What is the strongest car engine in the world?
Top 50 Most powerful diesel cars 2023
Diesel engines are not known to set new power records, mostly because they are slow revving engines consuming slow-burning, thick oil-like fuel.
Diesel engine is a workhorse — its purpose is to produce certain amount of power consistently without wearing out, overheating or failing in any way. You can say that diesel engines are «heavy duty» engines and, moreover, they are the more efficient type, compared to gasoline engines.
This is why diesel engines are used in every large truck, non-electric train, most naval vessels and nearly all industrial scale AC generator systems.
Despite the focus on efficiency and reliability, certain car manufacturers do offer high performance diesel car engines.
Below is a list of most powerful diesel cars (and trucks), sorted by maximum power. The top positions historically have been populated by German cars and SUVs by Audi, BMW, VW and Mercedes. These manufacturers offer high injection pressure, high boost turbo diesel engines with multiple turbo chargers and, in some cases, even mild hybrid systems.
This list is limited by available data and new vehicles will be added as new data arrives.
|Rank||Make and model||Power|
|1.||Trident Iceni Magna (performance package)||669 ps|
|2.||Audi Q7 V12 TDI (Mk I)||500 ps|
|3.||Ford F-250||482 ps|
|4.||Ford F-350 Super Duty||482 ps|
|5.||GMC Sierra 3500 HD||451 ps|
|6.||Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD||451 ps|
|7.||USSV Rhino GX||446 ps|
|8.||Audi SQ8 TDI||435 ps|
|9.||Audi SQ7 4.0 TDI (Mk II)||435 ps|
|10.||Bentley Bentayga Diesel||435 ps|
|11.||Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel (Mk II)||422 ps|
|12.||Alpina D5 S Touring (408 PS)||408 ps|
|13.||Ram 3500HD||406 ps|
|14.||Ford F-250 6.7 Diesel||406 ps|
|15.||GMC Sierra 2500 HD Denali 4×4 Crew Cab||403 ps|
|16.||Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 6.6 Diesel||403 ps|
|17.||BMW X6 M50d (G06)||400 ps|
|18.||BMW M550d xDrive (G30)||400 ps|
|19.||BMW 750d xDrive (G11)||400 ps|
|20.||BMW X7 M50d (G07)||400 ps|
|21.||BMW X5 M50d||400 ps|
|22.||Alpina D5 S Touring||388 ps|
|23.||Alpina XD3 (G01)||388 ps|
|24.||Alpina D5 S (G30)||388 ps|
|25.||Audi A8 4.2 TDI (D4 385 PS)||385 ps|
|26.||BMW 750d xDrive||381 ps|
|27.||BMW X6 M50d (E71)||381 ps|
|28.||Ram 2500||375 ps|
|29.||Alpina D3 S Touring (G21)||355 ps|
|30.||Alpina D3 S (G20)||355 ps|
|31.||Ram 2500 6.7 Diesel High Output||355 ps|
|32.||VW Touareg R50 (Mk I facelift)||351 ps|
|33.||Alpina D3 Biturbo Touring (F31)||350 ps|
|34.||Range Rover Sport D350||350 ps|
|35.||Alpina D4 Biturbo Coupé (F82)||350 ps|
|36.||Alpina D3 Biturbo (F30)||350 ps|
|37.||Range Rover D350 (L460)||350 ps|
|38.||Audi S7 Sportback TDI (4K8)||349 ps|
|39.||Audi S6 Avant TDI (C8)||349 ps|
|40.||Audi S4 Avant TDI (B9)||347 ps|
|41.||Audi SQ5 TDI (FY)||347 ps|
|42.||Audi A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI Competition Special Edition||347 ps|
|43.||Audi S4 TDI (B9)||347 ps|
|44.||Audi S6 TDI||344 ps|
|45.||Audi SQ5 TDI Sportback (FY)||341 ps|
|46.||Audi SQ5 TDI (FY facelift)||341 ps|
|47.||BMW 840d xDrive||340 ps|
|48.||BMW 840d Gran Coupe xDrive||340 ps|
|49.||BMW 840d Cabriolet xDrive||340 ps|
|50.||BMW M440d (G22)||340 ps|
What’s the biggest engine in the world?
Most vehicle engines these days are fairly similar. Whether it’s the flat-six in a 911 or Fiat’s dinky two-cylinder TwinAir, most of them follow tried-and-true engineering designs that have been honed over the past 50 years.
But not all engines are created equally. Some are nonconformist enough to raise an eyebrow, but then some are completely off-the-wall, shirt-eating insane. For anybody who thinks modern machinery is boring, think again.
From cylinders bigger than your body to rockets capable of breaking orbit, these are the biggest, most powerful and craziest engines ever to be dreamed up and stuffed under a bonnet.
Biggest production car engine
Currently, the largest car engine available on a production car is an 8.4-litre Viper V10 engine produced by Chrysler, which has been responsible for some of the most insane performance engines of all time, including the Chrysler Hemi.
The bone-stock V10 produces a massive 640 horsepower, which when fitted to a Dodge Viper can take it from 0-60mph in a blistering 2.96 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 205mph.
Most powerful production car engine
Although the Chrysler V10 is physically bigger with a larger displacement, the most powerful production car engine in the world is Bugatti’s 8.0-litre W16.
Not only is it the most powerful production engine ever, it’s also the most complex, boasting 64 valves, four turbochargers and enough pavement-shredding power to wrinkle God’s underwear.
Its W-shaped 16-cylinder layout, essentially an orgy between two massive V8s, has an output of 1,000-plus horsepower and a mind-blowing 1,250Nm of torque. If that’s not interesting, we don’t know what is.
Largest car engine of all time
Still, while an 8.0-litre W16 might seem big to mere mortals like you and I, it seems little more than a toy when compared to the largest car engine of all time.
Officially, the largest car engine ever made was the monstrous 28.5-litre engine that belongs to the short-lived Fiat S76, which has been aptly nicknamed ‘the Beast of Turin’.
It’s hard to believe that the Beast was built all the way back in 1910 when it was manufactured to break the land speed record at the time. Generating upwards of 300hp, the engine in the S76 was larger even than that of a Spitfire.
It was so powerful, in fact, that Fiat had to connect the engine to the wheels via heavy-duty metal chains, and the Beast was able to hit a top speed of 134mph, an absolutely astonishing feat for its time.
Unfortunately, the S76 never officially met its land speed record target after being shelved after only a few trial runs thanks to the outbreak of the First World War.
Biggest production motorcycle engine
Measured up against the massive Beast of Turin, the world’s largest motorcycle engine actually looks comparatively piddly.
While you might be forgiven for thinking that the biggest motorbike engine would belong to some sort of Harley-Davidson chopper, it’s actually a British motorcycle which holds the record for largest power unit.
Although some manufacturers have tried such bonkers stunts as outfitting motorcycles with large car engines, officially the world’s biggest motorcycle engine belongs to the Triumph Rocket III, with a 2.3-litre displacement and output of 140 horsepower.
It mightn’t seem all that powerful compared to a lot of cars, but when you consider how much smaller and lighter a motorcycle is than a car, you can start to understand just where the Rocket gets its name from.
Biggest diesel engine
If you think that some of the previously-mentioned engines are big, you ain’t seen nothing yet compared to the world’s biggest diesel engine.
Not just the biggest diesel engine, it’s also the biggest conventionally-powered combustion engine on earth, and its name is the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C. Standing at 89 feet long and 44 feet wide, it’s bigger than many houses and has a colossal displacement of 25,480 litres.
To put that in perspective, that’s around the same size as 16,000 Ford Fiesta engines. It’s configurable with six to fourteen cylinders and can generate an absolutely mental 107,389hp with more than 7,000,000Nm of torque.
Designed to power some of the largest sea-faring vessels in the world like large container ships, this gargantuan engine consumes 39 barrels of heavy fuel oil an hour and costs around £22 to run each and every minute.
The most powerful engine… Ever
For a truly huge achievement, you need a truly huge engine and the F-1 engine designed for the Saturn V rocket was the biggest that’s ever been made.
While we’re maybe slightly twisting the rules here (the F-1 is a rocket, and not a conventionally-fuelled engine like you’d find in a car), it’s still the most powerful engine ever conceived by man.
A total of five F-1s were affixed to the Saturn V rocket, making it the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status, despite it being 50 years old.
It still holds the world record for the heaviest payload launched from the Earth and has so far been the only rocket ever to launch people to the moon, starting with the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Each engine measured in at 18.5 feet tall, while the rocket itself measured a total of 363 feet tall in total. Powered by a mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene, the F-1 generated an unthinkable 190 million horsepower.
It was so powerful and so loud that the launch of the Saturn V rocket could be heard for hundreds of miles around when fired up on the test stand.
Craziest production engine
It’s nowhere near the biggest and nowhere near the most powerful engine ever made, but the Wankel engine still deserves a place on this list for being the most-out there engine design.
Imagine you’re a 1950s carmaker being pitched a new, experimental engine concept. Some German dude named Felix rolls into your office and tries to sell you on the idea of a three-pointed piston that spins around inside an oval box.
It looks like a ball of fire in a bingo cage, or a football rattling around the inside of a washing machine, but not only does it run, it actually happens to run incredibly well.
The engine works via a triangular rotor that spins within a housing and creates three chambers than are responsible for the four phases of the engine’s power cycle: intake, compression, power and exhaust.
Horsepower outputs are high relative to the engine’s displacement and it’s also extremely balanced, though on the other hand it does suck fuel like nobody’s business thanks to the elongated combustion chamber.
Still, weird it may be, but the Wankel rotary engine powered many cars over the years, including the Mazda RX-8 sports car. Although the RX-8 is no longer available, Mazda has recently been strongly hinting at a replacement and you know what? It’s even got a Wankel engine…
Best Engines To Tune
Firstly, though, be sure to check out our guides on how to modify a car and car tuning. Here you’ll find advice for those wanting to step into the tuning world.
Not all engines are brilliant to tune. Often, manufacturers fit cost-effective parts that are usually very restrictive. Furthermore, the car’s themselves are often tuned within a very safe limit for reliability. As a result, replacing the restrictive parts can be hugely expensive on certain cars. However, some engines are so over-engineered, that extracting power is the least of your concerns. Below, we’ve pulled out 10 of the best engines across the last few decades, all of which thrive with a bit of tuning.
VAG EA888 Engine (Numerous Vehicles)
Now on its fourth iteration, the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 four-cylinder engine is a mighty thing. Nearly 400hp can be achieved from remapping alone, but with engine internal changes you can see that figure double! What’s more, add in some supporting fueling and exhaust changes and you’ll deliver that power time and time again, reliably. As a result, it deserves its place in our 10 best engines to tune. While you are here, why not check out our how to tune VW’s EA888 engine for advice on extracting more performance.
Nissan RB26DETT Engine (Skyline GT-R)
It couldn’t be a best 10 engines to tune list without the legendary Skyline GT-R engine. The Nissan RB26DETT engine was designed for racing and therefore has many standard components capable of huge power levels. Believe it or not, seeing 1000bhp+ builds isn’t uncommon in today’s world. Coupled with this, its star appearance in the Fast & Furious franchise has seen the RB26-powered Skyline GT-Rs become some of the most sought after JDM classics today. In fact, the blue GT-R R34 that featured in the fourth movie is up for auction.
- Nissan Skyline GT-R Tuning Guide
- Nissan Skyline GT-R Buyer’s Guide
- How To Tune Nissan’s RB26DETT Engine
Mitsubishi 4G63 (Evo)
Generally regarded as one of the most tuneable four cylinder engines of all time, the turbocharged Mitsubishi 4G63 is capable of incredible power levels. As a result, it’s the driving force behind many supercar-killing Evos the world over. While we’ve got you, check out this twin-charged Evo we featured.
Honda’s K-series engines were given the almighty task of succeeding the renowned B16B unit. But, as the new century drew further on, people began to realize that the K20 lineage was special in its own right.
Early K20A and K20Z examples offer the naturally aspirated, high-revving VTEC fun that the Type R badge is now synonymous with. Furthermore, they’re pretty damn reliable too.
The modern turbocharged K20Cs found in FK2 and FK8 Civics came packed with more than 300hp from the factory. In addition to this, if you want to take things further, the most serious builds can reach beyond the 700hp-mark. As a result, it rightfully takes a spot in our 10 best engines to tune guide. Here are some tuning guides for every generation of Honda Civic Type R for advice on modifying them.
- Honda Civic Type R EK9 tuning guide.
- Honda Civic Type R EP3 tuning guide.
- Honda Civic Type R FN2 tuning guide.
- Honda Civic Type R FK2 tuning guide.
- Honda Civic Type R FK8 tuning guide.
VAG 1.8T Engine (Various VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda)
Common to find, cheap to buy, and fantastic to tune, the 1.8T BAM engine is the mainstay of VW tuning for good reason. The unique five valve per cylinder setup gives great tuning potential and like most VAG products, it is very reliable. Don’t believe us? Check out this Mk1 Golf complete with a 225hp 1.8T BAM engine.
Subaru EJ20 Engine (Impreza STI)
The EJ20 from Subaru is legendary, and as such, it had to feature in our best engines to tune list. Powering eight second drag cars and Time Attack drag monsters, the 2-litre Subaru flat four can do it all. In addition, the unusual engine configuration gives the engine a superbly low centre of gravity, too, perfect for track day use.
Made famous in the early-generation Impreza STIs, we’ve put together a GC8 tuning guide to help you get the most from your EJ20 and the excellent chassis on the classic Impreza.
BMW N54 (E82 1M, 135i, E90/92 335i)
Referred to as the modern-day 2JZ engine, the N54 was BMW’s first foray into turbocharged power for an M car, the BMW 1M. Producing 340bhp in stock form, it was known for having strong internals from factory, allowing tuners to obtain upwards of 700bhp without having to opt for forged internals (this E92 335i has 603whp…). We’ve put together an N54 tuning guide, along with its closely related N55 brother, to help you get the most from your engine.
Mazda 13B Engine (RX-7)
Powering the Mazda RX-7 with just 1308cc, the rotary engine is the smallest of our 10 best engines to tune. However, in fully tuned form, it can produce around 1000bhp and a 10,000rpm+ rev limit. While it’s a little temperamental, it is a unique tuning monster and one that sounds incredible. Thankfully, optimistic tuners have upped the ante and increased the engine from 3-rotors, to 4-rotors for a more unique, higher pitch tone and sharper throttle response. You can also see power easily climb to over 1500bhp with the right build, as this quad-rotor RX-7 feature car proves…
Be sure to check out our Wankel Rotary engine guide to fully understand how it works. Also, have a nosey at our RX-7 FC and RX-7 FD tuning guide.
Toyota 2JZ-GTE Engine (Supra)
Like the RB26, the Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine had its entry into this list of the 10 best engines to tune from the off. Believe it or not, this was the engine that made 1000bhp on standard internals a reality, the 2JZ is a six cylinder heavyweight. Any engine that can power a road going Supra to over 240mph within one mile gets our vote. Thankfully, if you’re looking for your own Mk4 Supra, we ‘ve put together a Mk4 Supra buying and tuning guide just for you.
GM LS Series
This big capacity V8 has 1500bhp potential when forced induction is added. But, this all alloy engine is also surprisingly light and is capable of revving to over 7000rpm reliably. With so many opting for LS engine swaps, it was guaranteed on our list of the 10 best engines to tune.
Baggsy dropped the VR38DETT from his R35 GT-R drift car in favor of an LSX motor…