The unified cycle model of a class of internal combustion engines is presented, in which the influence of the multi-irreversibilities mainly resulting from the adiabatic processes, finite-time processes and heat leak loss through the cylinder wall on the performance of the cycle are taken into account. Based on the thermodynamic analysis method, the mathematical expressions of the power output and efficiency of the cycle are calculated and some important characteristic curves are given. The influence of the various design parameters such as the high-low pressure ratio, the high-low temperature ratio, the compression and expansion isentropic efficiencies etc. on the performance of the cycle is analyzed. The optimum criteria of some important parameters such as the power output, efficiency and pressure ratio are derived. The results obtained from this unified cycle model are very general and useful, from which the optimal performance of the Atkinson, Otto, Diesel, Dual and Miller heat engines and some new heat engines can be directly derived.