well as numerous race cars. It has also been a favorite among tuners worldwide, having the capability of producing some insane performance when built and equipped with an upgraded turbo and fuel system. Sadly, we are bidding farewell to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution this year, exiting with 291 hp, although the automaker replaced the 4G63 in 2007.

Nissan Skyline RB26DETT Engine


It’s not even an engine that was ever available in the U.S., but it was still sought after like no other. Used in the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, the RB26DETT may have been rated at 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, but much of that was due to a “gentleman’s agreement” between Japanese automakers to limit the horsepower advertised. Enthusiasts in the U.S. have imported the engine and it has found its way into various other vehicles such as the Nissan 240SX, with tuners having reached the 1,000-hp mark numerous times. The RB26DETT was a 2.6-liter inline-six twin-turbo engine.

Nissan went on to replace the RB26DETT with what’s found in the current GT-R today, a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with up to 600 hp in the GT-R NISMO model.

Toyota Supra 2JZ-GTE Engine


No performance engine list would be complete without what is arguably the king of sadly discontinued engines: the Toyota Supra’s 2JZ-GTE. To this day, tuners are pushing them to the limits well more than 1,000 hp and can be seen under the hood of quarter-mile specialists worldwide. The 2JZ-GTE was developed as a response to Nissan’s successful RB26DETT engine, so it’s no surprise that it’s also an inline-six engine, albeit with 3.0 liters of displacement. From the factory, it produced 320 hp, but performance figures can hit more than 500 with just bolt-on turbo upgrades. In fact, many tuners have safely pushed power to the 700-hp mark without even cracking open the bottom end.

Volkswagen “Clean” Diesel Engines


It’s probably a bit premature to say we’ll miss Volkswagen’s “clean” diesel engines, but in light of the massive dieselgate scandal, we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s still unclear as to what will happen with Volkswagen and its diesel engine that has been caught cheating on EPA diesel emissions tests, but the German automaker is working on a fix and a recall for current owners. The big question is whether shoppers will consider Volkswagen diesel models in the future and whether or not Volkswagen will continue to invest into developing diesel engines, especially when hybrids and electric vehicles are taking hold of the market. For now, they’ll continue to exist, but the 2016 models won’t even be sold for quite some time as Volkswagen has withdrawn its EPA application for those vehicles.

  • Stephen Garrett

    Gonna be honest, this just seemed like an excuse to list a bunch of Japanese engines that people get nostalgic about, with little to no experience with them. I would definitely question putting the 13B on here.

    Aside from that debatable one, Idk that there’s any bad engines here, but there’s certainly a TON of much, much, much better ones.

  • johnls39 .

    What is up with these engine names and who came up with those names like “2JZ-GTE” as an example? Can they call it “Fourth Generation” for example.

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  • Kinetis

    The name, created by technical people and not marketers, describes the engine to differentiate it from a long list of engines and engine variants they work with. I believe the 2 means 2nd generation of the JZ engine series, T is for turbocharged.

  • jimbo124816

    That Buick GNX was discontinued when Chevrolet contacted GM to let them know they weren’t happy with a Buick being faster than the Corvette. Corporate politics at its worst.

  • danwat1234

    What about the tried and true D16y7 / D16y8 Honda engines?

  • Matt Speirs

    my list of Honda engines would have the B16 WELL above the D16… (along with B17, B18A/B, H22, F20, etc..)this is a list of engines we will miss. I’ve had 3 cars that came with a D16 under the hood and all 3 times I got rid of them in favor of something just as reliable and more powerful, definitely never missed them.

  • batvette

    I was on the freeway the other day and a common looking 10 year old ****box pulled in front of me and just disappeared into the distance like a cat seeing a hose pointed at it. Later in traffic I caught up and a look at the trunk badges confirmed my guess. Neon SRT. But who buys an economy car to go race?

  • batvette

    Quicker, not faster, but Buick also lost that when GMC put it in two versions of their S15 with AWD. The Typhoon and Syclone.
    It also should be said that those blazing quick 0-60 and quarter mile times on all the above were all set by auto publications at dragstrips where between each run tbey dumped bags of ice all over the intercooler. Look that up it is true.
    Having owned an 86 Corvette for 27 years (sold it last year) I can safely say no GNX is going to keep up with it in any scenario save one run on a dragstrip with a cooler full of ice dumped on the engine.
    But it sure looked good in all black didnt it. The FBI and other fed and state agencies had Buick produce a version of the Grand National with the ECM speed governor removed and high speed tires fitted. Top speed was reported to be 150 mph. (Corvette tested at 158 in 86 FWIW)
    80-100 were bought by the FBI alone.

  • batvette

    Bizarre comment since half of them werent japanese… Two american and three german. If theres something to question its the inclusion of the VW. I guess no one can resist talking about a story that big. What a mess and they deserve whatever happens to them including bankruptcy, bulldozing the factories and stripping the badges off of every remaining VW worldwide until they are as forgotten as the Edsel.
    Its hard to understand this sentiment unless you live in a place like California where car owners have gone to enormous expense and trouble in many cases to stay compliant with clean air laws, often having to spend over $500 biannually- then you find around you are vehicles that were cheating.

  • Silver dawn

    Batvette Thats the misguided thinking this world is buying into. Why are V8’s and anything performance downsizing or going away forever? Especially when technology has gotten to the point where they are pretty much clean anyway. It is because of stupid CAFE laws of an overreaching government telling us what we should want. The climate leftists are driving us down a road based on false science. Even though they were caught lying about results, people still are religious about eliminated the ICE cars that get good mileage and are cheap and dont harm the planet as any fool can see. Slam me all you want but PROVE me wrong.

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  • jimbo124816

    The bottom line was, when Chevrolet saw those quick runs in the car magazines, the GNX was dead. It didn’t matter to Chevy about the Ice on the inter-coolers. Most people will not be going 150 -158 MPH in any car but a lot of people will go 0-60 on the street, or 0- 100 on a drag strip. Except for the slanted nose, the GNX was a brick to push through the air, and the trucks were even worse.

    That GNX was a great looking and quick car. It sure would be great if you could find one of those FBI cars in a barn find.

  • Dominic Brissette

    “Since then, the German automaker has replaced the engine with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine”

    By the way it’s not a V6 but an Inline-6, like ALL BMW’s

    It’s an important distinction, one that AutoGuide should already know

  • batvette

    Oh I dont disagree about the BS peddled by environmentalism-as-religion ideologues, that is a subject Ive deeply researched and at every turn you get lies and facism out of these people whose real goal is global socialism. With language like climate justice and carbon equity that is obvious.
    However I do disagree about CAFE being overreaching and the government driving our choices. What about the price of gasoline being manipulated from Arabs to oil companies to refiners to retailers? Higher mileage makes it harder to hurt us, and todays engines are more efficient and less polluting. Sadly its selfish American consumers driving the market, they happily drive big block SUVs until gas hits nearly $5 then abandon them and complain why there is a dearth of 40mpg SUVs.

  • batvette

    Seems to be pure speculation that Chevrolet could command GM to discontinue an entire program of another brand based upon a horsepower inferiority complex… If that were so can you explain why Pontiac Trans Ams were equipped with big blocks through 1980 while Corvettes and Camaros had mouse motors only for many years prior?
    Why in 1975 did Hot Rod magazine get 1/4 mile times of 16.1 for a Trans Am and 16.4 for the Corvette?
    Or even why they allowed them (the GNX)to be built for several years at all?
    Megalomaniac omnipotent carmaker with a horsepower inferiority complex asleep at the switch for a few years wakes up one morning and reads a car mag…”hey did you hear that Buick has a powerful turbo V6?”
    When Buick killed Chevy for all those years in JD Power ratings why didnt GM just fdi
    Doesnt add up.

  • jimbo124816

    An interesting story came out in the late 60’s when the GTO and the Trans Am had a similar weight and the same motor, but the GTO was quicker in the quarter mile. It was found that the carburetor had a small extension that caused the throttle on the Trans Am to not open all the way. You could look down the Carb. and see that the throttle plate was not opening to full vertical. That extension was broken off when the motor went into a GTO. When Trans Am owners found out about it, they got out a file and cleaned off the extension and immediately got a 15HP increase for free. Pontiac decided that the GTO would be their performance car.

  • Diesel Driver

    This is very ironic. When I was growing up an engine that produced 1 horsepower per cubic inch was considered pretty darned good for a streetable engine. 40 hp per liter was pretty common on British motorcycles. At the time the largest Yamaha was about 350cc in the form of the RD350 known to be a giant killer. Then Honda came out with the 750 and about 55 hp or maybe a bit more. Yet I remember mine as being a rip snorting, fire breathing monster of acceleration and top end nearly 125. WOO HOO!!! LOL Now I drive a pickup and have a 1967 Yamaha G5 Trailmaster, an 80cc trailbike. Back on topic, my parents had a 55 chevy with a 265 cu in V8 and I’d be surprised if it put out 120 hp. And it was worn out at 135,000 miles. Now, engines make 2 or 3 hp per cu in and last 300,000 miles with any care at all. Whatever they come up with will be faster and better. I just wonder what point a ceiling will be reached. Every time someone says “Oh that’s about as good as they’ll get”, it turns out they’re full of brown, squishy stuff that stinks.
    PS I love inline sixes. 5.9 cummins in my pickup and a 250 cu in inline 6 in my 69 mustang. Been thinking about putting a BMW inline 6 diesel in my mustang. That would be very cool.

  • Diesel Driver

    Call it what it is batvette, It’s global tyranny.

  • Rr

    Wrong m3 motor. The e90 series motor the s65 was a sad excuse for a v8. Probably detuned and not as radical due to their e46 main bearing debacle,which cost the company dearly, I know, I went through 2 motors. But that s54 motor was unlike anything around. Was amAzing revved like no other and had enough hp to make up for the lack of torque. E46 were so much better than e90

  • Amclaussen

    The Neon SRT-4 was a terrific value giving the best bang for the buck in a long history of Dodge sporty sedans. Even the unattractive Dodge Caliber held its own. Long gone are those excellent inexpensive, reliable and enduring cars. when everybody has gone to Turbos, the dumb geniuses at FCA do not have a single affordable sports sedan. Ang the Dart with the stupidly small 1.4L Turbo (and NOT form Dodge,a s it is a FIAT engine) is way undersized for the weight of the Dart. What a shame…

  • Bug S Bunny

    Wait, the VW “clean diesel” engines weren’t actually clean, but putting them on this list because of their mileage ratings, then sure.

    what about the 2.0L from the Honda S2K?

  • Greg Kielec

    I would add the inline six cylinder engines used in W124 chassis Mercedes in early ’90s. Smooth and loaded with torque, much like a Jag XJ12 but with half the number of cylinders. The four-cylinder Cosworth built engine used in the rally version of the 190e in mid-late ’80s could also make the list. Still legendary today for its power vs. displacement. Altogether a great list though.

  • Greg Kielec

    Got to see a Calibre SRT-4 last summer bought by a friend’s son. He had tuned it to push even more horsepower out of an already punchy engine. Not only did Chrysler make an insanely powerful engine, but they also made the engine and compartment a work of art. Really a job well done and with a level of mystique that makes these cars noticeable to only true auto enthusiasts.

  • disqus_EBclYzQDil

    Uhhh… Nissan’s RB26DETT has been used since late 1989 in the first modern GT-R, the R32 Skyline GT-R. All GT-Rs 32 – 34 have it.