Take A Look At The World's Most Powerful Engines

Engine / Comments

"Precision and technicality will always be beaten by shouting and smoking and power."

All of us here at CarBuzz have a huge passion for cars, becoming die-hard gearheads for various reasons. One connecting thread that we all share, though, is a love for the technical side of things, which translates nicely into an admiration of proper, heavy duty mechanical engineering - especially the sort that results in the huge and powerful engines that have powered some of mankind's greatest creations. And the ones that really get our blood pumping the hardest are the ones with the gargantuan, headline-grabbing power outputs.

To differentiate our list from all the other similar pieces you can find across the Internet, we're focusing on the most powerful engines that are being used today (meaning no Saturn V rocket , Pennsylvania Railroad Q2 or Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse). Still, that more focused brief still leaves us with a mighty fine selection of engines to choose from, so where better to start than with the world's most potent one: the Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C. In its largest 14 cylinder guise, this 25,480-liter, four-stories tall turbocharged behemoth produces approximately 109,000 horsepower. Unsurprisingly, such a massive motor is used in gargantuan cargo container ships.

Planes also tend to come with immensely powerful motors, and today's jet turbine airliners often come fitted with the most potent of the lot. That's especially the case with the Boeing 777, which comes fitted with a pair of General Electric's GE90 turbines. It's hard to calculate exact power outputs for turbines, given their measured in pounds-per-foot of thrust instead of kilowatts or horsepower, but the consensus is that the GE90-115B (the most potent incarnation of the engine to date) produces the equivalent of 111,000 or so horsepower. As a result, a Boeing 777 with two GE90s theoretically produces 1,000 hp for every horsepower the recently-revealed Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Concept car generates.

In order to calm things down a bit, lets move on to trains - in particular, the DF8 that's quite a common sight in China as a freight hauler. Given it's a loco designed to haul rolling stock laden with cargo, the DF8 needs plenty of pulling power, and it certainly has that in the most recent 'DF8B' series. Courtesy of a 295-liter, Caterpillar-developed V16 diesel engine, these variants of the DF8 come with 6,500 hp - though it's worth pointing out that the massive engine isn't directly linked to the train's driven wheels (instead, an electric traction motor transfers the giant diesel engine's grunt to the axles). Still, as far as current trains go, no other machine on rails today is more powerful than the DF8.

The car assortment we've assembled can't quite reach the heights of the DF8's diesel, but they all feature engines that pack one hell of a punch. Take the Hennessey Venom GT as a prime example: even before the 207 hp upgrade coming to the Venom later this year, the Hennessey's 1,244 hp twin-turbocharged V8 was already the most powerful engine you could find in a road-legal car on sale today. However, as the Venom GT's chassis numbers dictate it to be (in the DMV's eyes, at least) a Lotus Exige, it isn't the most powerful current production car in the world: that accolade belongs to the Koenigsegg Regera, courtesy of its less-powerful-but-still-incredibly-meaty 1,100 hp, twin-turbocharged 5-liter V8 engine.

The final engine we've lined up for you may be dwarfed in terms of output and capacity in comparison with the aforementioned examples, but it makes the vehicle it's attached to one of the world's fastest point-to-point modes of transport. Even in its standard guise, the 1.4-liter straight-four engine is one of only a handful of superbike engines to crack the 200 hp barrier, but the optional RAM air induction upgrade endows the perky little motor found in the Kawasaki ZX-14R with an extra ten ponies, making it the most powerful engine found in a production bike today.

It's also, discounting the GE90 turbine, the only naturally aspirated engine on this list, meaning it's able to scream its way all the way to 10,000 rpm. As this gentleman handily demonstrates.


Join The Discussion



Related Cars

To Top