5 Awesome Engines That Never Reached Their Full Potential


Why didn't the manufacturers put these engines in more cars?

Developing a new car from scratch is an incredibly expensive process. One of the biggest engineering costs of building a new car is developing a brand new engine to power it. That is why carmakers often use a single engine in various models in their lineups. Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbo springs to mind. This engine is available in everything from the VW Jetta to the Audi A6. Sometimes, an engine only serves a purpose in a single model, which we think is a huge waste of development costs. Here are five amazing engines that we think weren't used enough.

You Might Also Like
The Ultimate Dream Car Garages
The Ultimate Dream Car Garages
The Worst Cars Of The 2000s
The Worst Cars Of The 2000s

GM's LS9 V8 was the supercharged beast that powered the C6 Corvette ZR1. The 6.2-liter supercharged engine produced 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. Even though this engine is less powerful than the new LT4 engine, it still powered the fastest production Corvette ever made. The LS9 was based on the LS3 block because the LS7 couldn't handle the added pressure from the supercharger. Other than the ZR1, the only other car to receive this engine was a limited run HSV Holden called the GTSR W1. It is a shame that GM didn't stuff this engine into the Chevy SS and create the ultimate muscle sedan for the American market. Australia gets all the good stuff.

BMW M cars have many things that make them special, but the unique engines are definitely the coolest feature. Engines built by BMW are usually given a code designation M##, with a few recent exceptions like the B58 engine. M cars are unique because they almost always come with an S## engine. One of our favorite M division engines was the S65 V8. Unlike other M engines, the S65 was only available in a single car, the E9X M3. This 4.0-liter V8 revved to 8,400 rpm and produced 414 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The V8 was based on the M5/M6's S85 V10 engine, with two cylinders lobbed off. We wish that BMW used this delightful engine in more models like the Z4 or X3.

We love an engine with a good name and Ford loves to deliver. The Mustang's 5.0-liter V8 is called the Coyote and the Shelby GT350's 5.2-liter engine has an even cooler name, Voodoo. This 5.2-liter V8 engine is very unique for an American car because it has a flat-plane crankshaft. This means that this engine has a similar layout to a Ferrari engine and can rev to 8,250 rpm. The Voodoo engine produces 526 hp in the Shelby GT350, which is the only car to receive this engine. As nice as the new GT's EcoBoost engine is, we think that the Voodoo engine would have been much more special with an added supercharger or turbo. We would also love to see a sedan with this amazing engine.

We always liked the Nissan Z sports car, but we always wondered why there hasn't been a more powerful version. The 370Z has had the same 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine since it was introduced in 2008. This engine has never produced more than 350 hp in the Nismo version. What pains us about this is that Nissan had the perfect engine that would have turned the 370Z into the perfect Corvette competitor. The Nissan VK50VE is a 5.0-liter V8 which produced 390 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque. The engine was only available in the FX50 from 2009 to 2013 and the QX70 in 2014. We would have loved to see a Nissan 500Z with this amazing race car-derived engine.

Honda's VTEC engine is known as being one of the most reliable engines on the planet. Our favorite application of this technology was the S2000. The AP1 S2000 was powered by a 2.0-liter F20C four-cylinder engine that famously revved to over 9,000 rpm. The engine produced 230 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The AP2 S2000 received a 2.2-liter version of this engine called the F22C1. This newly revised engine brought the power up to 240 hp and torque up to 162 lb-ft. It didn't rev as high, but the torque was more usable in everyday driving. This engine was not only extremely reliable, but one of the coolest four-cylinder engines to ever be put into a car. Too bad Honda didn't use it in anything else.