To meet new regulations and specifications for internal combustion engines, new approaches to significantly decrease fuel consumption and emissions are needed. The deployment of tribologically functional coatings applied by supersonic flame spraying represent a promising technology for achieving these targets. Thermally sprayed coatings can help in improving efficiency of internal combustion engines by reducing the internal friction and improving the durability and wear resistance of the engine’s cylinder wall thereby facilitating extreme engine downsizing concepts. Thermal spraying is also capable of processing highly corrosion resistant materials like alloys and ceramics to enable the safe utilization of biofuels in modern combustion engines. In addition, specific surface structure of thermal spray coatings, including their intrinsic porosity, shows the benefit of reducing the friction by sustaining hydrodynamic friction even in spots with low relative movement, e.g. top and bottom dead center. On top, the open surface porosity can reduce the oil consumption and thereby decrease the polluting emissions of internal combustion engines. The thermally sprayed coatings were applied using HVOF and HVSFS processes deploying various materials, including novel nanostructured powders. The coated cylinders and engines have been compared to state-of-the-art components with respect to friction coefficient, wear and oil consumption.