The ship was powered by the revolutionary cascading ion drive, however the engine proved unstable and resulted in the complete destruction of the ship and loss of all hands mere moments after its launch.
Unlike the Warp 5 Engine which, as its name implies, had a top rated speed of Warp 5. The cascading ion drive was, in theory, able to achieve speeds in excess of Warp 7. This would have made Daedalus faster than even the swiftest Vulcan ship of the time.
Daedalus carried an extensive computer database. This database contained complete instructions for the design of a 'conventional' matter/antimatter warp engine.
Jonathan Archer would reflect in 2153 that had the ship not been destroyed upon launch, she would have beaten Enterprise into deep space by more than a decade and he remarked that in that time she could have mapped "half the quadrant". (ENT novels: Daedalus, Daedalus's Children)